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Heat Local First: Lyme Green Heat

When Lyme native Morton Bailey started his business, Lyme Green Heat—a new member of Local First Alliance this year—he was just a guy in a truck delivering bagged wood heating pellets to residential customers around the Upper Valley heating their homes with pellet stoves.

Today the thirty-something has grown the business to become the only bulk distributor of wood pellets in New Hampshire, serving commercial and residential customers with wood pellet boilers—central heating—throughout New Hampshire, Vermont, and even into Massachusetts.

“Being a local family I guess I never planned to go too far anyways, and being here in the Upper Valley and in New England in general, heating is a big part of our lives,” Morton explained when asked about why he started this local business. “I’ve always been the outdoor type, and I’ve always valued and been part of the wood economy, and it just made sense to start to look at this fuel as a way to heat people’s homes with a locally based product.”

The shift to bulk pellet delivery for central heating systems has been a big change over the last few years, Morton said, and he couldn’t be more excited to bring what he sees as an easy, renewable, local fuel source to the region.

“This is wood heat for everybody,” he said. “It’s just as easy as burning oil or propane but it’s locally produced and grown in your backyard. You’re literally eliminating that fossil fuel use, and that’s important as we move forward. In the big energy picture of New England, home heating is our biggest energy consumer. Fortunately for us we have this incredible resource, which is our forests, and when they’re properly managed and maintained we’re able to harvest that wood, turn it into an energy source, and in turn it’s going to regrow and be there for future generations.”

Thanks to Morton, Lyme boasts the highest rate per capita of residential wood pellet boilers in the state. And it’s not just because of his enthusiasm and his connections in town; it’s also because of his work to help establish and expand the New Hampshire Wood-Pellet Central-Heating Rebate Program, which now offers residents rebates of 40% of installed cost up to $10,000 for pellet boilers.

When Morton started bulk delivery seven years ago he sold 100 tons of fuel; last year he delivered nearly 5,000 tons. The wood pellet fuel market is growing, but it’s not easy.

“It’s a tough market going up against oil and gas,” he said. “As a company we see so much value in this whole local movement. The local food movement has had such an impact, and we want to be on the same level.”

In addition to using local products and serving local customers, Lyme Green Heat supports the local community and strives to do more. Last Arbor Day they provided saplings for the students at the Lyme School – a Lyme Green Heat customer – to plant and to learn more about how they heat their school. Lyme Green Heat also sponsored Vital Communities’ Upper Valley Energy Committee Roundtable in April.

“We’re just getting started on this end of things but I see it as a nice way for us to continue to community-build with our little enterprise,” Morton said.