With methane gas heating bills projected to be 28% higher than last winter, “wood banks” have become increasingly critical sources of heating fuel for people living on low- and fixed-incomes, the Guardian reports. About half of U.S. homes burn methane gas for heat, making those families especially vulnerable to price shocks driven by gas exports and geopolitical events. There are more than 100 official wood banks in the U.S. in addition to many other unofficial locations run by local charities and community groups.
“I feel bad supplying firewood, when what they should be doing is going to cleaner sources of heating their homes,” Tony Aman, an arborist who co-founded Maine’s Downeast Wood Bank in 2021, “But when you’re stretched for money, especially if you’re in poverty or disabled, it makes it very difficult to afford that conversion.” Maine does have a program to cover the cost of a heat pump for eligible homeowners, installing 80,000 heat pumps since 2019. (The Guardian)