Forest Power

Project Lead: Robert York, Ricky Satomi, Ariel Thomson and 2014 Blodgett Student Crew, Bill Stewart, Scott Stephens

Sponsor: College of Natural Resources Center for Forestry

TGIF Grant: $19,845

Additional Funds: $1,176.60

Project Theme: Energy Efficiency & Conservation

Project Location: Blodgett Forest Research Station

2014 Application Submission

Status: In Progress

Project Description: This project will replace the use of propane and grid electricity in favor of wood for heating water and space in the conference center at Blodgett Forest Research Station. Wood will be procured sustainably during the process of conducting research and demonstration activity done on adjacent University forestland. A hydronic heater placed outside of the building will combust wood and then heat water that will be sent into the adjacent building. This heated water will directly supply hot water and will interface with an existing forced air heating system to provide heat. Approximately 600 gallons of propane and 6,000 Kwh of grid electricity (mostly natural gas) will be replaced with wood energy. This will be nearly 100% efficient in the net reduction of green house gases, reducing CO2 emissions by as much as 10,000 lb / year. The project will be demonstrated to other landowners and students will develop a wood procurement plan and conduct cost-benefit analyses.


  1. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions currently produced from the facility.
  2. Mitigate particulate matter emissions by using a hydronic heating system with superior combustion efficiency and via down-wind placement (the forest is down-wind and will act as an immediate filter).
  3. Demonstrate hydronic heating to other landowners, including other UC properties with available wood resources.
  4. Complement fire hazard reduction projects by utilizing wood from thinning research operations on surrounding University forestland.
  5. Provide students with a hands-on opportunity to learn skills associated with sustainable wood procurement and utilization.
  6. Develop a Master of Forestry project that will conduct a detailed financial analysis and GHG analysis of hydronic heating.
  7. Develop labs where undergraduates will plan out wood utilization projects 


  • Successful procurement of the hydronic heater. 
  • Stocked wood from thinnings in fire hazard treatment areas, to be used by heater. Currently drying for winter use.
  • Photo-monitoring of installation is complete.

photo of heater before install


Time Lapse Video of Heater Installation

Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.