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BTEC’s Commercial Thermal Efficiency Protocol

BTEC's Commercial Thermal Efficiency Protocol

Final Commercial Thermal Efficiency Protocol Available!

From 2011 through 2017, BTEC is working to produce a certified and agency-accepted thermal efficiency protocol for commercial biomass thermal energy systems.  This project is supported through funding and support from:

BTEC and industry experts have identified two major issues that are limiting the growth of the biomass thermal industry:

  • Architects and engineers, the groups that have major influence over the kind of HVAC system to be included in retrofitting or new development, have concerns about using biomass thermal systems due to a lack of information, data, and comparability to fossil-fuel based systems.
  • State and federal lawmakers and regulators interested in reducing the environmental impact of heating and cooling needs have no defined and tested tool to use in the promulgation of rules or incentives, effectively excluding the entire industry from participating in federal buildings programs and similar programs.

A thermal efficiency standard for the industry can provide answers to both issues, thus allowing biomass heating system manufacturers to certify heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems fueled with renewable biomass, allowing for strong market growth.

Biomass Thermal Protocol Project Objectives

  • Provide a platform to bring the commercial-scale biomass industry together under a respected standards organization to develop consensus-based efficiency testing standards
  • Develop a standard that builds upon existing test procedures for residential biomass-fired boilers as well as for commercial gas and oil-fired boilers
  • Validate the efficiency protocol through laboratory testing at a U.S. National Laboratory and field testing
  • Pursue promulgation of the standard by a national standards organization (UL, ASHRAE)
  • Perform initial activities to promote the efficiency testing procedure beyond the biomass industry to the HVAC industry, government officials, consumers, and businesses


  • Phase I of the project, the development of the protocol, was completed in November 2016.
  • Phase II, validation of the protocol by an EPA-accredited testing laboratory, begins in December 2016.

Access the project archives

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