When temperatures drop, furnaces get turned up.

Most home heating systems around the world rely on some form of fossil fuel, like natural gas, propane, heating oil or electricity generated by fossil fuel. Changing heating systems, especially to move away from a type of fossil fuel, usually involves significant effort and cost.

But, as singer, actor and restaurant owner Donnie Wahlberg recently learned, that doesn’t have to be the case for homes in regions that rely on heating oil.

Wahlberg grew up in Dorchester, Massachusetts, where home heating oil commonly fuels furnaces. He recently learned about Bioheat® fuel, an alternative that uses renewable feedstocks and can be used in today’s high-efficiency heating oil equipment without any modification, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80%.1

In the United States, the Northeast and Alaska rely on heating oil.2 In Europe, roughly one in every six homes relies on heating oil, nearly 17%, though in some countries up to 43% of homes use heating oil.3 In these regions, the heating oil industry is made up of small and medium-sized, often family-owned businesses committed to keeping their neighbors warm.

As Wahlberg explored the heating oil industry in his hometown, he found that many customers don’t realize they have a low-carbon option. For them, simply asking for Bioheat® takes a step toward decarbonization at no additional cost.

Today, Bioheat® fuel is readily available throughout the Northeast. It blends biodiesel with ultra-low sulfur heating fuel, giving customers a choice.

“Bioheat® blends biodiesel at rates from as low as 2 to 5% to more than 20%,” says Heather Buechter, director of communications with Clean Fuels Alliance America. “It is the only liquid heating fuel that can lower carbon emissions. And, the industry is moving toward higher blends of biodiesel with the goal of eventually reaching net-zero carbon emissions.”

Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning diesel replacement made from diverse resources like plant-based oil, animal fats or used cooking oil.4 Because it is made from agricultural byproducts, it is renewable. The primary feedstock for biodiesel is soybean oil made from U.S. Soy. Through Bioheat® fuel, U.S. Soy offers a “hearth-warming” solution.

“Bioheat® fuel reduces sulfur, carbon dioxide, particulate matter and mercury emissions,”5 Buechter adds. “That really does allow everyone to breathe easier, while staying warm.”

She says 22 states use about 4 billion gallons of heating oil each year, and that the Northeast consumes 3.2 billion gallons of that volume. Bioheat® fuel currently has about 11% market share.6 Most home heating oil companies currently carry it and will fill oil tanks with it when asked. For companies that don’t currently offer Bioheat® fuel, the obvious question for their customers to ask is, “Why not?”

Buechter stresses that these local, multigenerational family businesses take pride in serving their communities. As a low-carbon, drop-in choice, Bioheat® provides another way for them to do just that. They also resonate with the local, multigenerational family businesses in the agriculture industry — U.S. Soy farmers — that make Bioheat® fuel possible.

Is Bioheat® fuel an option you should consider next winter?

To learn more about Bioheat® fuel, its benefits and its availability in the Northeast and other areas of the U.S., visit www.mybioheat.com.

Singer, actor and restaurant owner Donnie Wahlberg visited his childhood neighborhood in Dorchester, Massachusetts, as he learned about BioHeat® fuel, an alternative home heating oil that uses renewable feedstocks and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

1 Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Production in the United States: Supporting Information, Xu, Ou, Li, Hawkins & Wang, Environmental Science & Technology Article ASAP DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.2c00289

2 The Geography of Heating US Homes, Joshua Stevens, maps.com, December 18, 2023.

3 Oil Heating An Efficient Option for Consumers, UPEi, accessed March 2024.

4 Clean Fuels: Better. Cleaner. Now! Clean Fuels Alliance America, accessed March 2024.

5 Bioheat Fuel & the Environment, Bioheat.com, accessed March 2024.

6 Jonathan Martin, Director of Economics and Market Analytics, Clean Fuels Alliance America, data as of March 2024.