Skip to main content

Administrative Policies - Policy 0036

State of Vermont
Agency of Administration
Department of Buildings & General Services

Policy 0036 

Title: Forestry Policy
Date of Issue: October 27, 2004
Supersedes: Initial Policy


 The Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services (BGS) has, for some time now, taken advantage of a renewable, indigenous and economical fuel source for heating its largest building complexes - biomass - firewood or wood chips. Montpelier Capital Complex, 27 buildings including the State House, Pavilion, Motor Vehicles and 133 State Street are all heated by a district steam heating system powered primarily by a chip burning plant. The Waterbury State Complex, Pittsford Police Academy, Mahady Court House in Middlebury, Emory Hebard State Office Building in Newport and four correctional facilities have been heated primarily by wood as well.

Most of this fuel is grown, cut, processed and transported by small Vermont businesses. This is not the case for Vermont's other fuels, where the export of dollars spent on energy by both the private and government sectors add up to well over one billion dollars every year. Burning biomass fuel adds no additional greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and if the wood is harvested sustainably, the sequestration of carbon and the forests. slow emission of CO2 - called the carbon cycle - is undisturbed.

Like all combustion fuels biomass has other air emissions of concern. The larger facilities mentioned above have air quality permits to regulate these emissions. BGS is committed to using the most advanced and advancing technologies available on all new biomass installations. BGS is also committed to the most energy efficient use of heat generated by biomass fuels (and all other fuels for that matter). New burners will be sized and the amount used will be predicated on, heating and/powering (electrically) energy efficient buildings.

Finally, BGS is committed to the best use of the state's forests, private and public. The following policy commits BGS to purchasing wood that has been harvested to high standards of forest stewardship in terms of economical production, soil erosion, fire risk, habitat and sustainability of growth/cut rates.


It is the policy of the Department of Buildings and General Services (BGS) to only accept firewood and woodchips, whenever reasonably possible, that have been harvested for the purpose of clearing the land for construction, known as "liquidation cuts" where said land has a development permit or;

From land where harvesting practices and methods were performed consistent with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation Acceptable Management Practices and the goals of the department's forestry plan that envisions in part: "a forest stewardship ethic built upon management principles that maintain forest health and productivity, wildlife and their habitats, and the natural systems of air, water, and soil" and "a healthy forest ecosystem, supporting the biodiversity of the state's existing native plant and animal species and their habitats, and the ecological processes that sustain them".


 BGS will work with the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) in the creation of a certification or other requirement method (possibly by reference[s]) for use in BGS' invitations to bid. The certification will adequately address the values mentioned above and these values are addressed in the contexts of high-grading, clear cuts, high elevation cuts, whole tree harvesting and anything else FPR deems appropriate as well as adherence to FPR Acceptable Management Practices.

Department Approval:  Thomas W. Torti, Commissioner