Montana State University

MSU Extension Forestry

Calculators & Estimators

Estimate Space Heating Demand and Effective Costs

An important component in evaluating the economic impact of a wood-fired heating system is the current space heating demand and fuel cost.
This Estimator for Space Heating Demand and Effective Costs can help you with this process. A pre-populated example case study is available here.

Heating Fuel Comparison Calculator

What motivations do you have to consider using wood for heat? People invest in renewable energy for a variety of reasons. For example, you may be motivated to be less dependent on fossil fuels and its suppliers. Perhaps you are working to reduce your personal carbon footprint. Are you simply trying to reduce your current energy costs? Are you trying to hedge against future energy costs by using wood as a back-up fuel to your current system? Your reasons for exploring wood heat will influence your decisions about system size, economic benefit, and system type. Take time to think about your reasons for this investment before talking to a qualified installer.
This Heating Fuel Comparison Calculator can help you with one part of this process: It provides a quick way to compare the cost to purchase various fuels to heat a building. The calculator estimates the amount and cost for each fuel to deliver the required BTU's in the form of heat, and takes into account the cost of the fuel, the energy content of the fuel, and the efficiency of the appliance.

How much Energy is in a Slab of Wood?

Do you want to know how much energy is stored in a piece of wood and what you could do with that energy?
For example, how long a shower you could take if that energy would heat water?
Or how long different types of lightbulbs would burn if that energy would be available as electricity?
Find out with this illustrative Wood Slab Energy Calculator.

Firewood as a Heating Fuel Alternative

This is an online adaptation of MontGuide MT8411.
It provides an estimate how much heating your home with a "traditional, open-faced fireplace" is costing you, and if/how much investing in a new, EPA-certified wood stove could potentially save you over time. You can also estimate if substituting your existing fuel source with firewood would make financial sense at current market prices.