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NORA Commissions Energy Efficiency Programs Report

Recognizing the importance of energy efficiency for both the US consumer and for the retail heating oil companies that service them, NORA is developing a new energy efficiency program. NORA’s commitment to energy efficiency is so strong that fifteen percent of NORA collections will be spent on the program.

In order to have a good understanding of existing energy efficiency programs and to establish a baseline, NORA commissioned Warm Thoughts Communications,Clifton, NJ to review a select group of state energy programs. This review was recently completed and the report Understanding the Energy Efficiency Landscape, and Implications for NORA Initiatives has been issued.

This report describes various existing state programs and reviews several particularly successful programs and their relationship to the retail oil dealers who are the backbone of NORA.

The report’s primary recommendation for NORA is to facilitate the development of energy efficiency programs for retail service companies. This would provide companies an opportunity to provide additional services to their customers, improve their workforce and enhance energy efficiency. A NORA committee is now examining the types of materials that should be developed to facilitate this program.

It should be noted that this report is not official NORA policy, but does provide guidance for moving forward in this critical area.


NORA Training Videos on YouTube

The complete library of NORA service technician training videos are available on the National Oilheat Research Alliance channel on YouTube.

Seventeen videos, each one covering a specific topic of interest to oilheat service technicians and HVAC contractors, can be viewed anywhere/anytime on any internet connected device through the popular video sharing website YouTube.

Video topics include

[ezcol_1half]Action Response to a No Heat Call
Tune Up
Fuel Delivery 
Heating Oil & Our Environment
Primary Controls Part 1: Thermo-Mechanical
Primary Controls Part 2: Cad Cell Relays
Primary Controls: Microprocessor and Riello 
Steel Above-Ground Tank Installations
Polyethylene/Steel Above-Ground Tank Installation[/ezcol_1half]

[ezcol_1half_end]Tank Inspection Procedures
Residential Underground Storage Static Tank Process
Above-Ground Fiberglass-Reinforced Plastic Tanks
Combustion Efficiency Testing
FSA Calculator
Customer Service
Outdoor Reset
Carbon Monoxide and How to Respond to an Alarm[/ezcol_1half_end]

NORA silver and gold certified technicians can earn CUEs by viewing the videos  and taking the online exam. Learn more here. The video library can also be found at


NORA research shows up to 20% biodiesel OK for home heating

[ezcol_1half]Research conducted by the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) blending up to 20% biodiesel (D6751), with both standard and low sulfur heating oil, showed no issues attributable to the use of biodiesel in heating equipment. This research includes both lab testing and field results.

Field experience with Bioheat® fuel (blended heating oil and biodiesel) has been overwhelmingly positive. A recent service organization survey conducted by NORA and Brookhaven National Laboratory observed that some 35,000 buildings are currently using Bioheat® containing more than 5% biodiesel without incident.

It is important to note that biodiesel is a specific product that meets American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D6751 specifications and has well-established product characteristics designed to ensure that it can be safely and efficiently blended into heating oil and diesel. Biodiesel meets detailed fuel property specifications within ASTM D6751. ASTM consists of experts from petroleum companies, equipment manufacturers and research organizations. In-spec biodiesel has undergone rigorous material compatibility, combustion, lubricity, field testing, and stability studies as part of the long ASTM approval process. Continue reading


Thermo Products, releases 95% efficient Oil Furnace

NORA R&D funding contributes to the new ultra-high efficiency appliance.


Thermo Products has developed a 95% AFUE oil condensing furnace that is Energy Star qualified and can match the AFUE ratings of gas furnaces.

Thermo Products Research and Development Department, headed by Chief Engineer, Everett James, have designed and developed this new ultra-high efficient oil furnace with funding assistance from the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA). “With efficiencies equal to many gas furnaces, we are excited to offer this energy efficient product to our customers”, according to Linda Keene, Marketing Coordinator of Thermo Products.

The OHC95 has a firing rate of 75,000 Btuh with up to 4 tons of A/C capacity.  This furnace uses industry standard components such as the Riello BF3 Burner. Standard ECM blower motor offers additional energy savings.

When designing this new oil furnace, Thermo Products asked themselves “How can we make this unit easier to service than our competitors?”.  Well, they have designed easy access to the primary and secondary heat exchangers by mounting them on a roller system to be pulled out. This makes servicing the primary and secondary heat exchangers quick and easy for routine maintenance. They have also designed the secondary heat exchanger with larger tubes allowing less restricted airflow minimizing buildup.

[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]

According to Rob Paquette, National Sales Manager for Thermo Products, They have had units in beta testing for some time now and even with the cold weather we have been experiencing lately, we have had no issues at all with this furnace.  One beta test site has seen fuel savings of approximately 25%.The OHC95 is offered in direct vent only using 3” PVC pipe.  The cabinet is 24W x 37.5D x 48 H with heavy 22 gauge cabinet steel with rounded door corners.  The powder-coated cabinet is black with silver front panels, which differs from the classic Thermo Pride furnace colors. Venting can be either left, up or right with an air supply opening of standard 20” x 20”.

Each unit comes with a ventor assembly. This is similar to an inducer fan on a gas furnace but it is in-line with the PVC pipe. This ventor is a sealed system venting flue gases when the furnace is running while at the same time bringing in combustion air.

The OHC95 Condensing Oil Furnace is currently available for sale. Thermo Products will initially offer the OHC95 to contractors who have gone through their online training class. They are offering the technical training to make sure the system is installed to their specifications for maximum performance and efficiency.


Cleaner heating oil coming to the Northeast

From PoliticoPro, By Amy R. Sisk,  The calendar may say August, but several Northeastern states are already making big decisions about how residents will heat their homes this winter.

As of July 1, heating oil suppliers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont must comply with new state rules to reduce the amount of sulfur in their product. Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, New York state and Pennsylvania are implementing similar rules.

For millions of homeowners and businesses, the change means their heating systems will emit less sulfur dioxide, which contributes to acid rain and haze. They will also burn through less fuel, and their furnaces will be able to go longer between maintenance visits, according to industry experts, who say any increase in costs should be negligible.

But the switch could prove to be a boon to the heating oil industry, which has lost market share as cleaner fuels like natural gas gain popularity. Continue reading


NORA early R&D priorities released

See entire list of priorities here.

[ezcol_1half]Brookhaven National Laboratoy (BNL), long a place of research and innovation, was the ideal location for the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) to kick-off a new era of research and development (R&D). NORA held its first R&D Conference/Workshop since congressional re-authorization at the renowned venue on June 3–4.

The current NORA statute requires NORA to allocate no less than 30% of its annual budget ($3-4 million per annum, $15-$20 -million over five years) to R&D of new oilheat products, systems and solutions to benefit the seven million homes and businesses using heating oil for space heating and hot water. How to best spend this money was the focal point of the event.

Research Topic Prioritization

  1. Biofuels/Bioheat® fuel received the most votes from participants (27%), with the top priorities within Biofuels/Bioheat® fuel scoring a tie between Technical/Climate Change Information Getting to State Energy Offices/stakeholders (25%) and Addressing
  2. Biofuels/Bioheat® fuel myths with Technical Data Sheets and Handouts for Stakeholders.
  3. Other research topics getting top consideration were Field Demonstration/ Documentation (19%); Low Cost/High Efficiency
  4. Appliances (18%); Controls & Emerging Technologies (14%); Combustion/ Advanced Burners (11%); and Fuel Quality (11%).
[/ezcol_1half][ezcol_1half_end]NORA Research Management
The next step of the Research Committee is to issue a Program Opportunity Notice (PON) for soliciting projects. The first NORA PON will be issued in September 2014. There will also be an Annual Research Conference; the time and place have yet to be determined.

Research & Development funds will be allocated based upon careful review by the NORA Executive Board, Board of Directors and the Research & Development Committee.

The Conference/Workshop’s intent was to continue the process of moving oilheating technology forward and to provide maximum benefit for U.S. oilheat consumers.

Top Projects with over five Percent of total votes

  1. Develop Powerful Fuel Use Tracking/Savings Tools…simple to use with wide adoption goal 8%
  2. Combustion Monitoring 7%
  3. B-100 Burner 6%
  4. Develop virtual “Smart Meter” Technology for Instant Results & More Efficient Deliveries 6%
  5. Technical/Climate Change Info to State Energy Offices/Stakeholders 5%
  6. Address the Myths with: Technical Data Sheets/Handouts to:Real Estate Community, AHJs (Authority Having Jurisdiction:Fire Marshals, Inspectors, etc.), Insurance Companies, Customers, Blenders, Students, Environmental Groups 5%
  7. Novel Atomization Technical Feasibility 5%