Category Archives: NORA

04Jan/16

NORA embarks on a $1 million consumer outreach program

Using the internet and social media to bring a half-million visitors to its consumer website 

The decade from 2004 through 2014 was one of the most challenging ever for the oilheating industry. Warm winters, high and volatile fuel prices and strong political and environmental movements against hydrocarbon fuels all converged to make a difficult time for both heating oil suppliers and consumers.

Fortunately, the industry has been rewarded with a collapse in fuel prices- currently the lowest crude prices in 11 years. Additionally, through the leadership of NORA and numerous state and regional associations working with NORA, the industry has begun to transition to low-carbon and renewable fuels.

The next step is to make sure oilheat customers aware of these important positive changes so they will know their loyalty to oilheat has been rewarded.

Continue reading

07Oct/15

Oilheated homes can expect low fuel costs.

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Homeowners can expect lower heating prices both short and long-term.

Homeowners who heat their houses with heating oil will see lower prices this winter and for the foreseeable future.  Dramatic increases in production combined with ample and increasing inventories have driven the price of home heating oil down to levels not seen in years.

Prices have dropped across the entire heating oil marketing footprint. Heating oil closed on the NYMEX this past Friday, October 2 approximately 15% lower than the same time last year and almost half the price at the close of October 4, 2013—just two years ago. Continue reading

14Jul/15

Oilheat America Launches Social Media Sites

Oilheat America, the leading source for information on the benefits of using heating oil for space and hot water heating, has expanded its public outreach efforts by launching new Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ pages. Internet-connected computer and mobile device users can visit and follow or subscribe to these pages by clicking the social media icons at OilheatAmerica.com.

As with OilheatAmerica.com, social media updates will focus on Oilheat’s core attributes: Safe, Efficient, Clean, Abundant and Independent while including information on Bioheat®, the new “oilheat” containing a renewable biodiesel blend.
Oilheat America’s social media pages will be updated with links to information found on the Oilheat America website. These updates will then be shared by followers and subscribers, as well as social media users who find them via friends’ timelines or boosted (sponsored) posts.

Built to be friendly and accessible to the widest possible audience, the new social media platforms will connect Oilheat America with consumers, business owners, policymakers and anyone else who is interested in heating oil. Oilheat America looks to leverage the power of social media to spread knowledge of heating oil and to strengthen ongoing dialogues with the individuals who use it and the organizations that buy, sell and distribute it.

Oilheat America was re-launched by NORA in January of 2015 and has shown spirited activity with three and a half thousand visitors to date.

Oilheat America is sponsored by the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA). NORA  was authorized by Congress in 2000 to generate funding allowing the Oilheating industry to provide more efficient and more reliable heat and hot water to American consumers. NORA’s efforts focus on Consumer Education, Professional Education, Energy Efficiency & Safety, and Research.

For more information about NORA and its programs or services, call 703-340-1660 or visit the web site, NORAweb.org.

09Jul/15

Sulfur and Bioheat Requirements in the Northeast States

The Northeastern states are moving steadily towards improving the characteristics of home heating oil. Through the reduction of sulfur to almost negligible levels, the new heating oil burns cleaner and service intervals on heating appliances can be extended, providing consumers with more efficient heating and fewer service calls.

BioheatTM, the addition of biodiesel to heating oil, results in a exciting clean, carbon friendly fuel with a renewable component.

The New England Fuel Institute has compiled a chart of where each of the major oilheating states in the Northeast stand on the transition.

Get the chart here.

04Feb/15

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.

31Dec/14

ASTM Vote Opens Door for Biodiesel Innovation in Heating Oil

When finalized, landmark move for 20 percent biodiesel in heating oil expected to accelerate America’s transformation to Bioheat®

[ezcol_1half]JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – ASTM International, an organization which sets industry consensus standards for fuels and lubricants, has voted approve performance specifications for blends of 6 to 20 percent biodiesel with traditional heating oil.

The move is a significant leap forward in the industry effort to boost the percentage of cleaner burning biodiesel that homeowners and building managers use in oilheat equipment common to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

The updated ASTM D396 Standard Specification for Fuel Oils, containing the new grade for blends of 6 to 20 percent biodiesel, will be finalized and published by ASTM for public use after the usual ASTM review and editing process. It is expected by February 2015.

The mixture of biodiesel and heating oil is marketed as Bioheat® fuel, a registered trademark.

“The fuel oil industry is reinventing itself as a 21st century fuel by moving to higher blends of low carbon biodiesel and near-zero sulfur levels across the board,” said John Huber, president of the National Oilheat Research Alliance.

The Bioheat renaissance gives oilheat dealers, mostly small, family-owned businesses, the ability to provide their customers with a desirable new product, according to Huber.

“Bioheat gives consumers the choice to use a clean, domestically produced fuel without having to invest in an expensive natural gas system,” said Paul Nazzaro, who leads the National Biodiesel Board’s Bioheat outreach program. “Setting these performance specs for increased biodiesel levels is hugely significant, because it opens the door for innovation in the heating oil industry and will allow more consumers to enjoy the full benefits of this fuel in their homes and businesses.”

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[ezcol_1half_end]Nazzaro added that environmentally speaking, a 20 percent blend of biodiesel puts Bioheat on par with natural gas, the biggest competitor to oilheat, while higher biodiesel levels up to 100 percent biodiesel could reduce the carbon footprint of Bioheat up to 80 percent compared to traditional fuel oil.

The passage of 5 percent biodiesel into the No. 1 and No. 2 grades of ASTM D396 occurred in 2008. During the last six years, the Bioheat Technical Steering Committee, comprised of industry technical experts and led by NORA and NBB, developed a tremendous amount of data that formed the basis for the ballot. The vote to pass the ballot came last week at the semi-annual meeting of the ASTM Committee D02 on Petroleum Products.

“The technical data with this ballot for the new B6-B20 grade verified what we have known for years-B20 made with high quality biodiesel works well,” said Seth Obetz, president of Pennsylvania-based Bioheat distributor Worley and Obetz. “We have been marketing high quality B20 for 14 years and our customers see fewer problems with B20 than with conventional heating oil.”

Wholesale fuel provider Amerigreen reported at the ASTM meeting that it has more than 100,000 B20 customers. The company said that number is growing because Bioheat customers see less maintenance than with conventional fuel oil.

The NBB and NORA have invested millions of dollars in Bioheat research, outreach and education through funding provided by oilheat dealers, biodiesel producers and the soybean checkoff program.

Made from a diverse mix of sustainable resources, biodiesel is an Advanced Biofuel as designated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

For more, visit Bioheatonline.com and Biodiesel.org

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About ASTM International
ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards. Today, some 12,000 ASTM standards are used around the world to improve product quality, enhance safety, facilitate market access and trade, and build consumer confidence. Working in an open and transparent process and using ASTM’s a dvanced electronic infrastructure, ASTM members deliver the test methods, specifications, guides and practices that support industries and governments worldwide. Learn more at ASTM.org.

25Nov/14

NORA President Huber Chats with ICM

[ezcol_1half]In February, 2014, the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) was re-authorized by Congress to operate through February 2019. NORA’s mission is and was to improve the American consumer’s experience with oil-fired heating and hot water. NORA’s activities fall under four general categories: [/ezcol_1half]

[ezcol_1half_end]Research & Demonstration, Industry Education, Energy Efficiency and Consumer Education. John Huber, NORA President, sat down with Indoor Comfort Marketing’s Greg Dool to discuss NORA’s direction for the next five years.[/ezcol_1half_end]


[ezcol_1half]GD: Now that NORA is back up and running, what principal areas of research do you plan to focus on?
JH: The biggest function of our research going forward will be on the fuels—specifically Bioheat® (biodiesel blended with heating oil and perhaps additional sources in the future)—and then also looking at how to make sure the fuel that we use functions properly in the equipment.

Continue reading

15Jul/14

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%
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