Catch up with PFI in this issue of the Pellet Wire!

September 22, 2023

From the Director’s Desk: Mini Q&A with Karen Harman-Smeltz, Your Average September, PFI HDD Index to Launch October 2  

Mini Q&A with Karen Harman-Smeltz

Late this summer, PFI-member Hearth & Home Technologies (HHT), launched the shared master brand Forge & Flame, unifying the Vermont Castings, Harman, and Quadra-Fire brands. The Pellet Wire caught up with PFI board member Karen Harman-Smeltz to learn a little more about the motivations for this launch and HHT’s ambitions for this new brand.

Congratulations on the announcement regarding the recently announced master brand of Forge & Flame. What made now the right time to unify the historic brands of Vermont Castings, Harman, and Quadra-Fire under one name?

"Thank you, we’ve been working on this concept for close to two years as we evaluated how we can lead the hearth industry in more ways than product. 

Through Forge & Flame, we have created a hub for consumer education, inspiration, and product selection. We lead consumers to the trade partners more educated and ready to buy than ever before. We are fortunate to have a deep heritage dating back to the energy crisis of the 70s. Our founders, Dane Harman, Alan Trusler (and Dan Henry), and Duncan Syme (and Murray Howell) are true innovators, and we are thankful for the products and technologies their legends were built on."

Hearth & Home Technologies has maintained relationships with hearth retailers for years and those strong relationships are the hallmark of Hearth & Home Technologies and how they go to market. What are you hearing from hearth retailers about this new go-to-market approach?

Our trade partners are the core of how our brands grew into the powerhouses they are today. We want to honor what they have grown and help them accelerate even more by focusing on how consumers are changing their wants and the knowledge they need to shop for big purchases like a stove or insert.

We arrived at Forge & Flame carefully and brought a variety of trade partners in to give feedback before final decisions were made. I believe this had a lot to do with the overwhelmingly positive response to Forge & Flame. We will continue to evolve Forge & Flame and are excited at what the future holds.

Each of those brands had certainly established itself as a formidable and trusted brand in the hearth space. How does HHT plan to connect the quality and performance that go along with those brand names to the new master brand of Forge & Flame?

Harman, Vermont Castings, and Quadra-Fire products will continue their reputation for quality and performance. What’s more, our new product development, manufacturing, and distribution remain untouched. Our stove plant in Halifax, PA is a Gold Certified Lean Manufacturing facility that has strict quality, delivery, cost, and safety measures.

Forge & Flame Seeks Nominees for 9th Annual Harman Hero Giveaway

Since 2004 Harman has awarded a pellet stove to military members, first responders, health care, or school workers as a thank-you for “their generosity, sacrifices, and impact on our everyday lives.” PFI member, Lignetics, contributes one ton of wood pellets to get the awardee started.

This is a terrific promotion and the PFI is proud of its members for celebrating heroes in our communities.

Does this promotion bring someone to your mind? If it does, nominations are welcomed through October 12, 2023. Submit your nomination online.

Your Average September

As the month winds down, here’s a quick look at some statistics for production, sales, and inventory positions for September. All data is from the Energy Information Administration’s Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report.

5-year averages


East            118,697 tons

South          22,579 tons

West           36,165 tons

U.S. Total   164,262 tons



East            125,695 tons

South          40,831 tons

West            48,224 tons

U.S. Total   214,749 tons



East            108,325 tons

South          36,327 tons

West           70,415 tons

U.S. Total   215,067 tons

Notes: September finds our industry at full song. September ranks as the third-highest month for production AND sales. Our industry’s best years are marked by a strong September. The 2.2 million ton 2019 saw September sales of 229,327 tons. Conversely, the great fizzle of 2021 saw September sales slump to 188,737 tons. 2023 monthly production has outstripped the average by 20% or better from February – June. Assuming that logic holds, this September’s production might flirt with 170,000 tons.

PFI HDD Index to Launch October 2

The correlation between Heating Degree Days and wood pellet consumption is clear. While we can’t do anything about the weather, we can understand and monitor its impact on consumer pellet usage. The PFI launched the PFI HDD Index as a way of monitoring the season’s accumulating Heating Degree Days against the prior year and long-term averages. The Index is updated weekly and can be found on the PFI homepage.

—Tim Portz
 Executive Director

Save the Date 2024

Photo of the Week:

Everyone Looks Younger: A selfie from the PFI’s 2019 Fly-In reveals a younger Executive Director and Board. I look forward to recreating this great shot next month when the PFI once again educates Members of Congress on the valuable role our industry plays in the forest products economy of this incredible country. My thanks in advance to those of you joining us there.

Photo Credit: PFI

Send Us Your Photos! Help us build a collection of photos of our members, their pellet mills, and products! Send images to Tim Portz at [email protected].

Industry News

EIA Monthly Densified Biomass Report (now with June data)

As of June 2023, the monthly data collection included 76 operating manufacturers of densified biomass fuel. These manufacturers had a total production capacity of 12.60 million tons per year and collectively had an equivalent of 2,493 full-time employees.

View Data

Heating Degree Days Data

Heating Degree Day Data Weekly Summary
Climate Prediction Center-NCEP-NWS-NOAA
Accumulations are from July 1, 2022 to Sept 16, 2023

View Data

FutureMetrics Compares Costs of Heat Pumps, Pellet Appliances

FutureMetrics LLC on September 17 published a new white paper that shows modern wood pellet fueled central heating systems can be a more affordable heating option than heat pumps for buildings in some climates.

Read Article

DOE Announces Wood Heater Design Challenge Winners

The U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), in collaboration with Brookhaven National LaboratoryLawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Alliance for Green Heat, is excited to announce the winning teams for the Wood Heater Design Challenge, offering a total of $120,000 in prize funds.

Read Article

From Princeton, For Princeton: Drax's Commitment to Local Wood Pellet Supply

At Drax, the company is committed to being a good neighbor in the communities they operate in and across British Columbia. Their presence in these communities has always been underpinned by a dedication to environmental sustainability and social responsibility. They’re proud to support local jobs and families, ensuring that their operations have a ripple effect of positive impacts throughout the region.

Read Article

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Have News to Share in the Pellet Wire?

We would love to feature your company's news in a future Pellet Wire! Let us be the first to know about your company's recent developments, and we will share them with the broader pellet fuels industry.

Please consider the Pellet Wire for staff announcements, new hires, promotions, and retirements. 

Please get in touch with Tim Portz via email at [email protected] with information on your company's growth, job openings, or other news.

Pellet Fuels Institute

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