At the end of each sugaring season Vermont maple sugar makers often invest in equipment upgrades to improve their production and reduce their costs for the following year. Efficiency Vermont offers a number of rebates to help maple sugarers increase the energy efficiency of their operations and reduce their spending on fuel.
Sugaring is an energy intensive process. It takes approximately 43 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup, which takes a lot of fuel. The majority of Vermont maple sugarers use oil or cord wood-fired evaporators to concentrate their sap, and even with an efficient evaporator, this process still requires a lot of energy.
Sugaring equipment has evolved to adopt more advanced technologies to increase the efficiency of sugaring operations. One major advancement is the introduction of Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems into operations, which began in the 1970s. ROs can remove more than 75% of the water from sap prior to boiling, leading to as much as a 75% reduction in energy used by the evaporator to fully transform the sap into syrup. ROs are now commonplace for the largest maple sugar makers in Vermont.
Recognizing the energy saving opportunities that still exist for Vermont’s smaller maple sugar makers, Efficiency Vermont launched a rebate program in 2015 to enable smaller operations in the state to realize the benefits of an RO. Last year 54 existing Vermont sugar makers were able to take advantage of the rebate to purchase of an RO system for the first time. The estimated total fuel savings associated with this effort for the 2016 sugaring season is over 17,500 gallons of fuel oil plus more than 350 cords of wood.
2016 rebates on qualifying RO installations are now available through Efficiency Vermont. This year maple sugar makers with a minimum of 400 taps, or 100 gallons of annual production are eligible for a rebate. Up to $3,250 is available per system depending on the size of the equipment.
Those interested in taking advantage of this offer should contact Efficiency Vermont’s customer support team at (888) 921-5990 to learn more and get pre-qualified for a rebate. More information and a prequalification form are also available online at www.efficiencyvermont.com. Rebate funds are limited and pre-approval is required. Rebates can also be combined with discounts at the Vermont Maple Festival Open House in St. Albans, VT on April 22nd and 23rd.