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Ingenuity Merges Oil Burners with Wood Pellets
Andrew Boutin, general manager of Pellergy LLC founded the business in 2006 with a goal to cut home heating costs by using a locally renewable fuel. He started in his basement, moved to a two-car garage, and now works out of a 2,000 square-foot space inthe old North Barre Granite building. Andrew was new to owning a business and credits the Vermont Small Business Development Center for providing important technical assistance throughout the entire process, helping with his business plan, financial projections and business goals and objectives. Andrew also teamed up with a manufacturer in Finland and secured the exclusive rights to its fully automated burner systems - systems that Pellergy manufactures in America, mostly in Vermont. The system converts oil heating systems to wood pellets yet preserves most of the heating system components.
Years of Pellergy testing and further years of residential utilization in Northern Europe have established the reliability of the systems. Andrew redesigned the European system to standard U.S. dimensions, tolerances, materials and components. Then he found local fabrication shops to produce the parts and set up a local assembly operation. Rather than create his own sales and service staff, Andrew trains fully certified local home-heating companies' technicians to install and service wood pellet central heating systems and supports them with, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, live person technical support. He felt this was a better way to support existing businesses. Pellergy assists with the initial setup of the system, troubleshooting and routine maintenance whenever questions may arise. Because there is very little standardization in today's wood pellet home-heating world, installers are trained to meet customers' frequent need for a custom or semi-custom design.
By 2010, Andrew had created enough of a demand for his product that he was able to leave his job at General Dynamics to focus full time on Pellergy. The company also now sells fully integrated wood pellet boilers made from U.S. steel and cast iron, in three different sizes. They also offer greenhouse heaters with up to 200,000 btu output made in the States as well. Andrew has distributors in Vermont, Pennsylvania, Maine and Alaska and has trained 35 certified installers in those areas as well. In the first three years, sales have gone from nothing to over $200,000 in 2011.