The Yukon Government has officially adopted a strategy to get Yukoners to heat their homes in a way that it says is cost-effective and environmentally sustainable.

The government drafted its biomass strategy last year, noting that wood-fueled heating systems are present in just 20 per cent of Yukon homes.

Yukoners spend $60 million a year on fossil fuels, a figure the government wants reduced.

Shane Andre with the Yukon Government’s Energy Solutions says creating and supporting a biomass industry in the Yukon makes more sense than trucking in fossil fuels.

“[With] just five per cent of what burns naturally in the territory, we could heat every building in the territory,” said Shane Andre with Energy Solutions.

Andre says burning wood would help promote a sustainable forest industry in the territory. He also says burning wood is considered carbon neutral.

“As long as we are allowing the forest to regrow, the carbon monoxide emissions we release when we burn it will be returned to the tree and therefore is a neutral cycle.”

Andre says it’s important Yukoners make sure they’re using a woodstove, that’s approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and one that’s installed properly.

“Make sure you’re burning dry wood and make sure you’re keeping a hot fire box,” he says “if you do those key things you’ll find that emissions from that fire are very low.”

Wood pellets have heated the Whitehorse Correctional Centre since it opened four years ago and the government wants to use more biomass energy for government infrastructure.

Andre says there’s no reason the main government building couldn’t be heated with wood in the future.