|Of the 17 newly certified stoves,
non-catalytic models are the cleanest
The Alliance for Green Heat did an analysis of stakeholder positions which can be found here and also pulled out these excerpts for those who do not want to download and wade through hundreds of pages of comments, much of it repetitive.
Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington and the Puget Sound Air Quality Agency
AIR QUALITY AGENCIES
|A 2018 portrait of the Western
Governors Association who
oppose delays in the NSPS timeline.
Key excerpts of stakeholder comments which this analysis is based on can be found here for those who don’t want to download and read through hundreds of pages of comments.
|John Ackerly, head of the Alliance
for Green Heat. Photo courtesy of
Popular Mechanics magazine.
|Richard Corey, CEO of
California’s Air Resources
While northeast and northwest states have been the principal state actors, California is making a big investment in challenging the EPA’s deregulatory proposals. They filed extensive comments to both the Proposed Rule Making (PRM) and the Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM). They and many of other states challenge the legality of the EPA’s approach, setting the scene for what is likely to be a legal battle. They argue:
“The [EPA’s] requests for information with respect to the emission limit for wood heaters do not request the right information, are biased and outcome seeking towards collecting evidence for weakened standards and miss the opportunity to collect the data necessary to perform an accurate and complete economic and regulatory impact analysis. Asking “whether Step 2 is achievable at a reasonable cost” is not the correct framing of the question. The answer to this question seems predetermined, particularly for those who ostensibly have “been unable to design a wood heater to meet the Step 2 standard.”
|Letita James, the Attorney
General of New York, is the
lead among eleven attorney
generals opposing a sell-
through and other changes.
|HPBA’s John Crouch, an
architect and mediator of
|Lisa Rector, a leader at
NESCAUM on wood
|VP Berger, one of Hearth &
Home Technologies senior
leaders on NSPS issues.
| EPA officials, including Amanda
Aldridge and Rochelle Boyd, listen
to testimony on Dec. 17, 2018
on proposals to revise the NSPS.
|Blaze King’s Chris Neufeld, an
ardent promoter of catalytic stoves.
|Steve Muzzy, head of Central Boiler.|
|Bret Watson says Jotul is
doing “very well” in
certifying their 2020 models.
|Bill Wehrum, in charge of weakening
air pollution rules at the EPA for the
Trump Administration, has little time
to deliver on wood heaters.
Clearly, the attempt to dilute the NSPS by the Trump Administration has coalesced and unified states and air agencies behind positions developed by NESCAUM and others. They are looking to 2023 to regain the ascendancy that they lost under Administrator Pruitt and Wheeler’s leadership at the EPA. If democrats take the White House in 2022, rewriting the NSPS starting in 2023 could be a possibility. But a democratic White House and EPA would, in turn, energize Republican governors who seem to have been complacent during this comment process. Under Republican Governor LePage, Maine was the one state that was emerging as a vocal supporter of the EPA’s deregulation of wood appliances, but during the comment process, a Democratic Governor was elected.
|Bodmer’s Stoves has been located in
this stone building since 1976.
|Nancy Bodner ran a successful
pottery business out the store.
|Paul Van Der Eems, Dan Haynes,
and David Walters of HY-C accept
a Vesta Award for their furnace.
|The HY-C FC100E is the first
low-cost wood fired forced air
furnace to meet the strict EPA
2020 emission standards.
|The Lamppa Vapor Fire
100 is the only other 2020
compliant wood furnace,
|The EPA exempt US Stove
1357 Hotblast “coal only” furnace
also advertises “21 in. log
capacity” at Home Depot (Home
Depot discontinued the unit
a week after the story appeared.)
Massachusetts announced an 8th round of annual funding for its innovative wood stove change out program. The program was the first in the country to develop a change out program that gave higher incentives to fully automated stoves and stoves that provide a verified efficiency on the list of EPA certified stoves.
Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement the change-out program “improves air quality across the commonwealth and helps residents save money by adopting more efficient, cost cutting heating technologies.”
|This table is reproduced from the Change-out Program Manual (pdf).|
Massachusetts provides a helpful list of rebate amounts for all stoves that emit under 3 grams an hour. There are 596 stoves on the list. As a sign of the changing face of wood stoves in America, 216 or 36% of these stoves have verified efficiencies on the EPA list. Just two years ago, in the spring of 2017, only 87 stoves had listed efficiencies of 65% or higher.
This shows that in a short span of time, consumers have far more access to efficiency data than in the past. Change out programs like this one help drive consumers to purchase higher efficiency stoves. According to people familiar with the Massachusetts program, most consumers buy stoves with listed efficiencies rather than forgo the $ 500 – $ 750 efficiency adder. New York and Maryland also now include efficiency criteria in statewide stove incentive programs.
In a further sign of changing times, we are seeing a major resurgence of catalytic stoves. Fifty of the 216 stoves with verified efficiencies are cat stoves, compared to 61 that are non-cat. Many manufacturers are now using the term “hybrid” for stoves that have a catalyst and robust non-cat secondary combustion. Given the spotty reputation of catalytic stoves in the 80s and 90s, some manufacturers appear to be using catalysts to pass the 2020 standards but not advertising that the stove has one. In the Massachusetts change out program, hybrids are treated like catalytic stoves and receive the higher rebate.
Pellet stoves comprise the biggest share of stoves with listed efficiencies with 95 models. This high number of pellet stoves is a reflection of the ease of getting pellet stoves re-certified to the 2020 standards, which require efficiency testing and disclosure.
|Steve Pike, CEO of the
Massachusetts Clean Energy
Center announced the program at
the Fire Place in Whately MA.
Possibly most surprising part of the Massachusetts list is that the 6 stove models under 65% efficiency are all pellet stoves. It is vital for consumers to rely on the efficiency figures on the EPA list because most stove manufacturers continue to provide exaggerated or misleading efficiencies on their websites and promotional materials. For example, the Regency Greenfire GC60 made by Sherwood Industries was tested at 60% efficiency, which had to be disclosed on the EPA list. But the manufacturer’s website says “76.6% optimum efficiency.”
Massachusetts’ program gives its highest stove rebate of $ 1,250 to “fully automated woodstoves (FAW)” that consumers can “load and leave.” A FAW is defined in the program as a “stove that (a) automatically adjust the stove’s airflow and therefore includes no manual airflow controls and (b) has sensors that provide temperature-control capabilities.” There are currently four such stoves on the list. Determining which stoves can be designated as fully automated is tricky. Other states and change out programs are interested in this issue as well. The development of automated wood stoves could eventually reshape how we think about wood stoves, as they transform an age-old technology into a modern, high-tech appliance.
One important characteristic of wood stoves that does not appear on any list of stoves is whether the stove was designed for, and tested with, cordwood. Change out programs may see value in giving an extra rebate to encourage more consumers to use stoves designed to burn with cordwood instead of crib wood.
The 2019 Commonwealth Woodstove Change-Out Program has a budget of $ 450,000, which adds to the more than $ 2 million in funding for change-outs since the program began in 2012. The program has helped more than 2,300 residents swap out their non-EPA certified, inefficient stoves for newer, cleaner models. More than 500 of these rebates went to residents earning less than 80 percent of the state median income.
The program is run the by Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). Residents must have the new stove installed by a Participating Stove Professional who ensures that the old, uncertified wood stove is destroyed. There are currently 65 stove professionals participating, double the number from 2 years ago. Installers are encouraged, but not required, to be NFI or CSIA accredited.
If some manufacturers were not taking the 2020 deadline sufficiently seriously from 2016 – 2018, they are all likely to be doing so now. Instead of focusing on government relief, HPBA’s outreach to industry stakeholders is taking an a more urgent tone that everyone needs to focus on heeding the May 2020 deadline. However, almost all manufacturers were already focused on May 2020 for their own financial health and to assure their retailers that they are a reliable future partner. And, many manufacturers and virtually all retailers already are well-diversified with gas fireplaces and stoves which often outsell their wood and pellet appliances.
The list of stove manufacturers who are ready for 2020, almost are or “well-positioned” to be 2020 ready grows by the week. As of May 1, they include: APR Industries, Blaze King, Even Temp, ExtraFlame, Foyers, Heat Tech, Hearthstone, Innovative Hearth Products, Jotul, Kuma, Laminoux, MF Fire, Napoleon, Pacific Energy, Rais, Regency, Roby, RSF Fireplaces, SBI, Stuv, Supreme, Thelin, Travis and Woodstock Soapstone. Hearth & Home Technologies, by far the largest manufacturer, says a majority of its stoves will be 2020 certified this year.
|Jonathan Male, Director of the Bioenergy
Technology Office at DOE, speaking at
the 2018 Wood Stove Design Challenge
“The Alliance for Green Heat applauds the DOE bioenergy program for moving beyond funding for biofuels and supporting innovation in the wood and pellet heater sector,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat. “This funding and hopefully more in the future could kickstart a new wave of American innovation and ingenuity in wood heater design which is vital to keep wood and pellet heaters competitive with solar and other renewable technologies.”
The US is a world leader in manufacturing clean wood stoves, but behind European countries when it comes to efficient pellet stoves and wood and pellet central heaters. Most European governments have invested in R&D in biomass heaters, leaving US manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage.
The DOE appears to be trying to fund more than just tweaks and adjustments to traditionally-designed cat and non-cat stoves. Applications that can demonstrate genuine advancements toward state-of-the-art technology that ensure heaters burn well during start-up and reduce the opportunity for human error may have an edge.
|Automation of wood
stoves using sensors
is one of key areas of
interest for the DOE
- Novel and innovative residential wood heater designs
- Improvements in automation of stoves
- Wood heater power generation via thermoelectric module integration, and
- Improvements in catalyst technologies
|A screen shot of part of the
navigation of different fuel types
in the new EPA database
Updated May 30 – This week, the EPA released its long-awaited searchable stove and central heater database, overhauling a decades-old practice of using basic excel sheet lists.
and some say that this puts unwarranted attention to values that won’t necessarily translate from the lab to the home. This “Quick Searches” box will likely be used by consumers who don’t understand pellet stoves work similarly in the home as they do in the lab, but wood stoves can only achieve the optimal lab numbers with a large bed of coals, dry wood and careful operation.
The Alliance for Green Heat welcomes the new database and had the opportunity to provide input on several occasions as other stakeholders did. Some of our suggestions and wording was adopted and some was not. AGH believes that the new database will help consumers become more educated about the working of stoves and the terminology, but it will take time and effort by the wood heating community.
The release of the database was coordinated with the update of some key pages on the EPA’s Burn Wise website. The EPA finally changed their page on hydronic heaters which previously defined and pictured them just as outdoor boilers, a change that AGH had urged them to make for years. They also made major changes to their efficiency page which had not been updated since the EPA began requiring testing and reporting of efficiency of stoves.
|Wood stoves are divided into three
subtypes – cat, non-cat and hybrid – but
hybrid stoves are not yet listed
Hybrid stoves, which almost all use both catalysts and air tubes for secondary combustion, are listed as a subtype, but no stoves turn up in a search for that term. It is unclear if the EPA intends to populate that subtype. AGH is urging the EPA to also add “automated stoves” as a subtype in the future. Both hybrid and automated stoves offer great promise to help consumers run stoves more cleanly and should be identified in the database.
Not included in the new database
Some stakeholders have urged the EPA to include more search attributes, such as the test method, lab, and a link to the detailed lab report that manufacturers are required to post on their websites. The list also does not say whether PFI certified pellets were used during certification testing and are thus technically required to be used by the consumer. Up until 2007, list used to include the deadline that the five year certification certificate expired. Up until the summer of 2015, the list included the outmoded estimated default efficiencies, which listed all non-cats at 63%, cats at 72% and pellet stoves at 78%. The default efficiencies were set based on testing in the mid and late 1980s, resulting in relative accurate estimates for wood stoves, but helping to develop the enduring myth that pellet stoves had such high average efficiencies.
Contact Rafael Sanchez at the EPA’s Office of Enforcement to address errors or omissions in the database, (firstname.lastname@example.org) at (202) 564-7028.