Vacuum left after one of nation’s top stove regulators and experts retires

When Rod Tinnemore was invited to speak about wood stoves, he didn’t sound like a regulator.  He spoke his mind, he made people laugh and he was never at a loss for words.  Rod was in charge of wood heater regulations in Washington State, the state with the toughest regulations in the country.  By the time he retired in April 2017, he left behind a far-flung community of stakeholders who admired him – or at least respected his judgment.

Rod Tinnemore became an Environmental Planner at the Department of Ecology in 2008, years after the state was pummeled by industry for the audacious move of requiring all heaters to meet a standard of 4.5 grams of particulate per hour.   Rod became the guy who enforced that decision, and it was one he was happy to enforce, because he felt stoves could and should be required to burn cleaner than the federal standard of 7.5 grams an hour.

Washington State also required that all stoves sold and installed in the state be EPA certified.  To enforce this, Rod regularly emailed residents residents trying to sell old, uncertified stoves on Craigslist.  “Most people didn’t know the regulations and were happy to discard the stove instead, but some just sold it another way.  Periodically, we found big box stores selling new, uncertified stoves and had to send them overnight certified letters as well,” Rod recalled.

Rod’s retirement leaves a vacuum among the regulator community, as there are very few non-federal stove regulators who have the depth of experience and expertise that Rod had.  He influenced policies in change out programs in Washington State and beyond and was one of the most influential state regulators in the EPA’s process to develop the New Source Performance Standards (NSPSP).

“Rod was able to build bridges between different factions and he was a diplomat – but he also knew when to take a stand,” said Lisa Rector, a Senior Policy Analyst at the Northeast States for Coordinated Air use Management (NESCAUM).

Many key figures in the wood stove industry thought highly of Rod, in part because he was accessible, responsive and practical.  “Rod had a healthy appetite for knowledge and was a great listener with no preconceived bias.  He was always asking great questions so as expand his knowledge base,” said Chris Neufeld, a vice president at Blaze King and Co-chair of the solid fuel section of the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA).

Some in industry butted heads with Rod because Washington State regulations prevented almost all outdoor and indoor wood boilers from being sold and installed in Washington.  But even companies representing those appliances often said that they he dealt with them fairly.

At least once, in 2013 when HPBA did not like an initiative Rod was spearheading, they had a lobbyist go to the legislature to send a message that Rod’s department’s funding could be in jeopardy if he pursued the initiative.  Rod ultimately had to back off, ending his exploratory work to start a consumer green label for wood stoves.

Rod was also considered one of the insiders of a small group of regulators in the United States who really knew what he was talking about.   Rachel Sakata, who did similar work for the State of Oregon as an Air Quality Planner, said that she continually relied on Rod’s expertise.  “Rod also was a champion for pushing for cleaner devices and thanks in part to him, we now have stricter regulations for wood heating devices that help protect the public,” said Ms. Sakata.  “And he continued to push for developing testing protocols that mimic real world conditions,” she said.

The Alliance for Green Heat also worked closely with Rod, recruiting him to serve as a convener and a judge for our Wood Stove Design Challenge events in 2013 and 2014.  He also served on a committee that we pulled together to integrate stoves into energy audits, leading to BPI adopting them in 2015.  The Alliance was also one of the stakeholders urging Rod to develop a consumer green label for stoves.

After Rod left office, the Alliance for Green Heat interviewed him, in between various trips and activities, for this blog.

Q. What do you consider one of your successes?
A. Working on and helping to fund a new cordwood test protocol that someday could become a Federal Reference Method (pdf) or possibly a state sanctioned cordwood protocol. We focused on testing various tree species to see which ones produced more PM, but most importantly we tried to get a protocol that resembled how homeowners start and use their stoves – which Method 28 did not. This initiative is now being managed by NESCAUM using Mark Champion’s lab in Vermont and I am very pleased with how it’s progressing.

Q. What was something that you did not succeed at?
A. Not being able to continue working on a consumer green label for wood stoves. This country needed a label to recognize high performing stoves and we still don’t have one that is robust and well recognized.

Q. Who were your closest colleagues?
A. Decades ago, West Coast regulators led the efforts to reduce wood smoke, but more recently, its shifted to the East Coast. California is very progressive but not influential on wood smoke issues because it is so fragmented into so many air districts. Other than Oregon, it was more fruitful for me to work with NESCAUM, NYSERDA, Brookhaven National Lab and the Wood Stove Design Challenge events.

Q. What was the best advice your boss ever gave you?
A. He told me early on that my job could be whatever I made of it.

Q. What was best guidance from your department?
A. The Department of Ecology had a policy of returning phone calls within 24 hours and emails within 48 hours. I thought that was good policy and I tried to live up to it every day.

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Misconceptions About Pellet Stove Efficiencies Persist Calendar year after Calendar year

Alliance for Green Heat, Oct. 2, 2013 – For years, scores of sites have getting making use of details from the Office of Power stating that pellet stoves have effectiveness ratings of seventy eight% – eighty five% and are exempt from EPA emission tests. Many other web sites say pellet stoves are exempt from emission tests simply because they are so clean to start with.&nbsp This has been handed down above the many years by suppliers, the media, sector websites and non-profits.&nbsp The only difficulty is, it is merely not true.

Pellet stoves are just like wood stoves: emissions rules ended up developed to certify them and there are ways to continue to be exempt from those regulations, like allowing an air to gasoline ratio of 35 to 1 or higher.&nbsp The vintage technology with a enormous air to gas ratio is the fire, and its the main purpose why fireplaces are so inefficient.&nbsp If a wooden or pellet stove is exempt since it has a high air to fuel ratio, its also heading to be considerably less effective, but in the scenario of a pellet stove, it might only be 5 – twenty% considerably less efficient, and even now in the 50 – 70% effectiveness selection.
To incorporate to the confusion, the EPA assigned an estimated default efficiency of 78% for pellet stoves, but no a single has reminded customers that the default effectiveness only applies to EPA licensed stoves, and not the uncertified ones, which are a vast majority of pellet stoves on the industry.&nbsp Specialists agree that exempt stoves are likely to be considerably less effective than accredited stoves, but no one urges customers to purchase EPA qualified pellet stoves to get increased efficiencies, as they do for wooden stoves.
Most pellet stoves aren’t EPA certified because they use a loophole to keep away from certification, just like some wooden stove producers have carried out.&nbsp That loophole permits pellet stoves with extreme airflow to avoid certification. &nbspAnd that abnormal airflow by means of the combustion chamber and up the stack drastically lowers effectiveness.&nbsp To complicate things more, several pellet stoves have not tested to be licensed, or examined to be exempt.&nbsp They are just on the market and its unclear if they have a 35 to one air ratio or not.
The EPA’s Pellet Stove Reality Sheet suggests, “Systems are employed to guarantee the ideal fuel‐to‐air ratio in the combustion chamber so that the fuel can burn fully”. The EPA simple fact sheet cited HBPA, the business association brochure as their supply.&nbsp In simple fact the opposite is often accurate due to the fact EPA regulation permits for much less than optimum fuel to air ratio as a way to steer clear of certification.
The DOE webpage on pellet stoves has heaps of great data, but on this crucial stage, it perpetuates another myth – that pellet stoves are so thoroughly clean that they don’t want to be licensed.&nbsp The DOE claims, with combustion efficiencies of 78% to eighty five%, they are also exempt from EPA smoke-emission tests requirements”.&nbsp That fantasy is becoming recurring on scores of prominent sector and independent web sites.
Nearly each pellet stove professional agrees that it is unwise to count on efficiencies posted by manufacturers, because they are not essential to test and record efficiencies in the exact same way and figures are often not created by third social gathering testing services.&nbsp The EPA listof certified wood and pellet stoves has just lately started out to record true efficiencies, in addition to the default efficiencies.&nbsp Many of concerns will be solved in eighteen – 24 months from now, when the EPA will probably begin demanding for the very first time, third party, persistently measured efficiency numbers on stove labels. &nbspAnd, the EPA will get rid of the loopholes that let for uncertified wood and pellet stoves to be sold on the market place.
Buyers are also supplied exaggerated effectiveness quantities by several if not most pellet stove producers simply because they report utilizing LHV numbers, as an alternative of HHV types, but they don’t tell the buyer that they use LHV.
The DOE and EPA need to do considerably far more to motivate people to switch from wooden to pellet stoves simply because they are persistently considerably cleaner and a extremely efficient way to drastically minimize fossil fuels.&nbsp They need to also support buyers realize what stoves the default efficiencies implement to, and why other individuals can be exempt from certification.&nbsp In the meantime, shoppers ought to think about acquiring EPA qualified pellet stoves if they want to make sure higher effectiveness stove, whether it is wooden or pellet.
Virtually each and every gas calculator lists pellet stoves at 78% effectiveness with out telling them that this only applies to EPA certified pellet stoves.&nbsp The regular pellet stove is probably about 70% effective, and could even be decrease than the regular of EPA licensed wood stoves.&nbsp Making use of gas calculators to see how considerably you can save switching from fossil fuel to pellets is difficult if you cannot get a reputable thrid-celebration effectiveness ranking on a pellet stove. &nbspNo one is aware how a lot of customers unwittingly purchased pellet stoves that could not even be sixty% effective.&nbsp

For far more client data on how to decide on an effective stove, simply click listed here.

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