Maryland program helps residents install cleanest stoves on the market

Chris Clark manages the clean wood and
pellet stove program for the Maryland
Energy Administration.
A Maryland renewable energy rebate program established in 2012 has provided assistance to nearly 3,000 to purchase and install cleaner, modern wood and pellet stoves.  The program was designed to help rural families, who were least likely to benefit from solar and other renewable energy programs.
The state has invested $ 1.88 million dollars, or an average of $ 664 per home.  The average purchase and installation costs of a stove is often around $ 3,800, so the state would be providing less than 20% of the price tag for a significant reduction in a home’s annual fossil fuel footprint.
The Maryland Energy Administration who manages a suite of renewable energy incentives runs the program.  With this program, the MEA cannot exactly track the amount of fossil fuel that the program has reduced, which hinders the ability of regulators to track data as they can with the solar and other rebate programs.
Of the 2,845 stoves purchased through the program, 2,425 or 85% were pellet stoves.  To be eligible, pellet stoves have to emit 2 grams an hour or less, and wood stoves 3 grams an hour or less, well below the federal EPA limit of 4.5 grams an hour.  Pellet stoves are eligible for a $ 700 grant and wood stoves $ 500.

Rebate data provided by MEA
“We are pleased that this program steers so many people towards pellet stoves and ensures that the installation is done professionally,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat, a Maryland based group that worked with MEA to establish the program. 
Only residents who do not have access to natural gas are eligible for the grant, which as a result helps families in rural areas who rely on more expensive fossil heating fuels.  New York also adopted this innovative approach, and only provides incentives to homes that are not on the natural gas grid.  A 2013 analysis of the program by the Alliance for Green Heat found that it was helping less affluent families to reduce fossil fuel use.
The program does not require residents to turn in an old, uncertified wood stove to participate in the program.  However, some retailers report that nearly half of their customers who use this program turn in an old stove that is recycled. 
During 2015, the program experienced its highest participation rates, providing grants for 1,036 stoves, 904 of which were pellet stoves. 

“A $ 3,000 pellet stove installation can reduce fossil fuel usage by as much as a $ 15,000 array of solar panels,” said Ackerly.  “And increasingly, we see families who have solar panels also installing pellet stoves so that they can use renewable energy for both their electric and heating needs,” he added.

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Automated Wooden Stove Functions Getting into the Market

This year there are at the very least 50 % a dozen stoves on the marketplace that have some automatic characteristic that did not exist on the market place a number of several years back. A lot of of these attributes support the stove burn off fairly cleaner, and are aiming at a demographic seeking for simpler procedure. It really is still too early to notify how effectively the automated attributes function, compared to what they declare to do.

To really recognize the benefits of automation attributes, whether or not it be the traditional bi-metallic coil or up-and-coming digital sensors and on-board personal computers, you require to have aspect-by-side checks with the automation on and off. Easier stated than done. &nbspIn Europe fully automatic stoves – indicating stoves that you can “load and go away” – and the operator has no or constrained management to adjust heat output, are previously on the marketplace. &nbspNone are on the industry in the US as there is no check technique to certify them. &nbspThe regulatory barrier to perhaps much cleaner stoves from entering the US industry is being dealt with at the Collaborative Stove Layout Obstacle, in which a automatic stove tests protocol will be produced and submitted to the EPA.

3 key players in the US stove production local community – Quadrafire, Travis and England Stove Functions – now have automated methods to lessen commence up and reloading emissions, which is one particular of the most crucial emissions issues that requirements to be tackled. The Travis system makes use of electricity and is likely the most potent of the 3, and the other two never need to have electric power. &nbspThe England Stove Functions stove has built-in their innovation in a really affordably price tag stove.

The real assure of automation is not to get a very hot stove to strike an ultra-minimal particulate make a difference amount in a lab, but to boost genuine-planet functionality by seamlessly optimizing performance throughout the melt away cycle, to reducing begin-up emissions and minimizing emissions from unseasoned wooden. EPA certification tests does not try to take a look at these characteristics of a stove, so stove organizations have not experienced significantly incentive to invest a good deal of time, work and income to layout for that.

In the United Kingdom reliable burning heating devices are not categorised by their measurement, i.e. stove vs. boiler, but by no matter whether they are computerized or guide. To obtain a ranking to be utilised in a lot more polluted locations, manually operated stoves need to post lab assessments showing 5 burns for each and every output stage since “manually managed appliances present much greater variation among tests.” Automated appliances only have to be examined three times at every single output degree.

The chart underneath displays a wide assortment of technologies that exists in both stoves and boilers in Europe, but only exists in boilers in the U.S., and considerably of it is imported from Europe. (Click right here for PDF that involves this chart and some discussion of these concerns.)

In November 2014, Brookhaven Lab will be screening automated stoves and prototypes at a&nbspstove layout workshop&nbspto see how efficient they are. Their designers aspire to be portion of a actual craze of cleaner, much more automatic household wood heating. But can they do it at an affordable price stage? And, are consumers completely ready for them? Below, we will seem at stoves with automatic characteristics that are presently on the marketplace.

A bi-metal coil functions as a warmth-
delicate thermostat which can partly
management the opening and closing of the damper.

1. The bi-steel coil. The oldest type of automation of steel wood stoves is the bi-metal coil which has been employed on scores of stove types and is now largely just utilised by a couple of catalytic stove makers, principally Blaze King and Vermont Castings. Some of the new automated functions do something related as the bi-metallic coil, but possibly do it significantly much better. A bi-steel coil is simply a thermostat run by a metal coil that can shut a damper down when its genuinely hot, and open up it up when its cooler. The stove’s air inlet can nevertheless be operated manually, but the bimetal coil will alter the air inlet more. They have a tendency to not perform nearly as effectively on non-cat stoves, because the temperatures in a non-cat firebox can be much more unpredictable, and if the coil shut down the air, or opened it too significantly, the stove would work improperly – and critically – it adds far way too a lot uncertainty in passing the EPA emissions certification take a look at.

The rotating cause mechanism in the
Smartstove Selection by Englander
reduces air circulation once the stove is hot.

2. The up coming three stoves – the England Smartstove, the Quadrafire and the Travis – all use diverse automated approaches to beginning the fireplace quicker and with fewer emissions. Right after the start-up period of time, the stove operates like any other. The Smartstove by England Stove Performs was exhibited at the Wood Stove Decathlon on the National Shopping mall in 2013, but it was even now in growth so it was not element of the competitiveness. The stove has an “automatic air setback mechanism” which is a major air control with a rotating trigger which controls the opening and closing of air vents. When the operator begins a hearth, they provides the stove highest air and sets the set off. When the stove will get scorching enough, the bring about releases and principal air is lowered, while still delivering sufficient secondary air.

Quadrafire’s Explorer two Commence-Up air
handle aids give the stove a lot more
air in the initial twenty five minutes.

3. Another current arrival on the marketplace is Quadrafire’s Explorer II, which appears to provide comparable automation. The website states “Automatic Combustion Control-offers the fire with air when it is most essential-major to lengthier burns.” A marketing and advertising video states the operation is so simple that all you have to do is “load the wooden, light the fireplace and wander away.” In accordance to the installation manual, ACC is generally a timer which the operator should manually initiate with a manage mechanism. In essence, it opens the front air channel which enables air to enter for twenty five minutes prior to closing. As soon as the entrance air channel is closed, manual controls are used to deliver preheated air to the prime of the firebox to burn off the relaxation of the unburned gases in the remaining 3 combustion zones.The Alliance confirmed with a company representative that no sensors are used or essential following the operator sets the timed management system.

The slider on the Cape Cod
adjusts the charge of burns.

four. Travis industries Hybrid-Hearth technology™ created an automated “Greenstart” which shoots 1,four hundred degree air into the firebox for fifteen minutes to start your fireplace, or when you reload. The Greenstart can significantly lessen start-up emissions, and emissions in the course of reloading on a lower temperature mattress of coals, by jumpstarting the start-up approach and heating the wooden up more rapidly than it would with newspaper. Soon after the 1st fifteen minutes, the stove has no automated features, but some of the Travis stoves that use catalysts are amid the cleanest in the sector. The Travis Cape Cod stove won 2nd prize in the Wood Stove Decathlon.

5. The Nestor Martin’s Efel has an “automatic mode” that can keep the area at a wanted temperature. Or in timer method, it can alter the area temperature at a pre-set time. The stoves uses a basic ambient air thermostat in a distant management unit that you can function from the sofa or anyplace nearby. If you do not use it in automatic manner, the remote handle enables the person to modify the depth of the fire just as you would with a guide air management. One of the essential things that distinguishes this Efel from genuinely automatic stoves is that there are no sensors in the stove that can avoid the stove from smoldering or override an adjustment by the operator that would make the fireplace smolder.

HWAM’s Autopilot technologies utilizes
sensors, alongside with a bi-metallic spring to
control combustion temperatures.

6. The last two stoves are far more completely automated stoves and are on the industry in Europe, but not in the US. Danish organization HWAM, whose automation will be third-party examined and assessed at Brookhaven Lab in November, has built-in a new patented system-Autopilot. Alongside with the Austrian Rikatronic, described below, the Hwam is one particular of the most sophisticated and totally automated stoves in Europe. HWAM 3630 IHS attributes a management method that electronically steps combustion situations through the use of a lambda oxygen sensor and a thermocouple. An onboard personal computer then allocates combustion air by way of three individual valves to assist the customer achieve the very same outcomes at home that are obtained in check labs underneath perfect situations. According to the Danish Technological institute, HWAM stoves with this system are 17% more effective and make 40% a lot more heat.

Rikatronic has a microprocessor-controlled
motor and a flame temperature sensor
which drives the RLS air distribution program.
The light tells you the optimum time to reload.
By pressing the button, the stove is aware
&nbspit has refreshing wood to deal with.&nbsp

7. There are many variations of the Rikatronic wooden heater program. The Fox II stove attributes manual and automatic control settings. In manual method the air distribution can be managed in every combustion stage-even in the function of a electrical power outage. Automation in Rikatronic technological innovation functions with a microprocessor-controlled motor and flame temperature sensor which operates the RLS air distribution method. Airflow in every of the 5 combustion zones is properly modified for productive burn off. A purple mild indicates the ideal time to reload the stove. You can established the space temperature you want and once the needed space temperature is arrived at, you can activate the eco manner by urgent the Rikatronic³ button. This brings about the air offer to be optimally controlled to maintain the hearth for as long as possible, without having smoldering, and to go away powering as small ash as possible. Power use is two – four watts.

The initial 5 stoves described here signify American improvements that can partially decrease extreme wooden smoke, although the very last two stove from Europe signifies a far more holistic strategy that can support lessen emission not just in the start up, but all through the melt away cycle. &nbspThey are all still fairly new systems and we are likely to see a lot more companies boost upon them in coming many years.

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Pellet Stoves Make Huge Gains in Market place Share

Pellet stoves nearly outsold wood stoves in 2006 and 2008

Alliance for Green Heat, March 26, 2013 – In 1999, pellet stoves only had an 11% share of the stove market. Nine years later in 2008, they had a nearly 43% market share. Today, for every three stoves sold, two use cordwood and one uses pellets. For a technology that was only invented in 1980s, this is a remarkable innovation success story.

The large percentage of pellet stoves sold today is great news for air quality agencies since they operate far cleaner in homes than almost all wood stoves. It’s also great news for the renewable energy community since a pellet stove burns 24/7 and is usually a home’s primary heat source. Pellet stoves typically make as much or more energy than residential solar panels and drastically reduce a home’s fossil fuel use.

Manufacturers shipped 48,277 pellet stoves to sell in the U.S. in 2012, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbeque Association (HPBA), a trade association that tracks the annual shipments of wood, pellet and gas stoves. While 2012 sales were slow, the average pellet stove sales over the last five years was nearly 90,000 per year, according to HPBA data.

By contrast, wood stoves and wood stove inserts have sold an average of 137,000 units over the last five years. Pellet stoves have not yet ever sold more than wood stoves, but they came close in 2006 and 2008. It is likely only a matter of time before they top annual wood stove sales. Ten years from now, it is not impossible that pellet stoves would start outselling wood stoves on a regular basis.

Pellet stoves and pellet fuel did not take hold until the mid 1990s, when the component parts of the stoves became more standardized, interchangeable and less expensive, according to Scott Williamson, one of the country’s foremost experts on pellet stoves. Since then, reliability has improved and install costs are lower than wood stoves, giving them an edge in the marketplace, says Williamson.

Changing demographics also is likely to favor pellets. “As our population ages, more and more people will be switching from wood to pellets,” says Charlie Niebling, a thought leader in the pellet industry and board member of the Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC). “Programs to change out old wood stoves usually give higher rebates for people to install pellet stoves instead of a new wood stove, and that has helped the market share of pellet stoves,” Niebling adds.

Despite their lower particulate matter emission profile, pellet stoves have rarely been recognized in rebate and incentive programs as distinct from wood stoves. The federal tax credit has always applied equally to wood and pellet stoves and the ongoing state incentive programs in Idaho, Maryland, Montana and Oregon provide incentives to both wood and pellet appliances.

A recent example of the surge in popularity of pellet stoves is from a stove rebate program run by the State of Maryland. Maryland residents chose pellet stoves twice as often as wood stoves. “We are pleased to see rebates for pellet stoves were more popular because we know that pellet stoves are more likely to be used as a primary heating device and are usually cleaner,” said Kyle Haas, the Bioenergy Program Manager at the Maryland Energy Administration.

“This is an example of a new and effective renewable energy technology getting off the ground without significant government assistance,” says John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat. “While this proves pellet technology can succeed in the market on its own, if it was treated like solar and geothermal in the federal tax code, many more consumers would have a very affordable way to reduce fossil fuels. Solar, geothermal and wind are great for wealthier families, but pellet technologies are a way to scale up residential renewables far more quickly” Ackerly said.

Pellet appliances are incentivized in Europe more often than cord wood appliances and have benefited from various green label programs, similar to the US Energy Star label. There is no regional or national green label in the US that recognizes the cleanest and most efficient pellet or wood stoves, which likely adds to the sluggish sales of these appliances, compared to Europe.

For the first time, the EPA will regulate pellet stoves as of next year. In 1990, when the EPA first regulated wood stoves, it exempted pellet stoves. This will mean that all pellet stoves have to be tested and certified by EPA approved test labs. The EPA’s draft regulations, which are far from final, do not set strict emission limits. The average pellet stove emits under 2 grams or particulates an hour. The EPA’s draft requires pellet stoves to emit under 4.5 grams per hour.

While pellet stoves have about a 30% market share in the US, in Canada pellet stove sales are only about 10% of the market, according to HPBA. Data on pellet stoves is tracked by number of stoves that are shipped by manufacturers that year. The data HPBA produces is conservative in nature and that “the numbers HPBA produces for the industry are conservative, containing the vast number of units shipped, although the actual shipment numbers are probably slightly higher,” according to Don Johnson, Research Director for HPBA. Pellet and wood stove shipments also include pellet and wood stove inserts. Most of the wood stove shipment data produced by HPBA does not include inexpensive wood stoves not certified by EPA.

The pellet stove market in the US is way behind the market in Europe and not just in terms of volume of sales. For example, reliable, verified efficiencies are not reported by manufacturers of pellet stoves in the US, which may reduce consumer confidence and satisfaction for those who unknowingly buy more inefficient appliances. And, there is no standardized way to report decibel levels on pellet stoves in the US and noisy fans are one of the biggest complaints of consumers.

Two major developments that will help propel the industry forward is a pellet fuel standardization program and new regulations by the EPA that will require pellet stoves to report their efficiency.
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