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EPA takes step towards a “green label” for wood and pellet heaters

Posted by Earth Stove on November 16, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , , ,
The EPA issued its long-awaited voluntary hangtag, which will help consumers identify the cleanest burning wood and pellet heaters on the market. Only manufacturers who make stoves and boilers that already meet the stricter 2020 emissions standards can use the hangtag.
The hangtag is a major step towards a “green” or “eco-label” for wood and pellet stoves for designating those stoves that emitted the least amount of smoke in the test lab. The hangtag has a line to record efficiency, if the manufacturer chooses to disclose it, but disclosing efficiency is not required.  The Alliance expects some stoves with higher efficiencies to list their efficiency on the hangtag, and stoves with lower efficiency numbers to not disclose their efficiency. 
Most European countries have had eco-labels specific to stoves for many years that have helped drive the market to exceed the minimum emission and efficiency standards.  The EPA designed this hangtag “to provide an incentive to manufacturers to meet the federal 2020 standards early” but the main industry stove association, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) is suing the EPA to prevent those stricter 2020 standards from taking effect.  It is still too early to tell if the big stove manufacturers may decline to use the hangtag because they may view it as a step toward the 2020 standards. Some smaller companies, that are not members of the HPBA, are already taking steps to display the hangtag. 
The current emission standard for wood and pellet stoves is 4.5 grams per hour and the more stringent 2020 standard will be 2.0 grams per hour.  There are 76 models of pellet stoves on the EPA’s list of certified stoves and 48 of them are already under the 2 grams per hour limit, so 63% of pellet stove models already meet these 2020 standards and are eligible to display the consumer hangtag.  Eleven stoves, or 14% of all pellet stoves are already less than 1 gram per hour.
More than 2-dozen non-catalytic stoves and more than 2-dozen catalytic stoves are eligible to use the hangtag.  (Unlike pellet stoves, the emissions from wood stoves are not designed to estimate emissions from in-home use and homeowners will typically emit far more smoke than labs can achieve during a certification test.)
Among EPA certified wood and pellet boilers, there are 72 models on the market and 38 of them meet the 2020 emissions standards and can use the hangtag.  Of those 38, only 5 of the models use cord wood achieve the 2020 standards but virtually all of the pellet units (33 out of 35) achieve the 2020 standards. Most of the certified pellet boilers are technologies imported from Europe and emit about one tenth of the emissions that certified cord wood boilers emit.
The development of the hangtag posed a number of concerns for the EPA, including whether they should list heat output in BTUs per hour, which is already included on the EPA’s list of certified stoves. The EPA decided to use a more general estimate of heat output, “Heating Area” in square feet,

estimated by the companies themselves, because BTU per hour claims have become too unreliable and prone to exaggeration.  In the past, the EPA did not require that test labs use actual efficiency numbers in heat output calculations, allowing test labs to use a range of efficiency estimates to make stoves look far more powerful that they actually are.

The hangtag also provides a box for companies to designate if they test with cordwood. So, for the first time ever, consumers can start to identify stoves that are designed and tested with the fuel that they would typically use themselves.  No stove has been certified with cordwood yet and the ASTM cordwood test method is still in progress, but several companies are expected to test with cordwood in coming months.
The EPA is using the back of the hangtag to list important educational messages.  Among those messages is the strongest endorsement yet of certified pellets, a move that will irritate many pellet manufacturers who have been resisting getting their pellets certified.  The EPA went so far as to claim that “non-certified pellets may be high in ash content, low and energy output, and have impurities that could harm your families health.”  While some cheaper pellets have high ash content, low heat output and possibly even contain impurities, the quality of many uncertified pellet brands are on par with those that are certified and some of the highest quality pellets are not certified.

The EPA’s willingness to strongly endorse pellet certification comes at a time when the main certifying body, the Pellet Fuel Institute (PFI), is also suing the EPA over some of the finer points of requirements that the EPA puts on pellet certification.

The success of the EPA’s consumer hangtag, like many eco labels, may hinge on branding and how recognizable the hangtag is to consumers.  If the EPA, states, and non-profits put resources into promoting the hangtag, consumers will be more likely to ask for it and base their purchasing decisions on it.  The first companies to start using the hangtag could see a boost in their sales and it could put pressure on the mainstream companies to use the hangtag, if they aren’t already.

“This hangtag will help consumers not only choose cleaner stoves, but also to choose companies committed to making cleaner stoves,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat.  “If the stove you buy today already meets the 2020 standards, the parts and service for that stove are more likely to be available 5-10 years from now, when you need it,” Ackerly added.

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Visit the EPA’s page on the voluntary hang-tag.  For more on problems with EPA listings on Btu output per hour, the lack of disclosure of stove efficiencies, the EPA’s 2020 emission standards for stoves and boilers and PFI pellet certification scheme.

Heated Up!

Maine Governor LePage and Jotul Crew Up Towards Wooden Stove Regulations

Posted by Earth Stove on April 8, 2014 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , ,
by John Ackerly
Alliance for Eco-friendly Heat
On April 4th, the Wall Road Journal ran an op-ed from Maine Governor Paul LePage, a Republican Tea Social gathering preferred. It was a careless and sophomoric essay that will probably do small to advance the discussion about how wood stoves could be regulated to be cleaner and much more successful.

Maine Governor Paul LePage

An underlying difficulty with LePage’s op-ed is that it purports to communicate to countrywide wooden stove coverage but is largely an effort to assist Jotul, a well known wooden stove importer and company in Gorham, Maine. &nbsp
Governor LePage’s major argument is that the EPA’s rules will demand producers to devote so considerably money to increase their stoves that new designs will be unaffordable.&nbsp As a end result, as an alternative of purchasing new, cleaner stoves, far more folks will hang on to their dirtier aged stoves generating air pollution problems worse, not much better. &nbspThe Governor, like the house owners of Jotul, greatly exaggerates this argument whilst overlooking the massive positive aspects that the EPA regulations will provide.
The Governor’s arguments are based on shaky or inaccurate assumptions.&nbsp 1st, numerous if not most individuals in the market for new stoves really don’t already personal an previous stove. They are initial time customers and will be in a position to get a cleaner and a lot more efficient wooden or pellet stoves.&nbsp Next, the price of new stoves may possibly not go up a lot, if at all, for some makers, since some manufacturers are previously generating inexpensive stoves that meet the strictest standards getting regarded as by EPA that would not consider effect right up until 2020. &nbspOther producers are buying or building innovative technologies that are inexpensive and extremely clean.&nbsp Third, even if some stoves have somewhat greater charges, people price tag will increase could be far more than offset by gas cost savings from improved efficiency, a fact that Governor LePage overlooks.&nbsp Finally, Governor LePage does not dispute the enormous public overall health rewards of these rules.&nbsp
The EPA estimates that community heath positive aspects will be a minimum of a hundred and fifteen moments the cost to makers to increase efficiency, and as significantly as 262 occasions in the best situation.&nbsp (EPA estimates the community wellness positive aspects in the course of the first 8 several years at $ one.8-$ 4.one billion annually, and the price to sector at $ 15.seven million each year.&nbsp Thus the community wellness return is a minimal of one hundred fifteen to 1.&nbsp
Bret Watson, owner of
Jotul North The us
These restrictions are most likely to be far more expensive to Jotul than to most other makers. This is since Jotul’s most well-liked stoves have more to go than other people to meet stricter standards.&nbsp And, it is due to the fact Jotul makes stoves making use of solid iron relatively than metal. Shifting to steel stoves or just including some steel models could be harder for Jotul due to the fact it is owned by a international organization wed to forged iron.&nbsp
None of Jotul’s most well-known stoves are less than three. grams an hour, which is one particular purpose that the business has been an outspoken advocate towards stricter emissions specifications.&nbsp Virtually all major stove producers besides Jotul have a number of designs in the 1.5 to two.5 gram an hour variety.&nbsp Jotul actively opposed a Maryland state program to give rebates to stoves at 3 gram an hour or considerably less, but buyers, stove suppliers, legislators and condition regulators desired a rebate program for cleaner wood and pellet stoves. &nbspThe plan was set up and has productively served hundreds of Marylanders get cleaner, new stoves and retire older, dirtier types.
A single of the most striking ironies of LePage’s op-ed is that he supports a common sector placement that wooden stove change-outs would be more powerful in decreasing wooden smoke than necessitating stricter expectations for new stoves.&nbsp Nevertheless, Maine is not one of the states that have offered point out resources for change-out packages.&nbsp To its credit, Jotul has offered a summer discount program for customers to trade-in an outdated stove and purchase a new Jotul stove.&nbsp
Governor LePage mentions that Maine has a $ 250 rebate plan for wood stoves.&nbsp We believe this and related packages are good, nevertheless this a single does not demand buying and selling in an outdated, uncertified stove when buying a new one particular. The Efficiency Maine plan has 1 of the least expensive rebate levels and greatest needs, this sort of as focused exterior air offer, so that to date, the software has offered out only one rebate.
The Governor also calls on the EPA to set up an incentive system for stove proprietors to purchase more recent models.&nbsp This is not a poor concept and some states do this, but not Maine.&nbsp The Federal federal government has had this kind of a plan in the type of a $ 300 tax credit history.&nbsp Business lobbies for that system but has by no means proposed that system only be open up to homeowners of uncertified stoves.&nbsp &nbsp
The Governor also suggests in his op-ed that his environmental-defense commissioner testified in Boston in February at the EPA’s only general public listening to.&nbsp His environmental protection commissioner, Patricia Aho, made really an effect due to the fact she was so out of stage with other state officials by becoming so vital of the proposed regulations.&nbsp Condition officers symbolizing point out companies from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Washington also attended the Boston public listening to and have been all quite supportive.&nbsp
1 of the most significant motives why Jotul has pressed the Governor, Maine’s two senators and others to appear to its help is because Jotul evidently doesn’t think that non-catalytic stoves, like the kinds it tends to make, can compete with catalytic stoves.&nbsp The Governor even said that the “EPA could effectively eliminate noncatalytic stoves.”&nbsp According to a stove emission database compiled by the Hearth, Patio &amp Barbecue Affiliation, the sector affiliation, there are equal quantity of catalytic and non-catalytic stoves that could be able to go a 1.three-gram an hour common.&nbsp If the EPA ultimately settles on a higher, two. gram an hour standard, there will nevertheless be an equivalent amount of catalytic and non-catalytic stoves that are very likely to pass, according to the business databases.
Governor LePage provided one extremely crucial truth in his op-ed that undermines his argument.&nbsp He cited a examine by Portland firm Vital Insights that was completed for the American Lung Association of Maine, an group that believes the EPA’s proposed rules are not practically rigorous enough. The examine located that 60% to 70% of residences in Maine have EPA accredited wooden stoves.&nbsp Of the number of individuals who use wood as a primary warmth source, far more than eighty% are very likely to have an EPA licensed stove in Maine, in accordance to this examine, which seems to be really professional and thorough.&nbsp This signifies that a wonderful majority of Mainers currently have cleaner, a lot more successful stoves and stricter EPA requirements would not consequence in that several folks hanging on to their aged, uncertified kinds.&nbsp In simple fact, these figures are evidence that Mainers benefit newer and far more productive stoves and have purchased them at a relatively substantial fee in excess of the previous twenty years.&nbsp In these kinds of a cold local weather, even if regulations ended up to result in a five to 10% cost improve per stove, shoppers are sensible enough to know that much more effective appliances are worth it.
The Governor and companies like Jotul that are aggressively preventing these proposed laws are utilizing scare methods and flimsy self-serving arguments that could be pro-enterprise, but are undoubtedly not professional-consumer, much much less professional-surroundings.&nbsp We are a non-earnings customer group that supports wood heating and we feel that a lot more and much more people must be ready to use this inexpensive and renewable vitality and decrease fossil fuel use.&nbsp These proposed restrictions will carry significant rewards for consumers:
one.&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Any increase in purchase value that occurs more than the subsequent five many years is likely to be a lot more than offset by gasoline personal savings from the greater efficiency appliances that shoppers will have accessibility to.
two.&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp These rules will ultimately require producers to disclose actual, confirmed efficiencies to the public so that buyers can better estimate what their energy cost savings will be.&nbsp (At present, most producers exaggerate their efficiencies or do not disclose them at all.)
three.&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Stricter emission specifications are necessary to help get wooden and pellet appliances into renewable energy incentive applications that will assist customers find the money for high performance products.
4.&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp The regulations will carry the American indoor and out of doors wooden and pellet boiler business into the 21stcentury and give customers many much more options of cleaner, increased efficiency domestic appliances.
Governor LePage has never ever been a friend of the renewable energy motion, and he’s not the advocate that this market needs to assist condition affordable, commonsense laws for wood and pellet appliances.&nbsp Moderate Republicans and Democrats will assistance commonsense restrictions, just like the stove tax credit and other national and condition wood stove applications.
We would urge Governor LePage and Jotul to start off investing in the R&ampD that will help make American wooden and pellet stoves the greatest in the planet.&nbsp Some of the cleanest and most efficient stoves are already produced here, and exports of US stoves are increasing. &nbspIn Europe and The us, innovation is rising that might begin to transform the stove market.&nbsp Shortly, we are probably to have stoves that recharge cell phones in a electrical power outage and that have automatic attributes to improve performance and decrease emissions with out the operator possessing to guess in which to established the air consumption. Pellet stoves and boilers will before long be linked to our smart phones and sensible thermostats – and be far smarter on their own.

A lot of in industry are battling for the position quo fairly than creating on a strong engineering tradition and great old Yankee ingenuity to construct cleaner, more successful and simpler to function stoves.&nbsp Wooden stoves have had the status of being way too dirty for also lengthy.&nbsp These new laws from the EPA are our greatest shot at acquiring away from that track record and becoming a member of the mainstream of the renewable energy potential.

Heated Up!

Wood Stove Decathlon puts concentrate on policy towards wooden and pellet heating

Posted by Earth Stove on November 11, 2013 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , ,

MEDIA ADVISORY for November 15-19, 2013 Get in touch with:&nbsp Patricia Brooks, patricia.brooks@matchmapmedia.com, (202) 351-1757 Subsequent Technology Wood Stove Competitors Coming to National Shopping mall Opposition places focus on plan toward America’s most common renewable energy Washington D.C. – An intercontinental competitors getting held on the Nationwide Mall from November 15 – 19 to make […]