Opinions of top wood stove industry insiders revealed in 1998 interviews

The late Paul Tiegs, one of the
greatest authorities on wood
stoves, conducted the
interviews for the EPA. 
Long before the regulatory debate about wood stoves heated up in the 2010s, the EPA commissioned a series of fascinating interviews with the top wood stove experts in the country on a host of technical and policy issues.  These interviews give a glimpse of the opinions and philosophies of industry and academic leaders at a time when they apparently felt free to go on the record about what became controversial topics. 
The content of these interviews remains very relevant today for anyone interested in a behind-the-scenes look at many of the underlying issues in the 2015 EPA stove and boiler regulations.  The interviewers – Jim Houck and Paul Teigs (who are top experts themselves) – asked questions ranging from whether masonry, pellet, boiler and furnace appliances should be regulated, to the vulnerabilities of catalytic stoves, to how lab testing can better reflect real world use of stoves. 
These interviews remain a valuable resource because each of the nine experts was asked the exact same questions.  Thus, if you are interested in masonry heaters, or catalytic or pellet stoves, or how labs coax the best numbers from stoves, it is relatively easy to scroll down and see how each person answered the question.  Of the nine interviewees, four are from industry (John Crouch, Bob Ferguson, Dan Henry and Michael Van Buren), two from test labs (Rick Curkeet and Ben Myren), two from academia (Skip Hayden and Dennis Jaasma) and one from EPA (Robert C. McCrillis). Their full titles and affiliations are at the end of this blog along with the full list of questions asked.  The full set of questions and answers are in Appendix B on page 58 and can be downloaded here (pdf).
In general, Bob Ferguson and Dan Henry tended to oppose further regulation, and felt, for example, that pellet stoves and wood-fired central heating appliances did not need to be regulated.  Ben Myren tended to favor a blanket approach of closing loopholes and regulating all appliances.  This difference in views between two industry experts and one test lab expert can be viewed through their respective economic interests and how it would affect their livelihoods.  But these interviews also show deeper philosophical differences and illuminate the reasons for their positions, whether they concern the health impacts of wood smoke, profitability, practicality of test method changes, etc.
We have chosen to reproduce the answers to two questions and invite readers to refer to the full set of interviews to find issues that they may be more interested in, such as the impact of wood species on emissions, stress testing to see how durable stoves are, and options to promote or require education or maintenance of stoves by consumers. 
When the Alliance for Green Heat began ten years after these interviews in 2009, much of the content had already been seemingly lost or obscured.  Very few people, for example, knew of the origin or impact of the 35:1 air-to-fuel ratio loophole that allowed pellet stove manufacturers to make low efficiency stoves in order to avoid regulation.  Right up until 2014, state and federal government agencies, along with top industry outlets, continued to propagate myths about pellet stoves.  Even the EPA never advised consumers that uncertified pellet stoves were likely to have lower efficiencies due to the 35:1 loophole they created.  These interviews provide the best information anywhere on how this came to be and what impact it had on the pellet stove industry and consumers.
We chose the question about whether central heaters should be regulated because this turned into one of the biggest issues in the 2015 regulations.  Only one interviewee – John Crouch – saw a causal relationship between the rise of outdoor wood boilers and the 1988 emissions regulations. 

Question: The 35:1 air-to-fuel ratio cut-off for certification has produced two classes of pellet stoves — those that are certified and those that are not. The latter class may have models that are less efficient and have higher emissions than the former. Should the regulations be amended to close the loop-hole and discourage the practice of intentionally designing models with a higher air-to-fuel ratio to avoid certification?


John Crouch, HPBA’s
foremost wood stove expert.

John Crouch, HPBA: I wouldn’t use the term “close the loop-hole”. I would say, “is the proper place to cut off the definition of a wood heater?” We all know the whole discussion during the Reg-Neg ignored this emerging category of pellet stoves. So this gets back into my other broader comment, which is, instead of going back in and changing the NSPS in a piecemeal fashion, there needs to be a true revision of the whole thing that deals with the category of pellets and masonry heaters and outdoor furnaces.

Rick Curkeet, Intertek: Yes. The way to amend the regulation is to simply remove the 35:1 air/fuel ratio exemption. This has never been required by fireplaces (they meet the 5 kg/hr minimum burn rate exemption criterion anyway). Pellet units are readily able to meet emissions requirements and the exemption only encourages making these units less efficient to avoid the regulation.

Bob Ferguson, Consultant: The 35:1 cutoff was intended for fireplaces. However, pellet stoves are the only product that even take advantage of the air-fuel exemptions. Fireplaces generally use the burn rate exemption. Pellet stoves probably don’t need to be regulated at all. They are all quite clean burning. Let the marketplace decide if exempt stoves are acceptable. If pellet stove users demand products that use fewer pellets (more efficient), the manufacturers will respond. 

Skip Hayden, Researcher: Yes. In Canada, we recommend that people buy only EPA-approved pellet stoves. We have developed a high ash pellet stove that’s operating around 85% and its emissions are about 0.3 g/hr or less. 


Dan Henry, a founder of Quadrafire
stoves is one of industry’s most
articulate spokesmen.

Dan Henry, Aladdin: There is no data that indicates that even a poorly operating stove is a dirty burning appliance. They are inherently clean, becoming more and more reliable, and don’t fix them if they aren’t broken.

Dennis Jaasma, University of VA: Pellet stoves are inherently clean burning unless there is something very bad about their design. I am not concerned about regulating the currently uncertified units unless their field emissions are bad compared to certified stoves.

Robert C. McCrillis, EPA: Yes, all pellet stoves should be affected facilities and not subjected to that 35:1.

Ben Myren one of Amreica’s most
thoughtful and experienced stove tester.


Ben Myren, Myren Labs:  I agree, no more loop-holes. The new technology stoves that are coming on the market are going to be totally new critters. I don’t think that turning down the air- to-fuel ratio, to make it whatever it is, should get you out of the loop. Some of those suckers have got to be just filthy. I mean you look at the flame. I’ve seen them burn at the trade show; you know, the glass is sooting up on the edges. You can just see it.

Michael van Buren was a technical
expert with The Hearth Products
Association, now HPBA

Michael Van Buren, HPBA: I don’t know what that loop-hole does, whether it really affects the operation of the stove and the efficiency of the stove.

Question: According to a Department of Energy survey out of the 20.4 million households that used a wood burning appliance in 1993, less than 0.3 million used a wood burning furnace as their primary source of heat. Are there enough wood-fired central heating furnaces in use to merit their closer evaluation? How many commercially available models are there? Are there emissions data for them? Should they be certified?

John Crouch: The [1988] EPA New Source Performance Standards killed the indoor furnace industry and created this little loop-hole which the outdoor furnace industry is beginning to exploit and kind of underscores the need for a more comprehensive wood burning regulation which sets out over a several year period to codify all forms of wood burning technology.

Rick Curkeet tested stoves for Intertek
labs and is one of industry’s top experts.


Rick Curkeet: I don’t know how many new units are being produced but I’m sure it’s a very small number. Still, one really poor unit can be a significant problem if it’s in your neighborhood. There have never been any standards for testing this type of product for emissions and efficiency. However, we have adapted existing methods and can say that the performance range is very wide. Poor designs may be 30% or less efficient and produce nearly 100 grams/hr emissions rates. Good designs are able to approach certified wood stove performance levels.

Bob Ferguson: I don’t feel there are enough units being sold to merit any activity what-so-ever. There are only a handful of manufacturers. I don’t think there has been anything published–so if testing has been conducted, it is probably a good assumption that the numbers aren’t that good. They shouldn’t be certified, as you would have to develop test methods and standards. The country would be better off using the money to pay manufacturers to phase out of production, sort of like the agricultural method of paying farmers not to grow certain crops.

The late Skip Hayden, one of the main
wood stove authorities during the 1980s
and 1990s.


Skip Hayden: The number of central wood furnaces in Canada, certainly in comparison to the United States, would be higher. In our Eastern provinces, it’s a relatively common add-on to existing oil furnaces. Generally, they are as dirty as can be.

Dan Henry: I think a lot of these are used in rural areas and considering the fuels that are out there, I don’t think they should be regulated. Maybe just a spot check of some sort. I think the only thing that would benefit would be the testing laboratories. If it emits particulate into an air shed where it can have an adverse effect on the industry (my ability to make a living), then yes.

Dennis Jaasma
also ran a research
test lab at the
 University of VA.


Dennis Jaasma: Yes, central heaters merit further evaluation. I don’t know how many models are available. I think EPA has done some work on them, but I do not know any results. Yes, they should be certified. They are in danger of becoming extinct if they don’t wind up with a certification program.

Robert C. McCrillis: In some localities I think these furnaces are a problem; I don’t know how many are commercially available. I think I can name off six or eight companies and each one makes several models, but I don’t know what the total market is, maybe 10,000 – 15,000 a year. The little bit of testing that we did here, says that they are probably on a par with a conventional wood stove. The way those things work, they have a thermostatically operated draft and when the thermostat shuts off the draft closes, so you get this real smoldering burning situation. Secondary combustion technology probably wouldn’t work. Possibly a catalytic technology would, but I just don’t think it stays hot enough in there. I guess that really depends on the impact.

Ben Myren: I don’t think they should be exempt for any reason. As to the rest of it–are there emissions data for them? I suspect there are. Should they be certified? Yes they should be certified. Nobody should be exempt from the process.

Michael van Buren: I think there should be some type of testing on them.


List of Experts Interviewed
Mr. John Crouch, Director of Local Government Relations, Hearth Products Association (CA) [now HPBA]
Mr. Rick Curkeet, P.E., Manager, Intertek Testing Services (IL)
Mr. Bob Ferguson, President, Ferguson, Andors and Company (VT)
Dr. Skip Hayden, Director, Combustion and Carbonization Research Laboratory (Ontario, Canada)
Mr. Daniel Henry, Vice President, Aladdin Steel Products, Inc. (WA) [now Quadrafire]
Dr. Dennis Jaasma, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VA)
Mr. Robert C. McCrillis, P.E., Mechanical Engineer, Air Pollution Prevention and Control, Division, U.S. EPA (VA)
Mr. Ben Myren, President, Myren Consulting (WA)
Mr. Michael Van Buren, Technical Director, Hearth Products Association (VA) [now HPBA]
Interview Questions
RWC Technology Review
Environmental Protection Agency Order no. 7C-R285-NASX
prepared by
OMNI Environmental Services, Inc.
Beaverton Oregon 97005
1. State-of-the-art of wood stove combustion and emission control technologies.
  1. 1.1  Are in-home emission reductions as compared to conventional stoves shown in Table 1 for catalytic and non-catalytic certified stoves reasonable?
  2. 1.2  Are efficiencies shown in Table 2 for catalytic and non-catalytic certified stoves reasonable?
  3. 1.3  Can catalytic technology for use in wood stoves be fundamentally improved?
  4. 1.4  Is the use of manufactured fuel (densified and wax logs) a credible emission
reduction strategy? See Tables 1 & 2 .
  1. 1.5  For non-catalytic stoves the heat retention adjustment with refractory material of various densities can reduce particulate emissions. How big an effect can this have?
  2. 1.6  Approximately one half of the particulate emissions occur during the kindling phase for non-catalytic wood stoves and more than half for catalytic wood stoves. Are there improvements in technology that can mitigate this problem? Can specially designed high BTU wax logs be used to achieve a fast start and reduce kindling phase emissions?
  3. 1.7  Should masonry heaters with tight fitting doors and draft control be classified as a wood stove and be subject to some type of certification even though most weigh more than 800 kg?
  4. 1.8  Are the emissions and efficiencies for masonry heaters, based on in-home tests, shown in Tables 1 and 2 reasonable?
  1. 1.9  The OMNI staff feels the emissions per unit of heat delivered (e.g., lb/MBTU or g/MJ) is a more appropriate way to rank the performance of wood burning appliances than emission factors (lb/ton or g/kg) or emission rates (g/hr). — Comments?
  2. 1.10  Default efficiency values are used for wood stoves. This coupled with the fact that emission factors or rates (not g/MJ) are used to rank wood stoves does not provide an incentive for manufacturers to increase the efficiency of their stoves. — Comments? Should an efficiency test method as described (FR v. 55, n 161, p. 33925, Aug. 20,1990) be required to be used and the results listed?
  3. 1.11  Have certified stove design and performance improved since the first certified stoves? If so, how?
  1. State-of-the-art of fireplace emission control technology.
    1. 2.1  Are the emission factors and efficiencies for the in-home use of fireplaces and inserts shown in Tables 3 and 4 reasonable?
    2. 2.2  There appear to be only a few practical design or technology options for fireplaces that will potentially mitigate particulate emissions. — What designs and technologies are available? What retrofit options are there?
    3. 2.3  The use of wax fire logs reduces emissions over the use of cordwood. Can the formulation of wax logs be changed to produce even less emissions?
    4. 2.4  What are the distinctions between a masonry fireplace and a masonry heater?
    5. 2.5  As with wood stoves, the OMNI staff believe that the mass of emissions per unit of heat delivered is a better way to rank the performance of fireplaces than emission factors or emission rates.
  2. State-of-the-art of wood-fired central heating furnace emission control technology.
3.1 According to a Department of Energy survey out of the 20.4 million households that used a wood burning appliance in 1993, less than 0.3 million used a wood burning furnace as their primary source of heat. Are there enough wood-fired central heating furnaces in use to merit their closer evaluation? How many commercially available models are there? Are there emissions data for them? Should they be certified?

4. State-of-the-art of pellet-fired wood stove technology.
  1. 4.1  Are the emissions and efficiencies for the in-home use of pellet stoves shown in Tables 1 and 2 reasonable?
  2. 4.2  The 35:1 air-to-fuel ratio cut-off for certification has produced two classes of pellet stoves — those that are certified and those that are not. The latter class may have models that are less efficient and have higher emissions than the former. Should the regulations be amended to close the loop-hole and discourage the practice of intentionally designing models with a higher air-to-fuel ratio to avoid certification?
  3. 4.3  Have pellet stove design and performance improved since the first models were introduced? If so, how?
1. Ramifications of ISO.
5.1 The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has a technical committee for developing emissions, efficiency and safety test standards for wood-fired residential heaters and fireplaces. (See Table 5 for comparison of the draft ISO method 13336 with EPA methods 28, 5G and 5H.) Do you feel that the EPA methods should be replaced with or be made comparable to an international standard?
  1. Correspondence between in-home and laboratory emission test results.
    1. 6.1  How accurately do certification tests predict in-home performance?
    2. 6.2  How would you design research testing in the laboratory to simulate in-home use?
  2. EPA Method 28 strengths and weaknesses.
    1. 7.1  Method 28 is in part an “art”. Fuel loading density, fuel moisture, fuel characteristics (old vs new growth, grain spacing, wood density) and coal bed conditioning can be adjusted within the specification range of the method to influence results. In your experience what things have the most effect on particulate emissions? How much influence can they have?
    2. 7.2  Burn rate weighting is based on very limited data and the cities from where the data were obtained are not very representative of wood use nationwide (see Table 6). How can the weighting scheme be improved to be more representative of the nation as a whole?
    3. 7.3  The equation for the calculation of the air-to-fuel ratio as in Method 28A is in error. The error produces a small but significant difference in the calculated air-to-fuel ratio. Should the method be corrected or should it be left as a “predictor” of the air-to-fuel ratio?
7.4 The assumed mole fraction of hydrocarbons (YHC) is defined as a constant in the air-to-fuel ratio calculations in Method 28A. The mole fraction of hydrocarbons in the vapor phase will vary significantly with fuel and combustion conditions. Should hydrocarbon vapors (more appropriately, organic compound vapors) be measured as part of the method?
4. EPA Methods 5G and 5H correlations.

8.1 The comparison data to demonstrate the correlation between 5G and 5H are limited. Should the correlation between the two methods be reevaluated?
  1. Performance deterioration of EPA-certified wood stoves in the field.
    1. 9.1  It is the opinion of many in the wood stove industry that catalysts last only five years and that a stove designed for a catalyst operated without a functioning catalyst can produce as much emissions as a conventional stove. — Comments?
    2. 9.2  Field studies in Glens Falls, NY, Medford, OR, Klamath Falls, OR and Crested Butte, CO showed that emissions from some catalytic stoves became appreciably worse even after two to three years of use. Inspection of stoves in Glens Falls showed that catalyst deterioration and leaky bypass systems were responsible. Have improvements been made in the design of catalytic stoves to minimize these problems? Is it reasonable to require homeowner training on the proper use of catalytic stoves and/or to incorporate into their costs an inspection and catalyst replacement program?
  2. Stress test pros and cons.
    1. 10.1  A short-term laboratory woodstove durability testing protocol was developed to predict the long-term durability of stoves under conditions characteristic of in- home use (see EPA-600/R-94-193). It was concluded in that study that damage occurs during those occasional times when a woodstove is operated in the home at exceptionally high temperatures. The laboratory stress test was designed to operate a woodstove at very high temperatures over a one to two week period to predict long-term durability under in-home use. Is this a reasonable approach?
    2. 10.2  Should a stress test be made part of the certification process?
  3. Feasibility of developing separate emission factors for dry and wet wood and for
softwood and hardwood species classes.
  1. 11.1  Optimum wood moisture for low particulate emissions seems to be in the 18% to 20% range. Are you aware of any data that will allow the impact of wood moisture to be isolated from other variables? Could it be different for wood from different tree species?
  2. 11.2  Wood from different tree species clearly burns differently. The chemical make-up and density of wood from different tree species is different. For example wood from coniferous trees has more resin than wood from deciduous trees. It is believed that particulate emission factors will be different for wood from different tree species. If this is true different parts of the country may have different emissions factors for residential wood combustion. Are you aware of any data that document different emission factors for wood from different tree species?
8. Routine maintenance.
12.1 Would routine maintenance of stoves once they were in a home reduce particulate emissions? Would this be more relevant for catalytic stoves than non-catalytic stoves? Would this be relevant for pellet stoves with electronic and moving parts?
  1. 12.2  Should the home owner be provided with a maintenance manual or a training course at the time of purchase? Should a maintenance program be part of the purchase price particularly for catalytic stoves?
  2. 12.3  What would the key elements of routine maintenance be?

– end –

Heated Up!

Could a Thermoelectric Wood Stove Pay for Itself?

By Ken Adler, AGH Senior Technical Advisor

Payback calculations are common in the residential solar photovoltaic industry where homeowners want to know how long it will take for them to recoup their initial investment. If you purchase panels outright, payback periods depend on a variety of factors including a utility’s price for electricity, tax incentives, and amount of daily sunlight hours. A range of 5 to 8 years is possible however, it can be as wide as 3 to 15 years.[1]

Answering the payback question for thermoelectric wood stoves is one of the objectives for the 2018 Wood Stove Design Challenge. In the meantime, there are several ways to begin answering this question with information already available. It is also useful to look at how use of a thermoelectric wood stove in combination with another energy-saving system, i.e., solar, could prove beneficial to the homeowner and thus both industries as well. For example, in northern states and Canada, a thermoelectric wood stove could reduce the number of residential panels needed and thereby save the homeowner thousands of dollars in panel costs.

Early Thoughts on Payback

The retail price of a thermoelectric module is around $ 57.50 for a 22-watt module, or $ 2.61 per watt.[2] One critical point to make here is that the power output of our 22-watt module assumes an optimal hot-side temperature of 300 C (572 F) and cool-side temperature of 30 C (86 F). This ideal temperature differential is very difficult to achieve in real world conditions, so the real-world cost per watt for thermoelectric modules will be higher. However, cost should decrease and efficiency improve with widespread adoption of thermoelectric modules, similar to what happened in the solar industry. For example, DOE estimated that the installed cost of a solar panel declined from $ 7.06 per watt in 2009 to $ 2.93 in 2016, a reduction of 60 percent.[3] If we go back to 1977, the cost of a solar panel was $ 77 per watt. It is not unreasonable to expect a decline for the cost of thermoelectric modules as economies of scale reduce production costs.

Of course, when a thermoelectric module is placed into a wood stove there are other associated costs. The primary cost by far is the heat exchange system. As I’ve discussed in a previous post, to generate at least 100 watts of power, it’s likely that a water-cooled heat exchange will be needed. The current retail price for a 100-watt water cooled thermoelectric generator, which includes eight thermoelectric modules, is $ 599, or $ 5.99 per watt. One question the competition will attempt to answer is how much this heat exchange will cost when it is integrated into the design of the wood stove.

Secondary cost considerations include the price of the wood stove, its installation, and fuel costs. The price for a larger size 50,000 BTU wood stove can range from $ 900 to over $ 4000, and the average consumer spends about $ 2,500. Since a thermoelectric wood stove would be providing both heat and electricity, it is difficult to separate out how much of the cost of the stove is for each function. The more crucial point for now is that many larger size stoves, which can generate up to 50,000 BTUs and meet the 2020 EPA NSPS standard, are available for as little as $ 1,300. While this does not include the cost of installation, it does suggest that the wood stove portion of the costs should not be a major obstacle.

The cost of installing a thermoelectric wood stove into a home should not necessarily be that much greater than the cost of installing a traditional wood stove. One additional cost will be attaching the power outputs from the thermoelectric wood stove to an inverter. However, if we assume that early adopters will already have or are planning to get a solar PV system (more on this below) the cost of the inverter would not be a major obstacle.

Finally, one can assume that the fuel cost for a thermoelectric wood stove is essentially zero because the wood stove is already being used to heat the home. A thermoelectric module will convert only 3 to 6 percent of the heat from a woodstove into electricity, while the remaining 94 to 97 percent passes through the module and is released as heat into the home. In other words, the module is only using a very small percentage of the heat generated by the stove to produce electricity.

Value in Combining Technologies

While more in-depth analysis is needed, it’s possible that a thermoelectric wood stove could help reduce the size and cost of solar PV systems in northern climates that have limited sunlight/solar radiation in winter. For example, a typical 5000 watt solar PV system in Vermont produces 6,280 kWh of electricity per year, while the same system produces 7,913 kWh in Los Angeles.[4] Most of this difference is due to the low winter time output in Vermont between October and February: For example, the Vermont system produces 239 kWh in December, as compared to the Los Angeles system’s 473 kWh. If the Vermont resident wanted to generate the same amount of power as in Los Angeles, they would need to increase the size of their solar PV system from 5000 watts to approximately 6300 watts. At the current cost of approximately $ 3.36[5] per watt installed for residential solar, this could cost the Vermont resident an additional $ 4,368 for additional solar panels.

Alternatively, instead of purchasing extra solar panels, the Vermont resident could invest in a thermoelectric wood stove to boost their winter time power output. As we mentioned in our previous blog, a wood stove with a 150 to 200-watt thermoelectric generator operating 16 – 20 hours per day could generate 93 to 124kWh of electricity per month, which would be a good boost to the Vermont output of 239 kWh in December. And, at 0.16 $ /kWh for electricity in Vermont, the thermoelectric wood stove could save the homeowner an additional $ 15 to $ 20 per month.

While a real payback calculation for a thermoelectric wood stove will need to wait until prototypes go through more testing and we get results from the 2018 Wood Stove Design Challenge, the available information suggests thermoelectric wood stoves could help reduce the cost of residential solar installations, and potentially save homeowners thousands of dollars.

[1] http://solar-power-now.com/the-typical-solar-panel-payback-period/
[2] See our Resources page for a list of thermoelectric retailers.
[3] NREL. U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System Cost Benchmark. September 2016. In 1977, solar panels cost $ 77 per watt.
[4] NREL PVWatts Calculator
[5] EnergySage. Solar Marketplace Intel Report. April 2017.


Heated Up!

The Alliance for Green Heat pursues retailers advertising uncertified wood furnaces

Six of the nine retailers AGH contacted stopped advertising uncertified furnaces within two weeks

Indoor furnaces are usually in the
basement, but can be in a garage.  Either
option often leads to better fuel storage
practices than outdoor boilers and
greatly reduces jacket losses.

On May 15, 2017, EPA regulations took effect that required all wood furnaces to include smoke the law changed on May 15.
reduction technologies and be certified by third party test labs. Some furnace manufacturers started educating their retailers early and stopped shipping uncertified furnaces during the winter. Others continued to ship units, and many retailers continued to advertise and sell uncertified furnaces after

Indoor wood and coal furnaces—also called warm, hot air, or forced air furnaces—were very popular in the US through the early to mid-1900s, then gradually their lost market share as fossil liquid fuel furnaces gained traction in the late 1900s. Then, outdoor wood boilers gained favor, becoming a far worse threat to local air quality than indoor furnaces and boilers had been for decades.

The Alliance began contacting retailers advertising uncertified furnaces to find out whether they knew about the change in regulations and how responsive they would be to information about the change. “We believe that all manufacturers and retailers should play by the same rules, so that the ones who do follow the rules don’t get undercut by ones who do not,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat. “And, we found that many if not most retailers will stop advertising products that are not legal to sell if they are politely and professionally approached by an organization that is knowledgeable about the rules,” Ackerly said.

AGH Project Manager Melissa Bollman contacted nine retailers advertising uncertified furnaces. Of those, six stopped advertising those boilers within 2 weeks. Some of the furnaces were removed from the website entirely or are listed as unavailable, while other models that were previously advertised as capable of burning wood or coal have been rebranded as “coal only” to comply with EPA regulations.  Currently, if a stove or boiler is advertised as being able to burn wood, it must be tested and certified to burn wood.  (The EPA does not regulate coal heaters and some manufacturers have just added a grate and continue to sell the same unit as “coal only”.)

AGH efforts were not always effective, and a few retailers still appear to be advertising uncertified wood furnaces (see screenshots below). These include Sears’ online marketplace (orders fulfilled by the third party 123Stoves, Inc.), Homeclick, and HVAC direct. All screenshots were taken on June 22, 2017.

Houzz.com, Wayfair, and HVAC direct continue to sell uncertified wood furnaces or ones that are labeled wood/coal. The units they are selling are all made by US Stove Company, whose business model leaves it vulnerable to illegal sales of its units by multiple retailers.

AGH regularly monitors advertising by manufacturers and retailers in order to better educate consumers about misleading claims. We also publicize the names of manufacturers who provide better information and do not mislead consumers.

This continued advertising and sale of products that are no longer compliant highlights the danger that stranded inventory can pose for retailers when deadlines pass. If the 2020 emission rules are not delayed or changed, some wood stove retailers may get stuck with inventory that they are no longer allowed to sell, but are under pressure to unload to recoup their investment.

Without regulation, wood furnaces often sold for $ 1,000 – $ 2,000, less than many certified wood stoves. Even after the 2017 rules took effect, certified wood furnaces remain affordable with most selling for $ 2,100 to $ 3,200. Ten models are now certified, ranging from a more expensive European-designed pellet furnace at 89% efficiency to a very basic US Stove model 1330E that is 33% efficient.

However, the future of this class of wood heaters is far from secure, as EPA rules require wood furnaces to emit no more than 0.15 lbs/mmBtu as of 2020. Other than the European-designed pellet furnace, the other certified furnaces are not at all close to meeting that standard. Wood furnaces saw extremely little technological development until they were required to be certified between 2005 and 2017, and the sector is far behind the levels of controls that have been built into stoves and boilers.

Screenshots:


 https://hvacdirect.com/us-stove-1500-wood-coal-furnace.html 
 http://www.homeclick.com/vogelzang-vg1500-norseman-1500-sq-ft-wood-burning-add-on-furnace/p-878127.aspx

Heated Up!

Thermoelectric Wood Stove, Solar Power, and a Floating Cabin!


Guest blog post, by Margy Lutz

Finally this winter, our thermoelectric wood stove generator is fully operational. Following our test runs, we placed the pump to recycle cold water down in the lake water under the cabin. In winter, it gets about 5 degrees C (41 F). That’s plenty cold for a good differential between the 300 degrees C on the hot side.
Most system owners don’t live in a float cabin four feet with a constant cold water source under the floor. The typical user has to use a recycled liquid (usually including a water/antifreeze mixture) that runs through a radiator for cooling.
In addition, a charge regulator/controller is used to protect the batteries and prevent overcharging. The model that came with our system has lights to let you know the status of the charging process.

Wayne likes to know more about the charge we are getting. He installed an ammeter and a volt meter. The switch in the middle controls the water pump down below the cabin. To maximize the charge to our cabin battery bank, we’ve installed a separate solar panel and two six volt batteries wired in a series to run the pump.

Living off the grid has its challenges, but having an alternative power sources has made our winters much brighter (pun intended). Do you generate power? What are some of the solutions that have worked for you? — Margy

Postscript by Ken Adler, AGH Technical Advisor: 

Congratulations to Wayne and Margy on their thermoelectric wood stove. In a follow-up communication with Wayne, he reported that they are no longer using the system because the thermoelectric modules failed. Wayne doesn’t know why they failed, however, the most common reason for failure is overheating.  The modules can also fail if Bellville washers are not used to allow the module to expand and contract during heating and cooling. Wayne also reports,

Even when I was partially (marginally) operational, I produced less than 2 amps at 12V DC (23 watts) to recharge my cabin battery bank. This would have been enough to put a top-off charge on my cabin batteries (normally recharged via my solar system), particularly valuable in the winter when solar power is minimal and my wood stove is operating nearly 24-7. The primary reason for the low amperage was the need for a 1,8 amp 12V (21.6 watts) water pump to feed the cold side of the modules. In many ways, I reside in the perfect test location for this thermoelectric system, since 

I have a nearly infinite supply of very cold water 4 feet below my wood stove. I live in a floating cabin on Powell Lake BC, and the lake is extremely deep and very cold in all seasons. What an opportunity to serve as a source of cold water through the cooling system! The pump only needed to pump the cold water up 4 feet and then outflow back into the lake. Even with this tremendous advantage, I couldn’t get everything fully operational.

Does this make me a non-believer in thermoelectric from a wood stove? Absolutely not — I still believe this is an important future source of electrical power in my cabin, since even a top-off voltage during the solar-depraved Canadian winter would be worth the price. I’d be one of the first in line if a recreational property thermoelectric system was available, and I’d be quick to try again. Thus, I wish you all of the best with your preparation for the 2018 conference. I’ll be following the results closely.

In an earlier post, Wayne reports that he is using three 25 watt thermoelectric generators for a total rated power of 75 watts of output, however, he’s only getting 23 watts of power for his battery. Part of this is due to his pump, which is drawing almost 22 watts of power. If you are interested in building your own thermoelectric wood stove, there are a few improvements that you may want to consider. First, TEG suppliers (see our resourcespage) now sell more efficient lower wattage pumps. Second, consider starting with a thermoelectric generator rated for 100 to 200-watts. While this is more expensive, if you go with a smaller system much of your power will be consumed by the pumps and/or fans you need to cool the modules. Third, Bellville washers are critical for allowing the modules to expand and contract.

If you are interested in designing a thermoelectric wood stove for our 2018 Wood Stove Design Challenge, please visit our web sitefor more information. For more information on Wayne and Margy’s life on a floating cabin, please visit their blog at Powell River Books Blog.

For an overview of the potential of thermoelectric wood stoves, click here.

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All wood and pellet furnaces must be certified by May 15, 2017

One of the loopholes in the new EPA regulations about to close
The cleanest and most efficient
forced air furnace is the Maine
Energy System Auto Pellet Air.
It delivers 89% efficiency.
One of the big loopholes in the new EPA wood and pellet heater regulations is closing this month.  Small forced air furnaces were required to meet new emission regulations in May 2016, but many very small furnaces declared themselves to be large furnaces, giving them until May 2017 to meet the new standards.  As of May 16, 2016, all forced air furnaces, large and small, must emit no more than 0.93 lbs per mmBTU of heat output regardless of whether they are wood or pellet units.
Currently, there are six forced air furnaces that are certified, four of which use wood and two of which use pellets.  The average emissions rate ranges between 0.06 to 0.84 lbs, with the average at 0.411 lbs, less than half the current standard.  However, as of 2020, this class of heaters must meet a far stricter standard of 0.15 lbs/mmBTU.  (This is the subject of litigation by the HPBA.)  Only one of the current six models, the Maine Energy System Auto Pellet Air,  emits less than 0.15 lbs, but it has to be retested using a different test method to comply with the 2020 standards.
Of the six currently on the market, there is a huge efficiency range, from 48% to 89%.  Both ends of the spectrum are listed as pellet heaters.  At the top end is the Maine Energy System’s Auto Pellet Air, which was developed by OkoFEN, a leading pellet boiler company in Austria.  At the bottom end is US Stove’s 8500 multi-fuel furnace.  (US Stove also has a certified cordwood furnace that has lower emissions and higher efficiency than this pellet model.)  The average efficiency of the six
The US Stove 8500 pellet
furnace is the least efficient
certified furnace at 48%, but sells
for less then $ 3,000.

furnaces is 66%.

At the end of May 2017, it will be clear how which forced air furnaces did not get certified.  There are many more coal furnaces on the market today, compared with 3 or 4 years ago, as some companies have added grates and other slight modifications to outdoor wood boilers and furnaces in order to keep them on the market as coal units.  Coal heaters are still not covered by EPA emission regulations, so renaming a wood boiler or furnace a coal boiler or furnace is still a loophole used by some companies.

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Massachusetts first in recognizing efficiency and automation in wood stove program

Massachusetts has developed the first wood stove change out program in the country that recognizes the value of automated stoves and stoves that disclose their verified efficiency to consumers.  The 2017 program offers Massachusetts residents between $ 500 and $ 3,000 for upgrades, depending on the stove and income level of the family.
The Commonwealth Woodstove Change-Out Program has committed $ 1.8 million in funding for change-outs from 2017 through 2019. The 2017 program represents the sixth round of funding since the program’s launch in 2012. The program has helped more than 1,400 residents swap out their non-EPA certified, inefficient stoves for newer, cleaner models, and approximately 500 of these rebates went to residents earning less than 80 percent of the state median income.
The program is like scores of others across the country, but Massachusetts is the first to give an additional rebate of $ 500 for pellet stoves and $ 250 for wood stoves that are above 65% efficient (actual tested efficiency reported to the EPA). Most manufacturers do not disclose the actual efficiency of their stoves but provide exaggerated, misleading efficiency values on their websites.
The program is run the by Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER).  It is also the first program that gives an additional rebate for stoves that have automated features and control the airflow with sensors or other devices, providing a cleaner burn for the consumer. 
Most stoves are eligible for a $ 500 – $ 1,250 rebate depending on how clean they are, but four automated stoves qualify for a $ 1,500 rebate, or a $ 2,750 rebate for income-qualified families.  Three of the four automated stoves also qualify for an additional $ 250 that have efficiencies above 65% that are verified by the EPA.
The additional rebate for automated stoves may only come to $ 250 or $ 500, but the recognition of this new class of stoves is a significant step for the stove industry.  These stoves are more known in Europe, but in the US, the terminology, rationale and classification of automated stoves is still in its infancy. 
The Mass program may be a sign of how change-out programs can adapt to changing wood stove technology.  Automated stoves help achieve one of the biggest challenges stoves face: how to get stoves to perform as well in the home as they did in the lab.  The Mass program explains, “The low emission and high efficiency lab test ratings are more likely to be realized in households because user error is minimized.” 
One of the next huge steps for wood stoves is to have them designed and tested with cord wood instead of 2x4s and 4x4s, the fuel they are designed for and tested with today.  In the next 2 or 3 years, change-out programs are likely to also start awarding additional rebates for stoves made by manufacturers willing to start designing and testing with cord wood, something that the new EPA stove regulations are making possible.
Stove eligibility
The EPA requires all stoves to emit 4.5 grams of particulate matter per hour or less, but the Mass program only allows stoves that emit under 3.5 grams.  The list of stoves eligible in Mass is 24 pages long and explains their rebate eligibility.  The Maine, Maryland, and New York programs also require lower gram per hour limits than the EPA.
The MassCEC does not allow gas stoves to participate in the program because Massachusetts statute prohibits them from providing incentives to fossil fuel use, said Peter McPhee, Renewable Thermal Program Director at the MassCEC.
Non-catalytic stoves: The Mass program is more aggressive than any other change-out program in providing bigger incentives for cleaner wood stoves.  They offer $ 500 for non-cat stoves that emit 3 – 3.5 grams per hour, $ 1,000 for stoves from 2 – to less than 3 grams per hour and $ 1,250 for stoves that emit less than 2 grams per hour.  Of the 309 non-cat stoves on the market today, 166 are eligible for some level of rebate because they emit 3.5 grams per hour or less.
Catalytic stoves: To be eligible, a catalytic stove must emit 2 grams per hour or less.  Of the 67 cat stoves on the market, 27 are under 2 grams and eligible.  Catalytic stoves under 2 grams get a $ 1,000 rebate, $ 250 less than a non-cat stove that is under 2 grams.
Pellet stoves: Like catalytic stoves, pellet stoves must emit 2 grams per hour or less, and are eligible for $ 1,250 (plus an additional $ 500 for an efficiency bonus, if they have a verified efficiency.)  Of the 115 pellet stoves on the market, 81 are eligible as they emit 2 grams an hour or less.  Providing similar rebates for wood and pellet stoves is increasingly rare as most change-out programs give 50 – 100% higher rebates for pellet stoves, compared to wood stoves.  Nationally, the median rebate for a wood stove is $ 600 for wood stoves and $ 1,000 for pellet stoves.
Automated stoves: Four stoves qualify as automated under this program: The Quadra Fire Adventure II and Adventure III, the MF Fire Catalyst and the RSF Delta Fusion.   All of these stoves break new ground in operating cleanly while drastically reducing the margin of human error, which is considerable. More European or American automated models are likely to come onto the market in coming years.

 Efficiency
A number of states are trying to include efficiency in their change-out programs, but Mass is the first to do so.  The underlying problem is that before 2015, stoves were not required to disclose their efficiency.  Today, only a quarter of wood stoves on the market disclose their actual, verified efficiency.  Stoves certified since May 2015 are required to test for and disclose their efficiency.  Some companieshave taken the extra step and voluntarily disclosed their actual efficiencies and do not exaggerate their numbers on promotional materials.
If a program only gave rebates to stoves with verified efficiencies, the consumer would only have 125 out of 500 stoves to choose from.  So, Mass chose not to make efficiency disclosure a requirement, but gives a $ 250 or $ 500 bonus for stoves that meet a minimum efficiency of at least 65%, well under the average stove efficiency which is around 70%.  This will likely drive sales towards manufacturers who disclose their efficiencies and will also educate consumers about the importance of selecting highly efficient wood and pellet stoves.  An additional $ 500 is significant.  More manufacturers may start to disclose their efficiencies to be eligible for higher rebates as other states begin to recognize efficiency as Mass did. 
Of the 38 pellet stoves that disclose actual efficiencies, four are not eligible for the change-out program as they emit more than 2 grams an hour, and 3 are not eligible for the $ 500 efficiency adder as they are less than 65% efficient.  This leaves 31 pellet stoves eligible for the $ 250 adder.
Of the 23 catalytic stoves with verified efficiencies, four are not eligible as they exceed 2 grams per hour and one of those four is under 65% efficient, leaving 19 eligible for the $ 500 adder. 
Of the 66 non-cat stoves with verified efficiencies, 17 exceed 3.5 grams and are not eligible for the program.  Two others are not eligible for the $ 250 adder as they are under 65% efficient.  This leaves 37 stoves eligible for the $ 250 efficiency adder.
Participating retailers
Residents must have the new stove installed by a Participating Stove Professional who follows the guidelines of the program, which includes ensuring the old, uncertified wood stove is destroyed.  There are currently 32 participating stove retailers, four of which are outside of Massachusetts and three of which are chimney sweep businesses.  However, MassCEC says that they expect a total of 40 – 50 in coming weeks. They are likely to be NFI or CSIA accredited, but are not requiredto be.  Residents are encouraged to find installers who are. 
Programs that require residents to work with participating retailers can effectively limit the range of stove models that they can buy.  Retailers like to install stoves that they sell, so they can make profit on both the sale and the install.  But some eligible stoves available at Home Depot can offer real bargains particularly for lower income families.  Some participating retailers or chimney sweeps may install stoves purchased elsewhere by consumers, but some may decline to do so.  Many eligible wood and pellet stoves are made by small companies and a few are made by companies that sell direct to consumers. They may have a harder time participating in this change out-program.
The rebate is provided to the participating retailer, not to the homeowner, which is common in change-out programs.  This enables the consumer to get the discount immediately at time of payment.  Participating retailers must promise not increase the price of stoves or installations for customers using the program.  And MassCEC promises to pay the rebate to the Stove Professional within thirty (30) days.
Income qualified
Another notable feature of the MassCEC program is its generous rebate levels for families that are well above the poverty line, but below the median income of Massachusetts families.  Families are eligible for the higher rebate amounts if they earn 80% of the median income that is $ 87,000 for a family of four and $ 59,000 for a family of two. 
“We wanted to be able to drive benefits towards more people who really need assistance in the up-front capital costs,” said Peter McPhee from MassCEC. 
Incomes are much higher in the Boston urban area than in the rest of the more rural state, so a majority of families will be eligible for the higher rebates in more rural areas where demand for wood and pellet heat is highest.  In the western Mass county of Berkshire, the median family income is about $ 50,000.  Total project costs are estimated to be an average of $ 3,000 to $ 4,300.  Income eligible families receive between $ 1,500 and $ 3,000, or 40% to 100% of project costs. 

MassCEC has held change-out programs for the past five years and pending funding, may hold more in the coming years.  The program has $ 1.8 million in funding for 2017 through 2019.  Program managers are not only aware of changing technology in wood stoves but also the changing policy landscape.  The EPA’s emission standards are under attack from the Republican right-wing in Congress and the main stove industry association is suing the EPA over them.  The MassCEC program manual hints that they will continue with the emission standards developed under the Obama Administration: “Should NSPS requirements be modified in the future, MassCEC will likely retain these future emissions level requirements.”

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Fourth Wood Stove Competition to focus on automation and electricity generation

Today, the Alliance for Green Heat announced the fourth Wood Stove Design Challenge, returning to the National Mall in Washington, DC in November 2018. 
The 2018 event will be free and open to the public and includes rigorous testing of the next generation of technology that can make wood stoves consistently cleaner, more efficient, easier to use and, like solar energy, a renewable source of electricity.
The fourth Wood Stove Design Challenge is modeled after the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Solar Decathlon, a competition between teams from universities worldwide to design more efficient and cheaper residential solar power.  Like the Solar Decathlon, the Wood Stove Challenge also attracts teams from around the world and focuses energy and resources on innovation and improved performance.  The stove competitions have been in partnership with the DOE Brookhaven National Lab, the New York State Energy Research and Development Administration (NYSERDA), the US Forest Service and others, the Osprey Foundation, among others. 
Participants will compete in two events:  One is to automate the wood stove with 21stcentury technology like sensors and WIFI-enabled controls that improve combustion efficiency, reduce air pollution and improve ease of use.   The second competition will focus on thermoelectric wood stoves that generate electricity to power lights, cell phones, and WIFI-enabled controls. Thermoelectric generators are similar to solar PV systems except they turn heat instead of light into electricity.  When integrated with a residential solar PV system, a thermoelectric wood stove and battery power system, like the TESLA Powerwall, could effectively double the wintertime output of solar PV system in areas like northern United States, Canada and northern Europe.
Wood stoves are still used by 30 – 60% of homes in hundreds of rural and suburban counties around the country.  Yet, the technology revolution that has swept household appliances in the last 20 years has by-passed wood stove technology. 

Teams in the 2018 stove challenge will be competing for up to $ 50,000 in prizes.  The teams and exhibitors will also have a chance to showcase new technology on the National Mall just blocks away from the Department of Energy, the US Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency. 
“This is a chance for students, back yard inventors, and wood stove manufacturers to re-invent this age-old technology for today’s environmentally conscious and time-conscious consumer,” said John Ackerly, founder of the Wood Stove Competition and President of the Alliance for Green Heat.  “An affordable, smart wood stove is achievable and could help millions of families reduce their reliance on gas and oil while significantly reducing  pollution,” Ackerly added.
“This is the first Wood Stove Challenge to promote wood stoves that generate electricity to power everything from a cell phone to an entire home.  Thermoelectric wood stoves, when integrated with solar PV systems and home batteries like the TESLA Powerwall, have the potential to make solar energy more affordable, reduce air pollution, and pave the way for a more sustainable energy future, “according to Ken Adler, Senior Technology Advisor at the Alliance for Green Heat and formerly with the U.S. EPA.
Previous Stove Design Challenges brought innovative stoves and a diverse array of stove and energy experts together on the National Mall in 2013, Brookhaven National Lab in 2014 and 2016.
Further details about participating and competing in this competition will be available late March, 2017. For more information about the  2018 competition, contact John Ackerly at jackery@forgreenheat.org. For inquiries specific to the electricity production category, contact Ken Adler at kadler@forgreenheat.org.
#   #   #

The Alliance for Green Heat promotes modern wood and pellet heating systems as a low-carbon, sustainable and affordable energy solution. The Alliance works to advance cleaner and more efficient residential heating technology and hosts international stove design competitions to accelerate innovative stove technology.  Founded in Maryland in 2009, the Alliance is an independent non-profit organization and is tax-exempt under section 501c3 of the tax code.

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States attempt to update outdoor wood boiler laws to conform to new federal policies

The EPA’s new wooden heater regulations has left far more than ten states with outside boiler restrictions that now want updating. Most point out rules refer to Stage 1 and Stage 2 boilers, a voluntary plan that has now been superseded by certified boilers in new EPA rules.&nbsp&nbsp

At the moment, at the very least New Hampshire and Maryland are updating restrictions and the province of British Columbia presently integrated language for the new EPA accredited boilers.

The wording in these laws is frequently difficult and several states have produced accidental results in the earlier, these kinds of as Maryland whose laws only permitted Section two outside boilers to be set up, effectively prohibiting the installation of considerably cleaner and more effective indoor pellet boilers.

Scott Nichols, operator of Tarm biomass in Orford New Hampshire, is functioning with New Hampshire officers to steer clear of unintended benefits.&nbsp 1 concern, for example, is his advice to preserve the exemption for out of doors pellet boilers from residence line set again principles, an exemption in area considering that 2010.&nbsp Most states that regulate outdoor boilers have established set backs, from fifty to a lot more than two hundred feet.&nbsp

The Alliance for Green Heat is urging states to retain or set up property line established backs for out of doors wood boilers, like the new certified kinds, given that they can nevertheless emit abnormal smoke if they are loaded with unsplit, unseasoned wooden.&nbsp “We suggest a least of fifty ft from the property line and a hundred and fifty ft from the nearest neighboring residence for qualified wood boilers and far more for non-certified kinds,” explained John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Environmentally friendly Heat.&nbsp

As of mid-February, 2017, New Hampshire is proposing 50 foot established-backs for certified wire wooden boilers, but Maryland’s draft did not include any established backs.

Yet another concern that retailers of present day indoor qualified wooden and pellet boilers are anxious with is the definition of outside boiler. “The EPA definition is improperly written and is a dragnet that catches each and every boiler in existence given that any boiler can be installed outdoors or in a framework not typically occupied by humans” Scott Nichols said.&nbsp New Hampshire agreed and altered their rules to specify that outdoor boilers are people boilers that are needed to be set up outside, so as not to incorporate indoor boilers that happen to be put in in a garage, for instance. Nichols is urging “all states to adjust their definitions for OWHH as New Hampshire has.”

The EPA’s former voluntary qualification software and current certification program for outside wood boilers (hydronic heaters) has helped to minimize particulate subject when the boilers are operated responsibly.&nbsp In addition to stricter emission standards, most certified boilers now have controls that assist make certain much better combustion through the burn cycle and lessen the impacts of biking.&nbsp

However, a lot of professionals and condition and neighborhood air good quality agencies continue to be involved that EPA-qualified Section two and EPA qualified boilers can make extreme smoke in the hands of many operators.&nbsp One particular key plan reaction has been to set up set backs from house strains and/or nearby residences.&nbsp Most states where outside boilers are well-likedwith the exception of the Excellent Lake states where most outdoor boiler producers are positionedsustain set backs.&nbsp set backs help make certain that outside wood boilers are not installed in densely inhabited regions and even in rural regions, they offer a buffer with the quick neighbors.

Home line established backs: The most frequent sort of established backs are property line established backs.&nbsp They usually assortment from 50 to 200 toes, with a hundred ft becoming the most frequent.&nbsp Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, and British Columbia all use residence line established backs.

Established again from closest neighboring home: Connecticut and Vermont are the only two states that use set again from the closest neighbor’s home.&nbsp They each require 200 toes, symbolizing stricter guidelines.

The two residence line and nearest home: Maine and Massachusetts use the two property line and closest residence. &nbspFor EPA Stage two boilers, Maine needs fifty feet from the residence line or 70 ft from a neighbor’s home. &nbspMassachusetts requires 50 feet from a property line and 75 feet from nearest property.

Seasonal limitations: Two states, Indiana and Massachusetts, do not let outside boilers to work in the summer season as they can result in even far more air pollution in hotter temperature when they are very likely to cycle on and off far more regularly. &nbspIn addition, Maryland just lately wrote draft regulations that would limit use from May 1 to September 30.

Stack heights: Most states that demand set backs also call for minimal stack heights.&nbsp (This memo does not address these.)

Sunset clauses: Most point out guidelines only apply to foreseeable future installations, but some, this kind of as Vermont and British Columbia, have sunset clauses for conventional boilers.&nbsp In British Columbia, only EPA accredited and Phase 2 boilers can be operated soon after November 1, 2026.

Connecticut


Connecticut Law
CGS § 22a-174k, enacted in 2005, bans the set up or operation of OWBs that do not meet up with specified specifications. A violation of the regulation is an infraction.
With a handful of exceptions, the law prohibits any individual from creating, setting up, establishing, modifying, operating, or using an OWB right up until EPA rules governing them consider influence.
The law makes it possible for OWBs if they have been both developed, modified or in use prior to July 8, 2005 or they

one. are put in at minimum 200 ft from the nearest neighboring home

Maine

DEP Details SHEET Regulation of Out of doors Wooden Boilers , Effective Date: November nine, 2007 Contact: 1-800-452-1942 or 207-287-2437 Amended: July 4, 2008

Site SETBACK Needs
OWB installations need to have to meet up with minimum setback requirements made to shield general public wellness. The setback distance required depends on the unit’s emission ranking, with diminished setbacks permitted for cleaner-burning OWB types. The setback table underneath lists the bare minimum length an OWB device requirements to be from any neighboring property line or dwelling. Customers should meticulously consider regardless of whether their house configuration provides the needed area to meet the setback requirements just before getting a boiler device.

OWB Emission Score
(in lbs . per million BTUs or lbs/MMBtu)
Minimal Setback Distances
from Residence Line OR from Dwelling
.32 lbs/MMBtu
50 toes OR 70 toes
.sixty lbs/MMBtu
100 toes OR 120 toes
&gt0.sixty lbs/MMBtu (such as uncertified OWBs)
250 feet OR 270 feet

Massachusetts

310 CMR seven.26(fifty) Outside Hydronic Heaters
On and soon after December 26, 2008 no person shall:
one.&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Web site or install a household-size out of doors hydronic heater that meets the emission standard outlined in 310 CMR 7.26(53)(a), until it is set up at the very least fifty ft from any house line and 75 ft from any occupied dwelling that it is not serving, at the time of installation.
New Hampshire&nbsp
a hundred twenty five-R:three Setback and Stack Height Specifications. –
&nbsp&nbsp I. No person shall install a Stage I OWHH except if it is mounted at least one hundred ft from the nearest house line and has a everlasting attached stack that is at least 2 feet larger than the peak of the roof of a residence or place of organization not served by the OWHH if that home or area of company is situated inside 300 ft of the OWHH.
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp II. No particular person shall put in a Period II OWHH unless of course it is at minimum fifty toes from the closest residence line.
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp III. No individual shall put in an OWHH that is not a Section I or Phase II OWHH unless it is found at the very least 200 ft from the nearest abutting home and has a everlasting hooked up stack that is at the very least 2 ft greater than the peak of the roof of a residence or place of business not served by the OWHH if that home or location of organization is situated inside of 300 feet of the OWHH.
Resource. 2008, 362:two, eff. Aug. ten, 2008.
New York
6 CRR-NY 247.4
NY-CRR
SUBCHAPTER A. Prevention AND Control OF AIR CONTAMINATION AND AIR Pollution
Part 247. Out of doors Wooden BOILERS
All new OWBs must meet minimum setback specifications. Residential-measurement new OWBs (thermal output ratings of 250,000 British thermal units for each hour (Btu/h) or considerably less) must be sited 100 toes or far more from the closest residence boundary line. Professional-size new OWBs (thermal output rankings increased than 250,000 Btu/h) need to be sited 200 ft or much more from the nearest property boundary line, 300 ft from the nearest house boundary line of a residentially-zoned residence and one,000 ft or far more from a university.
Pennsylvania
Title 25—ENVIRONMENTAL Security
ENVIRONMENTAL Quality BOARD
[25 PA.CODE CHS. 121 AND 123]
Outdoor Wood-Fired Boilers
[forty Pa.B. 5571]
[Saturday, Oct 2, 2010]
Beneath closing-kind subsection (d), relating to setback requirements for new Phase two out of doors wooden-fired boilers, a person may possibly not set up, use or function a new Section two OWB unless the boiler is mounted a least of 50 feet from the nearest residence line.
Vermont
 
ADOPTED RULE – Powerful Date: July 5, 2014 
                          Company OF Organic Resources                               Montpelier, Vermont 
                     ENVIRONMENTAL Security Regulations                                    CHAPTER 5                              AIR Pollution Manage 
one.&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Set up Needs
(i) After Oct one,1997, no man or woman shall put in or let the set up of any OWB that is not a Period I OWB or a Period II OWB except if the OWB:
  1. (A) &nbspIs found more than two hundred feet from any residence that is neither served by the OWB nor owned by the owner or lessee of the OWB and,
Utah
R307. Environmental High quality, Air Quality.
Rule R307-208. Outside Wooden Boilers.
As in result on January 1, 2017
(two) No particular person shall function an out of doors wooden boiler within 1000 toes of a non-public or community college, medical center or working day treatment facility.
(three) Setback. A new residential out of doors wood boiler shall not be situated much less than a hundred ft from the closest house boundary line. A new commercial out of doors wooden boiler shall not be located much less than 200 feet from the closest home boundary nor 300 ft from a house boundary of a residentially zoned house.

British Columbia (Canada)


PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
Purchase OF THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL

Purchase in Council No. 650 , Sept. 19 2016
Boilers -setback and operational requirements

seven (one) In this area, “put in” means installed outdoor or m a composition not ordinarily employed as living area.
(2) &nbspAn proprietor of a parcel should guarantee that a boiler that is put in on the parcel soon after November I, 2016 but before May one, 2017 is mounted as follows:
(a) if the boiler is a accredited boiler or a phase 2 experienced boiler, not considerably less than forty m [131 ft] from every single of the parcel’s boundaries
(b) in any other case, not significantly less than 80 m [262 ft] from every single of the parcel’s boundaries.
(3) &nbspAn proprietor of a parcel should guarantee that a boiler that is mounted on the parcel on or right after Could one, 2017 is
(a) a accredited boiler, and
(b) installed not much less than forty m from every of the parcel’s boundaries.

(four) &nbspDespite subsections (2) (a) and (3), if the qualified boiler is made to bum only pelletized gasoline, the boiler need to be set up not Jess than I0 m [32 feet] from each of the parcel’s boundaries.
(five) &nbspA individual need to not work a boiler installed contrary to subsection (2) (a) or (b), (3) or (four).

(6) &nbspOn and right after November one, 2026, a person have to not operate an set up boiler except if the boiler is a accredited boiler or a phase two certified boiler.
Heated Up!

Residential heating with wood and coal in the US and Europe (excerpts)

This site contains excerpts from a very crucial and readable report released by the Planet Health Organization (WHO) in 2015. &nbspIt is mainly from a wellness and policy perspective and is extremely useful for North American as it provides more of a European point of view and is balanced in its technique. The complete 58-page report can be downloaded listed here.&nbsp

The report is notably interesting as it hits on a lot of themes that were considered or provided in the 2015 EPA wood heater laws, some of which will be litigated in 2017. It addresses greatest available technologies, indoor air quality, effectiveness specifications, stove changeout programs, black carbon, carbon neutrality, HEPA filters and a lot of other troubles. One of the overarching conclusions is that nationwide policy ought to strongly favor pellet above cord wooden appliances, a changeover that has already happened in elements of Europe, but not in the US.

Authors consist of authorities from the US, Austria, Canada, Finland and Germany.&nbsp This publication was prepared by the Joint WHO/United Nations Financial Fee for Europe (UNECE).
The report describes the overall health consequences of and coverage possibilities for working with household heating with wooden and coal in Europe and the United States. The benefits introduced indicate that it will be tough to deal with difficulties with outside air pollution in numerous parts of the globe with out addressing this resource sector. National, regional and nearby administrations, politicians and the community at huge need to have a far better knowing of the position of wood biomass heating as a main resource of harmful outdoor air pollutants (specifically good particles). This report is meant to aid boost these kinds of an comprehending.&nbsp
Executive Summary:
Actions are offered to minimize emissions of solid fuels for household heating in most locations. Encouraging gas switching (away from coal and other strong fuels) and use of far more effective heating systems (this kind of as qualified fireplaces or pellet stoves) can lessen the emissions from residential wooden and coal heating gadgets. Educational strategies might also be beneficial equipment to decrease emissions from residential reliable gasoline heaters.
In addition, filters may possibly reduce well being results from indoor air pollution. Present regulatory measures include ecodesign regulations and labels in the European Union (EU) and technological innovation based emission boundaries in the United States of The united states and Canada. Fiscal gas switching and technological innovation changeout incentives – as well as specific “no burn” times and ecolabelling – are other equipment accessible to plan-makers.
p. two. Household heating with wood is a sector in which PM2.5 and BC emissions can potentially be decreased with higher cost– efficiency than several other emission reduction possibilities. Even so, in Europe and North The usa only a handful of nations or states have established legal boundaries for minimal combustion effectiveness or greatest emissions of PM and damaging gaseous compounds like CO and gaseous natural compounds (see part six).
Coal:
p. eight. In the United states fifty five% of properties employed coal/coke for room heating in 1940, but this fell to 12% in 1960, beneath five% in the early seventies and below one% from the early nineteen eighties (Schipper et al., 1985 United States Census Bureau, 2011).
A single review estimates that reductions in the use of bituminous coal for heating in the United states of america from 1945–1960 reduced winter all-age mortality by one% and wintertime infant mortality by 3%, preserving virtually 2000 life for each wintertime month, including 310 toddler lives (Barreca et al., 2014).
Primarily based on this and proof that indoor emissions from family combustion of coal are carcinogenic to human beings, the latest WHO indoor air top quality tips strongly advise in opposition to the household use of unprocessed or uncooked coal, such as for heating (WHO, 2014a).
Infiltration of smoke into homes
p. 10. A home with wood-burning appliances is likely to be surrounded by other homes with wood-burning appliances, and wooden burning also tends to combination temporally as a result, on cold evenings and evenings most residences in the region may possibly be burning wood.
Presented that most wooden burning occurs in cold places exactly where homes are properly insulated, properties are predicted to have lower infiltration (which means that comparatively modest quantities of out of doors air pollution, such as wooden-burning smoke, enter the property and contribute to indoor air pollution), specially in the course of the heating year.
In North The usa heating-time outside temperature is an critical determinant of infiltration, and infiltration ranges are usually lower in the heating than the non-heating time, when doorways and windows are probably to be open a lot more (Allen et al., 2012). In British Columbia the mean infiltration portion of PM2.5 in winter was located to be .28, when compared to .61 in summer, although infiltration factors for person properties in winter season ranged from .1–0.6 (Barn et al., 2008) yet another research reported in the same way reduced mean infiltration stages of .32 Å}.17 throughout the winter season (Allen et al., 2009). Combustion of wood in residential areas and frequently beneath cold, calm meteorological circumstances can even so lead to substantial publicity compared to other air pollution sources, owing to the principle of ingestion fraction.
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Indoor pollution
Modern wooden stoves and fireplaces, when operated according to the manufacturers’ directions, release some PM and gaseous pollutants directly into indoor air, although in most instances the proof for considerable indoor emissions from these modern day stoves is quite minimal. With poor procedure, very poor air flow or backdrafting, even so, elevated concentrations of combustion items (such as PM, CO, VOCs, NOx and aldehydes) may possibly consequence indoors. Acute CO poisoning, which can at times even be fatal, may possibly happen thanks to indoor wood burning and infiltration of filthy ambient air), specifically when air flow of the wood-burning appliance is not managed effectively.
Stove Alter outs
p. 21. This sort of modify-out initiatives have likely constraints. The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Surroundings (CCME) – the association of atmosphere ministers from the federal, provincial and territorial governments – evaluated twelve stove exchange and instructional initiatives carried out in Canada and concluded that exchange programmes could have limits relating to equally the expense of new technologies and the lengthy services existence of appliances when set up. The evaluation supported the use of regulation effectively to curb the sale of large-emission appliances. This method is utilised in a quantity of Canadian provinces and American states.

The Canadian National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Well being discovered that emissions standards (based mostly on greatest offered systems) are essential to ensure that the newer units put in by way of alter-out programmes are amid the cleanest offered in the marketplace. Without these requirements, alter-out programmes may, in truth, be dropped possibilities to set up the cleanest obtainable wooden-burning units, which will be in use for a long time to come.
The examine also located that removal of traditional noncertified appliances (through exchanges, time limits or prior to the sale or transfer of a house) was the most powerful approach provided in a model municipal by-law for mitigation of household wood smoke (Setting Canada, 2006) (see “Other rules and voluntary measures” in area 6). [Click for much more on stove alter out packageseditor.]
HEPA Filters
Although family or individual-amount methods are not typically element of air good quality administration programmes, two studies from Canada show that inhome&nbspHEPA filtration might lessen overall health impacts from wooden smoke. An first solitary-blind randomized crossover study of 21 homes during winter season, in an location afflicted by household wood combustion as properly as site visitors and industrial sources, reported a suggest 55% (normal deviation = 38%) reduction in indoor PM stages when HEPA filters were operated (Barn et al., 2008). Use of the HEPA filters reduced indoor PM2.5 and levoglucosan concentrations by 60% and seventy five%, respectively. [Click for much more on HEPA filterseditor.]
Regulatory Emission Limitations
p. 26. Over the past 10 years, the European Commission has worked in the direction of the possibility of regulating strong fuel local space heaters and boilers, especially individuals that use different types of woody biomass gas (wood logs, pellets and biomass bricks), to produce proposed ecodesign emissions restrictions.
According to the Commission proposals, implementation of ecodesign specifications would lead to significant reductions of PM2.5 emissions from solid gas regional place heaters and boilers compared to baseline projections. The draft regulation for sound fuel local room heaters2 states that in 2030 the proposed demands for individuals merchandise, combined with the influence of the energy labelling, are anticipated to conserve about forty one petajoules (.nine million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe)) per yr, corresponding to .four million tonnes of CO2. They are also envisioned to reduce
PM emissions by 27 kilotonnes per yr,
Voluntary Actions
p. thirty. The Wood Stove Decathlon, an initiative of the Alliance for Environmentally friendly Heat, was structured in 2013 to emphasis creativeness and methods on planning subsequent generation wood stoves. The principal purpose was to problem groups of combustion engineers, engineering pupils, inventors and stove makers to construct wooden stoves that are low-emission, large-efficiency, revolutionary and inexpensive, in a common approach that may possibly position to commercially desirable up coming generation stove manufacturing (Alliance for Environmentally friendly Heat, 2013).&nbsp
Policy Wants
p. 31 Any renewable power or local weather modify relevant policies that assist combustion of wooden for residential heating want to take into account the local and global ambient air pollution impacts and quickly advertise the use of only the most affordable emission or ideal obtainable combustion technologies.
Lawful rules for wood combustion effectiveness in new heating appliances are urgently necessary during the globe. These will each sluggish down the present quick pace of worldwide warming (relating to BC in good particles and VOCs that market ozone formation) and minimize the great load of condition triggered by wood combustion-derived particles (especially organic compounds carried by BC). Such rules ought to incorporate tight – but technically achievable – boundaries in distinct for the main emissions of particulate mass, gaseous hydrocarbons and CO from new boilers and heaters.
p. 32. As new wood-burning units turn out to be far more vitality effective and emit less air pollution (specifically PM), nationwide governments require to prepare heater exchange regulations or voluntary programmes. Municipalities, counties and states need to take into account demanding heater exchanges at the time of residence remodels or product sales. In many instances, these laws will be most profitable if monetary compensation is provided to support with the cost of changing aged heaters with these assembly restricted strength effectiveness or emission boundaries regulations.
“No burn” regions are necessary. Particularly with recent combustion technologies, it is crucial to determine urban places with dense populations and/or geographical features (such as valleys amongst mountains) where household heating or cooking with tiny-scale appliances burning reliable fuels (wood and coal) is not permitted at all or is at the very least minimal to registered versions of reduced-emission wood combustion devices. Residential heating with coal in little-scale appliances must also be completely prohibited, at least in communities of developed international locations, as need to the use of wood log burners for central heating with out a sufficiently large water tank (which or else qualified prospects to poorly incomplete combustion and extremely huge emissions).
Co-rewards for health and local climate
As wood is burned … carbon is unveiled back to the ambiance, not only as CO2 but in most household combustion also in the kind of quick-lived greenhouse pollutants this sort of as BC, CO and VOCs like CH4. Thus, to be completely “carbon neutral”, wooden gas has to be not only harvested renewably but also combusted completely to CO2. For both local weather and wellness needs, the type these fuels’ carbon requires when it is introduced matters greatly, given that BC and CH4 are both strongly local weather-warming.
p. 34. A Planet Lender review located that changing recent wooden stoves and household boilers used for heating with pellet stoves and boilers and replacing chunk coal fuel with coal briquettes (mainly in jap Europe and China) could supply significant local climate positive aspects.
One more study coordinated by the United Nations Surroundings Programme and the Entire world Meteorological Group identified that prevalent dissemination of pellet stoves (in industrialized nations) could increase overall health, since these interventions lead to reductions in PM2.5.
If Arctic weather change turns into a emphasis of specific mitigation action (due to the fact of threats from climbing sea amounts, for case in point), popular dissemination of pellet stoves and coal briquettes may possibly warrant further thought simply because of their disproportional reward to mitigating warming from BC deposition in the Arctic (UNEP &amp WMO, 2011). The World Bank found that substitute of wood logs with pellets in European stoves could direct to a fifteen% better cooling in the Arctic (about .1 ÅãC). For Arctic nations the modeling strongly suggests that the most successful
BC reduction actions would target regional heating stoves for equally local weather and well being advantages (Pearson et al., 2013).
Conclusions
p. 35. Given that household wood combustion for heating will continue in a lot of areas of the planet simply because of financial concerns and availability of other fuels, an urgent want exists to build and encourage the use of the lowest emission or ideal accessible combustion systems.
&nbspIt might be preferable in a lot of cases to target on making biomass-based residence heating much more successful and significantly less polluting rather than transitioning away from biomass to fossil fuels, presented the weather change implications of using fossil gas for heating.


Heated Up!

Mapping wooden heating and wood smoke in the United States

Wood heating has created a comeback in the United States and has been the quickest expanding heating gasoline for most several years given that 2005, according to US Census figures. Currently, 2.36 million houses in the United States use wood as a primary heating gas (ACS, 2015, 1-year estimates). And 8.eight U.S. million houses use it as a secondary heating gas (EIA, RECS, 2009). Wood was the dominant residential heating gasoline in the United states until coal started to get in excess of in the eighties. Soon after that, heating oil and then gas turned well-liked. The percent of the inhabitants mainly heating with wood dropped from 23% in the forties, when the US Census first began tracking warmth, to a minimal level of one.3% in 1970, when fossil fuels have been low cost and common.
This map shows PM 2.five emissions from residential wooden combustion by county, in accordance to the 2008 EPA report, “New Methodology for Estimating Emissions from Household Wooden Combustion.” It seems to display the densest concentrations of PM2.5 in Wisconsin and Minnesota in which the most out of doors wooden boilers are manufactured and set up.

This map, from the identical 2008 EPA, report offers further depth on the source of PM 2.5 emissions by equipment sort. Each and every appliance kind is represented by a diverse coloration. Pink represents fireplaces, green signifies fireplaces with inserts, dim blue signifies woodstoves, light blue represents indoor furnaces, magenta represents outside hydronic heaters, and yellow signifies wax/sawdust firelogs. Whilst the terminology is fairly perplexing, the map shows some exciting trends. &nbspFor occasion, wooden stoves emit the greater part of PM in the Northeast, although outdoor hydronic heaters are the premier resource in the Great Lake states (outside wood boilers continued their popularity in these states soon after the 2008 EPA report). Fireplaces with inserts are the biggest emitter in most of the south and California. Indoor furnaces are the most typical resource of PM pollution in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

The next map was produced by the Census Bureau, displaying for every capita use of wooden stoves. It demonstrates 17.eight% of houses in Vermont use wood or pellets as a major heat resource in 2012. Maine had the next greatest share at thirteen.seven% of residences. Out West, Montana has the greatest proportion with nine.two% of residences, followed by Idaho at seven.9% and Oregon at seven.one%. On the US mainland, the states with the the very least wooden heating are predictably Florida, at .2% of the populace and then Texas at .four%.



The Alliance for Green Heat made a map utilizing Census knowledge to present the ongoing progress of wood heating amongst 2000 and 2012. By 2010, the expansion development was properly recognized, owing in portion to the housing crisis and recession. In that period of time, wooden warmth doubled in about ten states, primarily in the Northeast.

This map underneath, manufactured the Alliance for Green Warmth, also employs Census knowledge but breaks down primary wood heating households by Congressional districts. This offers a a lot more detailed look at the geography of wooden heating in contrast to state level specifics. Presumably, a map displaying wooden usage at the county amount could also be created. &nbsp

This final map displays a curious phenomenon in 1950 in which the Census Bureau discovered higher charges of primary wooden heating in southern states than in several northern ones. This is most likely because of to the more quickly penetration of fossil fuels in northern states, while place heaters in southern states, including those in several poor, rural black and white households, continued to run on cordwood.

Heated Up!