HPBA has supported reasonable standards for wood appliances to burn more efficiently for more than 20 years, and worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to achieve these results. So many of today's low-emission hearth appliances produce significantly less smoke and particulate emissions than older products. Hearth manufacturer and retailer members have benefited from HPBA's efforts, and homeowners have enjoyed new technologies to conserve energy and burn cleaner.
The EPA updated its 1988 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) – the agency’s regulations for new residential wood and pellet stoves, hydronic heaters, and woodburning forced air furnaces – in February 2015. HPBA has led the hearth industry in attempts to negotiate a portion of the standards (Step 2) to take effect in May 2020. If the Step 2 standards in the regulation remain as they are, most forced air furnaces would no longer be available because it is not feasible for this product category to comply with NSPS technology requirements. Similarly, the market for hydronic heaters would shrink significantly as these products would no longer be affordable options.