January 31, 2008

New Report: Stoves & Fireplace Inserts Save Money, Clean the Air

Pilot Project Demonstrates Effectiveness of Wood Stove Changeouts; Nationwide Tax Incentives Proposed 

 

Arlington, VA (January 31, 2008) – Consumers who install new wood stoves this winter not only will enjoy warmer homes, but also can save money and help clean the air, according to a new report released today by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA). The report, Clearing the Smoke, unveils results from a pilot program to replace every outdated woodburning stove in Libby, Montana, with new, cleaner units certified to strict U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. 

“Replacing older, inefficient wood stoves with cleaner-burning EPA-certified models can reduce pollution by 70 percent per stove, on average,” said Robert J. Meyers, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air & Radiation. “In areas such as Libby, where most of the fine particle pollution comes from wood smoke, a community-wide changeout can make a tremendous difference.” 

The Libby changeout replaced or repaired 1,130 old, polluting stoves with new wood, pellet, gas or electric heating appliances. HPBA, its member companies, EPA and other Montana partners provided direct grants, equipment donations and in-kind support worth more than $2.5 million to finance the program. 

Based on preliminary data, Libby residents are now breathing significantly cleaner air both outdoors and inside their homes. Average wintertime fine particulate levels in the outdoor air decreased by 28 percent in 2007 – the first year following completion of the changeouts. The results are even more dramatic for indoor air quality with initial research by the University of Montana finding the air 72 percent cleaner inside homes with new, EPA-certified stoves.

“Today’s stoves and inserts produce almost no smoke and require less firewood than earlier models,” noted Jack Goldman, HPBA’s president. “Consumers have more choices than ever to provide their homes with ambiance and heat, including a variety of renewable fuel options like wood, pellets and corn.” 

Home experts estimate that stoves and inserts can reduce annual heating costs by 20 to 40 percent. To help consumers approximate the cost-saving benefits of various options, HPBA has developed an online guide (www.hpba.org/hearthconsumerguide) and fuel efficiency calculator (www.hpba.org/fuelcalculator) highlighting the differences between appliance options, fuels, approximate efficiency and estimated costs for purchase and operation. Some 55 million households in the U.S. have at least one fireplace or freestanding stove, and the industry shipped nearly 3 million hearth appliances in 2006. 

The Libby experience demonstrated that a wood stove changeout can significantly and cost effectively reduce particulate emissions, and other communities have begun to benefit from similar initiatives. Since 2005 when the Libby program began, at least 24 changeout campaigns across the U.S. have replaced more than 3,300 outdated wood stoves and fireplaces. EPA estimates that these changeouts have removed approximately 135 tons of particulates from the air annually and yielded $16 million in health benefits. 

To help expand changeout programs nationwide, Rep. John Salazar (D-CO) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) have introduced the Clean Stove Act. This is a bipartisan bill that would authorize a $500 tax credit to consumers who replace old stoves with the new technology of EPA-certified wood stoves. “This important legislation encourages cleaner air, healthier homes, renewable energy and greater fuel efficiency,” added Goldman. 

Clearing the Smoke details the unique history, topography, economy and air quality problems that made Libby the ideal location for this pilot program. The report includes first-hand accounts from the local residents who led and benefited from the changeouts, as well as details on how the program worked, lessons learned and advice for other communities. It is available for download at www.woodstovechangeout.org. 

“For consumers coast-to-coast, this study confirms that cleaner burning stoves offer great potential to warm their homes, help reduce spending and clean the air in their neighborhoods,” Goldman concluded. “The hearth industry hopes that leaders in other areas can learn how to make their communities cleaner, safer and healthier from the Libby project.”

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About Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association is an international trade association first established in 1980 to represent and promote the interests of the hearth products industry in North America. In 2002, the Hearth Products Association (HPA) merged with the Barbecue Industry Association (BIA) to form HPBA. The association includes manufacturers, retailers, distributors, manufacturers' representatives, service and installation firms, and other companies and individuals - all having business interests in and related to the hearth, patio and barbecue products industries. For more information, please visit www.hpba.org or www.woodstovechangeout.org. 

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