October 30, 2015

Next Round of Commonwealth Woodstove Change-out Program Arrives

On February 18, woodstove owners across the Commonwealth began to fill out applications after Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan announced a new round of the Commonwealth’s Woodstove Change-out Program, committing up to a million dollars to encourage residents to replace older, inefficient woodstoves with healthier, higher-efficiency models.

The announcement was made at The Fire Place, a cozy woodstove retail shop located in Whately. The store redeemed more vouchers than anyone else when the program was first launched last winter.

 The Commonwealth Woodstove Change-out Program provides vouchers of $750 or $2,000 to Massachusetts woodstove owners looking to trade in their non-EPA certified stoves for models that use less wood and release less pollution into the air. This program allows residents to both improve their health as well as their bank account. DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia summarized this sentiment while speaking at the announcement, saying, “These vouchers will help residents save money on upfront costs and monthly wood costs, while helping the Commonwealth reduce air pollution.”

Secretary Sullivan and Commissioner Sylvia were also joined by MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton, MassDEP Deputy Commissioner Marty Suuberg, and the American Lung Association Northeast Director of Public Policy Casey Harvell.

In an area such as Western Massachusetts, where woodstoves are routinely used as a primary heat source for homes, the smoke can be a serious issue. On February 26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding a public hearing in Boston to get public input on proposed standards for the pollution being produced by woodstoves. Once this type of pollution reaches a certain toxicity level, it can pose serious health risks and is linked to a variety of negative health effects, including strokes, asthma, and heart attacks.

These new standards would ensure that the next woodstoves would be estimated to be eighty percent cleaner than current models. The Commonwealth Woodstove Change-out program is contributing to the clean air cause by only replacing non-EPA certified woodstoves, ensuring that soon, all woodstoves throughout the Commonwealth will be certified to be cheaper and cleaner.