WORCESTER – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $450,000 in funding for the 2017 Commonwealth Woodstove Change-out Program, which provides rebates to homeowners who replace older, inefficient woodstoves with cleaner, EPA-certified wood and pellet stove models that use less fuel and reduce energy costs. The announcement of this most recent investment was made by state energy and environment officials during a tour of Enchanted Fireside in Worcester.
“The Woodstove Change-Out Program makes clean, cost-effective heat more accessible to residents across Massachusetts of all income levels,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through this strategic investment, our administration can help spur the adoption of new, highly efficient technology that improves air quality and reduces our greenhouse gas emissions.”
“Through the Woodstove Change-Out Program, Massachusetts families are able to recognize savings and improve the air quality inside and outside their home,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration has made it a priority to ensure everyone in the Commonwealth, regardless of income, has access to the economic and environmental benefits of more energy efficient technologies.”
“This successful multi-agency partnership helps improve heating efficiency for homeowners while improving overall air quality and public health,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “By funding The Woodstove Change-Out Program, we are making an important investment in reducing our carbon footprint and boosting local businesses that sell renewable energy technologies.”
Launched in 2012, the Commonwealth Woodstove Change-Out Program is administered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), with assistance from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER).
Previously, the program has helped more than 1,400 residents swap out their dirty, inefficient stoves for newer, cleaner models, with nearly 500 of these rebates going to low- and moderate-income residents.
“We are happy to help Massachusetts residents save money through the installation of efficient wood and pellet stove models,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “By expanding access to newer, cleaner heating technology we are able to assist the Commonwealth in improving air quality and help residents reduce their heating costs.”
“By collaborating across state government, the Woodstove Change-Out program gives Massachusetts homeowners access to clean, affordable, and highly efficient heating systems,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “By reducing energy use and emissions, this program allows residents across the Commonwealth to play a part in meeting our shared emissions reduction goals.”
“Replacing older woodstoves with EPA-certified models that burn more cleanly and efficiently is a practical way to help reduce pollution and improve air quality across the Commonwealth,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg.
EPA-certified stoves on average require one-third less wood than older models to produce the same amount of heat, while releasing 70 to 90 percent less particulate matter, which has been shown to exacerbate health conditions like asthma, heart disease and lung cancer. Residents installing new stoves can expect to save an average of $5,000 over the lifetime of the stove. Each woodstove switched out for a newer model is equivalent to eliminating the particulate emissions from five old diesel trucks.
While the majority of program participants purchase new woodstoves, over 40 percent opted for pellet stoves in 2016. In addition to burning very cleanly, these modern appliances automatically feed fuel into the fire, and many have built-in thermostats that allow owners to adjust the room temperature just as they can with central heating systems.
In this year’s program, standard rebates will range from $500 to $1,750, depending on the emission levels and type of stove purchased. Rebates from $1,500 to $3,000 are available for residents who meet certain income requirements. For the first time this year, the program will provide higher incentives for stoves that achieve a superior efficiency level.
To qualify for a rebate, a resident must have an operational, non-EPA-certified woodstove. To apply, the resident should visit a participating woodstove retailer or contact a participating stove professional such as a chimney sweep, who will handle the rebate application process on the residents’ behalf. Residents can find a local participating woodstove professional by viewing the list of woodstove dealers who have registered to participate.
“Upgrading to an EPA-certified wood stove increases energy efficiency for homeowners and reduces harmful pollutants in our air. These rebates lower costs for consumers and benefit all residents of the state with cleaner air and environment,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst).
“I hope that homeowners will take advantage of the Woodstove Change-out Program and upgrade, save, and innovate for the future,” said Senate Majority Leader Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration for its continued efforts to protecting the environment and spreading innovation across the Commonwealth.”
“This program allows homeowners to not only save money on heating costs, but also to realize many important environmental and health benefits,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “I encourage anyone with an older woodstove to look into this program to see if they qualify for a rebate.”
“MassCEC’s program provides crucial support for residents who want to swap out their old, dirty woodstoves for cleaner, more efficient models,” said State Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr. (D-Lowell), Chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. “I applaud the Baker administration for once again supporting the rebate program, and commend DEP and DOER for their efforts in making this program a success.”
“Replacing these wood stoves is an important step to reduce emissions and save on heating costs, but a step that can be out of reach for household budgets,” said State Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “This program, for a very modest investment, can make the difference between a stove being replaced or not being upgraded.”
"I am exceptionally grateful for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s 2017 Woodstove Change-Out Program and the tremendous work they do to provide the opportunity for families and homeowners in my district to use less fuel as well as reduce their energy costs,” said State Representative James O’Day (D-Worcester).
Rebate applications will be accepted until August 21, 2017.
“The Massachusetts Chimney Sweep Guild applauds the Baker Administration for their efforts to reach the wood burning public with this important program,” said Dave Hannah of the Massachusetts Chimney Sweep Guild. “Replacing older polluting wood stoves with new, clean burning stoves increases efficiency, which results in less wood use and a cleaner burn, ultimately saves money and helps our environment.”
Funding for this year’s program comes via DOER’s Alternative Compliance Payments and MassCEC’s Renewable Energy Trust. The trust was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1997 and is funded by a systems benefit charge paid by electric customers of investor-owned utilities in the state as well as funding from municipal electric departments that have opted to participate in the program.
This funding builds upon the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the Commonwealth’s vibrant clean energy innovation sector. In September 2016, Governor Baker signed an Executive Order which lays out a comprehensive approach to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, and build a more resilient Commonwealth.