The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $450,000 in funding for the 2018 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 was made by state energy and environment officials during a tour of the Fireplace Showcase in Seekonk.
“The Woodstove Change-Out Program helps Massachusetts residents implement clean, cost-effective heating technologies that decrease smoke pollution and improve air quality in their homes,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The rebates offered through the program incentivize households across the Commonwealth to adopt more efficient technologies, saving homeowners more money each year.”
“By helping Massachusetts residents replace older, polluting woodstoves with more efficient models, we’re increasing access to cost-effective technologies for homeowners across the Commonwealth while continuing our work to combat climate change,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Emissions from old, inefficient woodstoves are detrimental to air quality and public health, so these rebates help make Massachusetts cleaner and healthier for all residents.”
“The Woodstove Change-Out Program gives all Massachusetts homeowners access to affordable, highly efficient, and clean heating systems,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “While this program aims to help residents save money and improve local air quality, it also helps to cut the state’s carbon footprint as we work to meet our ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets.”
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).
The program has helped more than 2,000 residents swap out dirty, inefficient stoves for newer, cleaner models, with nearly 600 of these rebates going to low- and moderate-income residents. In an increased effort to promote air quality, all newly installed stoves will meet a more stringent emissions standard to help ensure that stoves installed under the program reflect best-in-class technologies.
“Through these rebates, Massachusetts residents will have access to clean heating systems that are EPA-certified, use less fuel, and provide cleaner air for our communities,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “The Woodstove Change-Out Program has helped thousands of residents across the Commonwealth adopt clean, efficient heating technologies and we’re pleased to offer this program for another year.”
“By funding The Woodstove Change-Out Program, we are making an important investment that supports local businesses that sell these renewable energy technologies.” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “These popular woodstove rebates help Massachusetts households save money and reduce emissions.”
“This program is a great example of how state agencies work together to support our clean air goals,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “The health of our communities is improved when older woodstoves are retired through this program and replaced with lower-emission models.”
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 30 percent opted for pellet stoves in 2017. 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.
Standard rebates range from $1,000 to $1,750, depending on the emission levels and type of stove purchased. Continuing the state’s effort to make clean energy accessible to more Massachusetts residents, the program offers residents who meet certain income requirements rebates up to an additional $1,500.
In 2017, MassCEC introduced an efficiency adder for newly installed stoves that achieve high efficiency ratings. This efficiency incentive was extremely effective in promoting best-in-class technologies; almost half of all new stove installations in 2017 achieved a high efficiency rating, compared to only 22% achieving this efficiency in 2016.
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. At the end of 2017, the American Lung Association began offering vouchers for woodstove changeouts in selected counties in western Massachusetts (Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire). Change-outs funded through this voucher program are not eligible to receive the MassCEC rebate.
“The Commonwealth Woodstove Change-out Program is an extremely effective program that assists residents in trading out older wooden stoves that are not EPA-certified for cleaner, more efficient EPA-certified or pellet stoves,” said State Senator Paul R. Feeney (D-Foxborough). “I am happy to report that the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has announced $450,000 in funding for this initiative, which will help people in our district reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted by older stoves. These additional funds will quite literally, help our families to breathe a little easier,” said State Senator Paul R. Feeney.
“Replacing an older, less efficient wood stove with one that is EPA-certified is better for the environment and homeowner’s heating costs,” said State Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr., Chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. “These rebates make it more affordable for our residents. I commend the Baker administration for their continued support of this program, and thank MassCEC, DEP, and DOER for their hard work in making it a success."
Rebate applications will be accepted until August 28, 2018.
“The American Lung Association applauds MassCEC for their continued support of wood stove changeout programs which we know help reduce air pollution from wood stoves and help protect our most vulnerable, including those with asthma, COPD and lung cancer,” said American Lung Association Massachusetts Policy Director Casey Harvell.
Funding for this year’s program comes from 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. Governor Baker recently filed legislation to authorize over $1.4 billion in capital allocations for investments in safeguarding residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, protecting environmental resources, and investing in communities. The legislation would put into law essential components of Governor Baker’s Executive Order 569, which established an integrated strategy for climate change adaptation across the Commonwealth. In December 2017, the administration announced new regulations expanding support for renewable heating technologies through the Alternative Portfolio Standard.