May 02, 2017

MassCEC Rekindles 2017 Round of the Woodstove Change-Out Program

Annie Tucker, Clean Heating & Cooling Fellow

To some, woodstoves seem old-fashioned and conjure up images of Grandma’s house in the woods, but to others, they are a critical source of heat through bitterly cold Massachusetts winters. To MassCEC, wood and pellet stoves are part of an innovative industry and an opportunity to support clean heating and cooling technologies.

That’s why MassCEC recently launched the 2017 round of the Woodstove Change-Out Program, which runs now through August 21st and offers rebates ranging from $500 to $3,000 to replace non-EPA certified wood stoves with new, clean-burning wood or pellet stoves.

This year, additional funds are being offered to support the latest in wood stove technology: a category of stoves called Fully Automated Woodstoves. New to American markets, these pioneering stoves utilize sensors and automation to maintain a constant, low-emission burn by automatically adjusting air flow. They even can be controlled by a thermostat!

This hot new technology can come at a hefty price; some Fully Automated Woodstoves as well as other wood and pellet stoves can cost upwards of $3,000. MassCEC’s incentives help offset these costs and support future cost savings for families since new stoves can save a third as much wood as old, inefficient stoves and cleaner indoor air can avoid future doctors’ bills. Low-income families that especially need these cost savings, and might rely on stoves as a primary source of heat, are a priority for this program, and are eligible for higher rebates.

Historically, the change-out program has had proportionally more low-income participation than any other MassCEC Clean Heating & Cooling program. Also notable is that applicants often live in Western and Central Mass, where some other Boston-based assistance programs fail to reach.

The crowd of people who are excited and passionate about wood and pellet stoves generally are different than those interested in more recent technologies, like ground source heat pumps or solar photovoltaic panels, although fully automotive woodstoves are becoming quite advanced. And aside from going green, Massachusetts residents can easily be drawn to this program due to the immediate health benefits of using a cleaner stove.