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 by the Hearth, Patio, and 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 The report, Clearing the Smoke, unveils results from a pilot program to replace every outdated woodburning stove in Libby, Montana, with new, cleaner units certified to strict U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.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% per stove, on average," said Robert J. Meyers, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and 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 US$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% in 2007 – the first year following completion of the changeouts. Initial research by the University of Montana found that the air was 72% cleaner inside homes with new, EPA-certified stoves.