Will Partner with Local Businesses to Offer Residents Cash Rebates and Other Incentives to Replace Old Wood Stoves with Efficient, Cleaner Burning Technologies
Today, the Dane County Clean Air Coalition was joined by area businesses, Madison Fire Department, Wisconsin DNR and Public Health of Madison and Dane County to launch the County’s first Wood Stove Changeout Program, a voluntary pollution prevention program designed to help residents reduce harmful fine particle pollution and airborne toxics. Throughout the month of February, the County is offering a $750.00 cash rebate to eligible residents to voluntarily replace their old, inefficient wood stoves or fireplace inserts with healthier, more efficient and cleaner burning EPA-certified devices.
This clean air initiative is funded by a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5. Additional support has been provided by the Dane County Clean Air Coalition and the North Central Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association.
“The Dane County Clean Air Coalition is happy to be able to offer this great financial incentive to our residents who use wood stoves or fireplaces for heat, “ said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.
“By taking advantage of the Wood Stove Changeout Program, residents will be doing their part to protect their health and the air we all breathe while reducing their woodheating costs and staying comfortable this winter.”
Old wood stoves and fireplace inserts produce excessive wood smoke, which is made up of a mixture of gases and fine particle pollution that isn’t healthy to breathe indoors or out – especially for children, older adults and those with heart disease, asthma or other lung diseases. While fine particle pollution can occur year-round from vehicular, electric and industrial sources, activities such as wood burning that occur in the winter months significantly increase fine particle levels and other pollutants in our air. EPA-certified stoves and inserts emit 70% less particle pollution and are approximately 50% more energy efficient than wood stoves manufactured before 1990.
“As the winter winds blow and the snow falls we’re hoping the Wood Stove Changeout program will remind residents that there are opportunities to do your share for cleaner air year-round, “said Lisa MacKinnon, Project Coordinator for the Dane County Clean Air Coalition. “Old wood stoves and inserts are a significant source of wintertime fine particle pollution in Dane County. For each old, dirty wood stove that is replaced with a new, cleaner burning stove or insert, it will be like taking five diesel buses off the road in terms of fine particle emission reductions.”
Dane County continues to meet EPA’s current air quality attainment standard for fine particle pollutionbut we need to continue to take steps to reduce emissions as EPA has announced plans to further strengthen this standard in 2011.
“Based on 2008 emission estimates, Dane County has the third highest fine particulate matter emissions from non-certified wood stoves in the Upper Midwest, including the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The Dane County wood stove changeout program will help to reduce the amount of harmful emissions from older, non-certified wood stoves and improve the air quality throughout the county”, said Joseph Hoch, Regional Pollutant and Mobile Source Section Chief at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
During the month of February, Dane County residents interested in replacing their old, inefficient wood stoves or inserts may be eligible to receive a $750.00 rebate from Dane County, as well as various manufacturer and retailer discounts and a federal tax credit on the purchase price of qualifying cleaner burning EPA-certified wood stoves and inserts, natural gas stoves and inserts, or pellet stoves and inserts. Applications for rebate vouchers will be accepted starting on February 1, 2011 via email to the Dane County Clean Air Coalition Coordinator, Lisa MacKinnon, at: MacKinnon@countyofdane.comor fax: 608-266-2643. Rebate funds are limited and will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible customers. Discounts and the federal tax credit will be available for qualifying devices until the end of the program regardless of rebate eligibility.
To learn more about this program, including how to determine whether you are eligible to receive a rebate and to see a list of participating retailers, go to www.healthyairdane.orgor call Lisa MacKinnon, Program Coordinator, at 608/ 266-9063 or email MacKinnon@countyofdane.com.
In addition to replacing your old, inefficient wood stove with a cleaner burning EPA-certified device, there are other steps you can take if you’re burning wood this winter to have a cheaper, safer and healthier fire:
· Burn only dry, seasoned wood. It’s better for the air and your wallet. Dry seasoned wood is more efficient at heating your home and can add up to significant savings over the winter. Look for wood that is darker, has cracks in the end grain, and sounds hollow when hit against another piece of wood or consider using a wood moisture meter.
· Never burn painted or treated wood or trash as these can release a variety of toxic air emissions.
· Maintain your wood stove or fireplace and have a certified technician inspect it yearly. A certified technician can clean dangerous soot from your chimney and keep your wood stove or fireplace working properly, which reduces your risk of a home fire.
· If you have another source of heat, do not use your fireplace or wood stove on winter days that are forecast to be Clean Air Action Days for fine particle pollution.
· Go to the U.S. EPA’s Burn Wise website for more information: http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/
For more air pollution reduction ideas for Dane County residents and employers, visit www.healthyairdane.org.
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