Alliance for Green Heat, February 11, 2013 - A last minute attempt by a manufacturer to derail new outdoor boiler regulations in Utah failed. The State’s Air Quality Board passed innovative and balanced regulations that allow the installation of EPA qualified outdoor boilers in rural counties but ban them in populated counties that do not meet federal air quality standards. The regulations will take effect this spring.
This makes Utah the latest in a string of states to regulate the outdoor wood boiler, the most polluting residential wood heating technology on the market. Utah went further than most states, banning their installation in areas that already have poor air quality and where about 2 million out of Utah's 2.8 million population lives.
Many states require boilers to be set back at least 50 feet from the nearest property line. New York and now Utah require 100 feet. Maryland and Rhode Island are the only states with regulations limiting installs to EPA qualified units that have no property line set backs.
An innovative feature of the Utah regulations addresses households that currently have outdoor wood boilers and now fall in the area where they are banned from installation. Those units are grandfathered, but families living in the banned counties can install another outdoor boiler in the future as long as it runs on pellets and is EPA qualified.
The regulations also require a 1,000 feet setback from a school, day care center or hospital, which may be the strictest such clause in the country. The maps below show the correlation between population density and the non-attainment areas in Utah.
Central Boiler fought against Utah’s new regulations arguing that the rule "lacks scientific support and would unfairly prohibit Utah residents from purchasing and using clean-burning wood furnaces." A main thrust of Central Boilers argument is that Phase 2 boilers "are cleaner than EPA certified wood stoves." Specifically they claim “average emissions for a Phase 2 OHH [outdoor hydraulic heater, another name for outdoor wood boiler] are 77% less than those from EPA-Certified wood stoves." The full submission by Central Boiler can be found here.
The Alliance for Green Heat supports regulations in all states that only allow the installation of Phase 2 qualified outdoor boilers and, like Utah, have setbacks or other regulations to prevent their installation in densely inhabited areas.
Click here for an overview of state outdoor boiler regulations.