Monday, February 11, 2013

Utah Adopts Innovative Outdoor Boiler Regulations

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.

Utah is now the only state to adopt an installation ban on outdoor wood boilers in much of the state, but still allow their use in rural areas. Washington and Oregon have restrictions that effectively banned outdoor boilers in the entire state. Other states only regulate where they can be installed through property line setbacks.

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. 


  1. Seems like you are trying to smear does not appear that the company tried to stop the regs - if you read everything they supported the regulations with different requirements - you only posted part of an entire set of comments. The fact that you take quotes from a report or comments that apply to only one segment of the regs demonstrates that. I also read and find their comments fall in line with HPBA's Comments to support the regulations but with some changes. Are you saying HPBA "fought against" Utah's regs? What's up with that?

  2. No intent to smear. Anyone can call the Utah officials involved - and the Utah legislators and confirm that Central Boiler was active lobbying against portions of the regulations. CB themselves are usually very professional and open about discussing their position on state regulations. We try to provide transparency to some of these state battles and not to discount anyone's position. Another good thing about lobbying on state regulations is that positions of companies and other stakeholders becomes public when written comments are filed. We linked to Central Boilers entire comments as of the date that set of comments was filed, so anyone can look at them in their entirety. I'm not sure if HPBA or the HPBA Hydronic Heater Caucus took a position on the Utah regulations or not. Its often hard to find what the public positions of the Caucus are. If you can find links to any positions that are public, please share. Thanks.