Monday, April 1, 2013

Task Group begins work to include wood heaters in energy audits

Tens of thousands of energy audits happen every year, but wood and pellet stoves are almost always left out of them.  The Alliance for Green Heat took this on, challenging energy audit institutions to justify overlooking such a critical piece of heating equipment. The leading institution in this space, the Building Performance Institute, agreed to work with us to develop standards. We then invited key industry and government experts to be on a BPI Solid Fuels Task Group, a sub-group of a BPI working group (WG-7) addressing the development of BPI-1200 Standard for Basic Analysis of Buildings
BPI is an ANSI-accredited standards development organization, which means that the procedures used by BPI meet essential requirements for openness, balance, consensus and due process. As part of that process, the Solid Fuels Task Group has begun the important but tedious task of developing standards that will then be published for public comment. 

The Solid Fuels Task Group is made up of John Ackerly of the Alliance for Green Heat, John Dupree of the EPA, Rod Tinnemore of the Washington State Department of Ecology, Ashley Eldridge of the Chimney Safety Institute of America, John Crouch of HPBA, Rick Vlahos of the National Fireplace Institute and Mike O’Rourke of  TBHI Presentations. From BPI, key people are John Jones, Darlene Welch and Jeremy O’Brien.

Our Task Group addresses the solid fuel components for the Combustion Appliance Testing section of BPI-1200. BPI-1200 provides the step-by-step procedures for conducting an evaluation of the home that addresses energy usage, and limited aspects of building durability and occupant health and safety. The evaluation will provide a comprehensive scope of work to improve the home and will include a cost-benefit analysis. 

Key issues to be addressed by the Solid Fuel Task Group surround how to assess the safety and efficiency of a wood or pellet stove and how to educate and urge the homeowner to upgrade or repair old or poorly installed appliances.

In August 2012, the New York Biomass Energy Alliance wrote to NYSERDA asking for answers about how and why wood stoves could be excluded from the energy audits that they subsidize, particularly in the northernmost counties. 

For more background about the need for this standard, click here

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