The Alliance for Green Heat was awarded a grant by the University of Maryland Extension (UME) to analyze the Maryland wood and pellet stove rebate program and other state incentive programs and write a paper on “best practices” for stove incentive programs. The paper would be presented at a conference, published as a UME fact sheet, presented on a UME webinar and posted on the websites for UME and the Alliance. Key states we will look at include Maryland, Maine, New York, Oregon, Washington and Massachusetts. The Alliance has worked previously with the University of Maryland Extension and produced a set of wood heating fact sheets.
Background: In the last two years, several states have initiated wood and pellet stove incentive programs and almost all of them have had to make adjustments after establishing requirements that did not work well. While this is a normal part of the learning curve of establishing a program for any appliance or technology, the lessons learned are important for other programs. It is also partly because innovative stove incentive programs that try to focus on cleanest or most efficient stoves are new and there are not many examples to draw from. Most states craft their own program and take elements from other states. More states are now in the process of creating a program and could use a roadmap that lays out what worked well and what didn’t.
a. We will contact existing programs to see if they have any data that they can release for us to analyze. At a minimum, we will do a full analysis of data that Maryland can share. In other states, we will at least ask for high level information and collect as much as possible from the internet.
b. We will review public policy goals of each program, whether its primarily renewable energy production, smoke reduction, helping to provide affordable heat for rural residents or a combination of the three. This will also involve interviews with the managers of those programs.
c. We will review the standards and requirements of each program in terms of requiring professional installation and outside air, limiting eligibility of stoves by emissions and efficiency, limiting eligibility by location or income of home, etc.
d. We will try to establish average costs for the installation and/or removal of each wood stove, and match that with the benefits.
Why the Alliance?
This project taps into a core expertise of the Alliance for Green Heat. We have relationships with the managers of numerous incentive programs and have provided advice and feedback to many of them. This report will also be partly an updated to a major report on stove incentives we did 3 years ago that was funded by US Forest Service’s Wood Education and Research Center.
The budget for the project is $7,500 and the University of Maryland Extension Service grant covers a third of that.