Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Changing Face of Wood Stove Change-out Programs

Online Resource Center launched to assist program managers & consumers

States and counties are increasingly looking to wood stove change out programs to encourage people to give up old, polluting wood stoves for cleaner alternatives.  In 2016, there were 34 stove change-out programs. The average incentive was about $900 to replace and old wood stove with a new one, $1,300 for a pellet stove, $1,500 for natural gas stove and $1,900 for a heat pump.

Trends in 2016 change-outs include more programs only allowing old wood stoves to be replaced by pellet, gas or electric appliances; more bounty programs that pay for decommissioning both old and newer wood stoves; more programs requiring or considering lower particulate matter standards for eligible stoves; and increased documentation for stove retailers and program managers.

Stove change-out programs are often compared to “cash-for-clunkers,” the $3 billion program in 2009 to get older, more polluting cars off the road.  That program became more controversial as program performance data was evaluated. Stove change-outs are also often criticized for not providing enough benefit per dollar invested.  This Online Stove Change-out Resource Center strives to help maximize benefits for local air quality, participating households and the manufacturers of cleaner, more efficient heating appliances.

This Resource Center was also designed to be a resource for a national change-out fund, like the federal diesel program to replace older diesel engines. Several members of Congress had been working on federal funding for a stove change-out fund and it is now unclear if that goal may be more difficult under a Trump Administration.

“Stove change-out programs are a great tool for communities to reduce excessive wood smoke pollution but many programs underperform,” said John Ackerly, President of the Alliance for Green Heat.  “Best practices developed by innovative change-out managers need to be integrated into more programs,” he added.

Key parts of the Online Resource Center for Wood Stove Change-outs include:
This Online Resource Center is the most comprehensive summary of change-out programs in the US with details about their budgets, eligibility requirements and innovative features.  It is based on extensive research of each change-out program and interviews with scores of change-out managers, stove retailers and experts. The Resource Center is an ongoing project that welcomes input and corrections from all stakeholders.  Please send comments to

This Online Resource Center was supported in part by the Osprey Foundation.  Content for the Resource Center was written by Melissa Bollman and John Ackerly, staff at the Alliance for Green Heat.  The Alliance for Green Heat is an independent, non-profit organization that promotes cleaner and more efficient wood and pellet heating.

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