Nearly 20% of stoves meet new emission standards; wood boilers lag behind
By John Ackerly and Melissa Bollman, Alliance for Green Heat
Of the 518 wood and pellet stoves currently on the market in the US, 91 or about 18% are certified to the stricter emission standards that are set to take effect on May 15, 2020. In general, smaller companies with fewer models tend to be more prepared for the 2020 deadline than larger companies with many models. Pellet stoves can meet the 2020 emission standards relatively easily, and some companies that make only pellet stoves have fully 2020 compliant product lines. [Update: as of May 2019, 25% of stove models are 2020 certified and now can be easily viewed on the EPA's new searchable database of certified stoves.]
While more and more wood and pellet stoves are meeting the new emission standards, American wood boiler companies are still struggling to make boilers clean enough to be certified to 2020 standards. The wood heater industry appears to be waging legislative and legal battles that will benefit the outdoor wood boiler industry the most. For the wood stove manufacturing community, a sell-through for retailers appears to be the most important type of relief. The Alliance for Green Heat supports no more than a one-year sell-through for wood heater retailers.
Meanwhile, Senators are preparing an amendment or bill that would provide $75 million a year for 6 years for a national change-out program fund, a staggering amount of money that could spur sales of 2020 compliant stoves. The bill also contains a one-year sell-through provision for retailers. Industry is not supporting this amendment as of now, opting for a bill with 3 year delay of NSPS deadlines without any funding for change outs.
One dilemma underlying the transition to stricter standards is that manufacturers are still recertifying virtually all of their stoves with cribwood, not cordwood. Thus, the opportunity to shift toward stricter emission standards with the fuel homeowners use—cordwood—was not achieved with the 2015 NSPS. Even if industry succeeds in getting a 3-year delay for the standards, it is not at all certain that manufacturers will opt to test to cordwood standards. Until one or more states or incentive programs require stoves to be certified with cordwood, there may be little incentive for manufacturers to test with a cordwood protocol.
Stove compliance trends
Several smaller pellet stove manufacturers’ product lines are entirely 2020 compliant. The chart below shows the number of 2020 compliant models produced by smaller stove manufacturers (manufacturers are considered small if they produce between 2 and 10 certified stoves on the EPA list; manufacturers with only one EPA certified wood or pellet stove in production are not included.)
Furnace and boiler compliance trends
The wood and pellet boiler and furnace industries appear to be exhibiting similar patterns. Only ten (9%) boiler models (eight cordwood and two pellet) and one forced-air furnace, a cordwood model by Lamppa, are certified as 2020 compliant, according to the EPA lists which were last updated in June.
Some boiler and furnace manufacturers are planning to stop manufacturing boilers or leading an aggressive campaign not only to delay the 2020 standards but also to significantly weaken emission standards for outdoor and indoor wood boilers.