People living in 12 U.S. states can receive financial incentives to reduce excessive wood smoke emissions, lower heat bills and prevent the possibility of dangerous chimney fires through a regional program called The Great Wood Stove & Fireplace Changeout.
This voluntary pollution-reduction program is available in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The program also became available to people living in the Georgian Bay area of Ontario at the end of February. The incentives include discounts from retailers and manufacturers on the purchase of new replacement stoves.
"Many residents who burn wood in this region are using old, inefficient stoves that emit wood smoke, use large volumes of wood and produce lots of creosote," says Pat Donovan of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. "New wood stoves reduce emissions by up to 85 percent and can create the same amount of heat during the winter using 30 percent less wood. They also produce substantially less creosote. All this adds up to cleaner, more cost-effective and safer fire."
While program officials stress that the program’s main goal is to reduce excessive wood smoke impacting the region’s air and water quality, they also encourage residents interested in saving time and money to take advantage of the program.
Gary Boelter, co-owner of The Fire Place LTD of Milwaukee, has been pleased by the response to the program from his customers. Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources offers an additional $250 rebate for purchases. In the first two weeks, Boelter sold half a dozen new stoves to participants, and more than half of those were installed sales.
"We’ve had about 25 phone calls about this so far," Boelter says. "The program has been well-publicized. We featured it at the local home-improvement show."
To qualify for the financial incentive, residents must visit a participating hearth retailer, relinquish their old wood stove or fireplace insert and select a new appliance by April 30, 2001. All installations must be complete before July 1, 2001. All old wood stoves then will be trucked to a local recycling facility at the program’s expense where they will be recycled for use in new steel products.
For more information about The Great Wood Stove & Fireplace Changeout, call toll free at (877) 81-STOVE or visit www.woodstovechangeout.org.