July 16, 2018

Announcing 2018 Commonwealth Woodstove Change-out Program

Posted by KathleenLeddy

The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $450,000 in funding for the 2018 Commonwealth Woodstove Change-out Program, which provides rebates to homeowners who replace older, inefficient woodstoves with cleaner, EPA-certified wood and pellet stove models that use less fuel and reduce energy costs. The announcement was made by state energy and environment officials during a tour of the Fireplace Showcase in Seekonk.

Launched in 2012, the Commonwealth Woodstove Change-Out Program is administered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), with assistance from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER).

The program has helped more than 2,000 residents swap out dirty, inefficient stoves for newer, cleaner models, with nearly 600 of these rebates going to low- and moderate-income residents. In an increased effort to promote air quality, all newly installed stoves will meet a more stringent emissions standard to help ensure that stoves installed under the program reflect best-in-class technologies.

EPA-certified stoves on average require one-third less wood than older models to produce the same amount of heat, while releasing 70 to 90 percent less particulate matter, which has been shown to exacerbate health conditions like asthma, heart disease and lung cancer. Residents installing new stoves can expect to save an average of $5,000 over the lifetime of the stove. Each woodstove switched out for a newer model is equivalent to eliminating the particulate emissions from five old diesel trucks.

While the majority of program participants purchase new woodstoves, over 30 percent opted for pellet stoves in 2017. In addition to burning very cleanly, these modern appliances automatically feed fuel into the fire, and many have built-in thermostats that allow owners to adjust the room temperature just as they can with central heating systems.

Standard rebates range from $1,000 to $1,750, depending on the emission levels and type of stove purchased. Continuing the state’s effort to make clean energy accessible to more Massachusetts residents, the program offers residents who meet certain income requirements rebates up to an additional $1,500.

In 2017, MassCEC introduced an efficiency adder for newly installed stoves that achieve high efficiency ratings. This efficiency incentive was extremely effective in promoting best-in-class technologies; almost half of all new stove installations in 2017 achieved a high efficiency rating, compared to only 22% achieving this efficiency in 2016.

To qualify for a rebate, a resident must have an operational, non-EPA-certified woodstove. To apply, the resident should visit a participating woodstove retailer or contact a participating stove professional such as a chimney sweep, who will handle the rebate application process on the residents’ behalf. Residents can find a local participating woodstove professional by viewing the list of woodstove dealers who have registered to participate. At the end of 2017, the American Lung Association began offering vouchers for woodstove changeouts in selected counties in western Massachusetts (Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire). Change-outs funded through this voucher program are not eligible to receive the MassCEC rebate.

Rebate applications will be accepted until August 28, 2018.

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