Feb 19 2015
The EPA, Environmental Protaction Agency, has released new emission rules aimed at reducing pollution from wood burning heaters.
About two percent of New Yorkers heat their homes with wood, according to NYSERDA. However, it’s estimated that one outdoor wood boiler puts out the same amount of pollution as 250,000 thousand modern oil boilers. Seven states including New York, filed a lawsuit against the EPA two years ago, forcing the Environmental Protection Agency to take action on standards that had not been updated in almost 25 years. The new EPA standards don’t cover wood heaters that are already in people’s homes. However, New York State is providing incentives to get homeowners to switch.
“Wood heat is the biggest contributor to particulate matter in New York State,” explained Mark Watson of NYSERDA. “The new source performance standard that just came out yesterday was a result of that lawsuit,” said Watson.
The new standards cover wood stoves, pellet stoves, wood boilers — indoor and outdoor. Beginning this year, manufacturers are required to produce wood heaters that are more efficient and less polluting.
The wood and pelletboiler manufacturer Evoworld out of Troy says its boilers already meet those standards.
“We have something called secondary combustion where the smoke that actually being emitted from the fire is burned,” said Lou Okonski of Evoworld.
It’s technology that came out of Europe where the heaters have sensors and lots of controls that burn the wood at almost 100 percent efficiency.
“If you think of burning wood as a campfire that traditionally people would think of, there’s very little control in that. That’s where the old technology was,” Okonski explained.
Facts about the new EPA standards
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set new source performance standards (NSPS) for categories of stationary sources of pollution that cause, or significantly contribute to, air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare. The agency’s final rule announced today, Feb 04 2015, updates the 1988 standards for woodstoves and sets the first-ever federal standards for hydronic heaters, wood-fired forced air furnaces (also called warm-air furnaces), pellet stoves and a previously unregulated type of woodstove called a single burn-rate stove. These standards do not cover fireplaces, fire pits, pizza ovens, barbecues or chimineas.