The wood stove changeout campaign is a voluntary program initiated at the local or regional level that provides eligible communities with a mechanism to reduce air pollution caused by wood smoke. Residents of participating communities often receive incentives such as rebates, low/no interest loans and discounts to replace their old, conventional wood stoves and fireplace inserts with cleaner-burning, more efficient EPA-certified gas, pellet, electric or wood stoves and fireplaces. Households that participate in changeouts must surrender their old wood stoves to be recycled.
Recent years have seen a proliferation of cleaner-burning, more energy-efficient hearth products that emit significantly lower levels of particulate matter. To help differentiate these newer, more environmentally-friendly appliances from older ones, EPA has initiated a program to certify freestanding stoves, fireplace inserts and built-in fireplaces that meet stringent air quality and energy efficiency requirements.
Today, consumers enjoy a variety of options for replacing their old stoves, including EPA-certified wood stoves, fireplace inserts, masonry heaters, and stoves that burn gas, pellets, corn, and electricity. The mission of the Wood Stove Changeout program is to install this cleaner, EPA-certified technology into as many households as possible to ensure maximum positive impact in participating communities.
Resources from a model program typically include a combination of government funding and incentives (i.e. rebates or discounts) from manufacturers and retailers. In some cases, participating communities develop supporting regulatory mandates designed to maximize the number of households and businesses that get involved. The key to starting and conducting an effective wood stove changeout campaign is active participation by elected officials, business and community leaders, state and local health and environmental regulatory agencies, and other stakeholders. Successful campaigns also include a strong public awareness component to build community support, and to educate consumers about benefits, getting involved, and available options.
This tool kit includes a section on Starting a Program in Your Community that provides a complete primer for planning and implementing a successful program. The process begins by assessing a variety of factors to determine whether your community is a good candidate for a changeout. If you conclude that a wood stove changeout is right for your community, a successful program should include the following elements:
As you read through this tool kit, you will learn how other communities have followed this formula to successfully conduct changeout programs, and see how you can apply their experiences to your own situation.