Baker-Polito Administration Announces Funding for Woodstove Rebate Program

The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $450,000 in funding for the 2019 Commonwealth Woodstove Change-out Program, which provides rebates to homeowners who replace older, inefficient woodstoves with cleaner, EPA-certified wood and pellet stoves that use less fuel, reduce energy costs and improve air quality. The announcement was made by state energy and environment officials during a tour of The Fire Place in Whately. 

“The Woodstove Change-Out Program improves air quality across the Commonwealth and helps residents save money by adopting more efficient, cost-cutting heating technologies,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We look forward to continuing to support homeowners who swap out old, inefficient woodstoves for cleaner, EPA-certified technologies.”

“By replacing older, polluting woodstoves with more efficient models, we can decrease pollution and take important steps toward achieving ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.  

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 Energy Resources (DOER) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

“The Woodstove Change-Out Program is a great example of state agencies collaborating to provide the opportunity for Massachusetts residents to take advantage of newer, more efficient heating technologies,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “As we work to meet our carbon reduction goals, this program has the added benefits of lower costs for Massachusetts homeowners and cleaner air in our communities.”

The program has helped more than 2,300 residents swap out dirty, inefficient stoves for newer, cleaner models, with 50 percent of funding going to low-income residents. In an effort to promote air quality, all newly installed stoves are required to exceed federal emissions standards. The program has also increased its incentive to support stoves that have proven high efficiencies.

“We are pleased to offer these rebates to help Massachusetts residents adopt highly efficient, EPA-certified woodstoves,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “The Woodstove Changeout program has been a tremendous success, helping 2,300 residents replace old, inefficient woodstoves, and we look forward to helping more residents across the Commonwealth take advantage of the benefits offered by these technologies.”

“DOER is proud to support the Woodstove Change-Out program, providing Massachusetts homeowners the opportunity to heat their homes with clean, affordable, and highly efficient heating systems,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “By reducing both greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions, this program allows residents across the Commonwealth to play a part in meeting our emissions reduction goals while receiving direct health and cost benefits.”

“This program is a great example of how state agencies work together to support our clean air and sustainability goals,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “The quality of life in our communities and the health of our citizens is improved when older woodstoves are retired through this program and replaced with lower-emission models.”

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. 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, 39 percent opted for pellet stoves in 2018. 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 $500 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 of an additional $1,500.

MassCEC offers an efficiency adder for newly installed stoves that achieve highest efficiency ratings. This efficiency incentive, first offered in 2018, was extremely effective in promoting best-in-class technologies; approximately half of all new stove installations in 2018 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 across the state can find a local participating woodstove professional by viewing the list of woodstove dealers who have registered to participate.

Rebate applications will be accepted until August 5, 2019.

“This program is a textbook definition of a win-win,” said Massachusetts Forest Alliance Executive Director Chris Egan. “The consumer gets a more efficient stove that helps them save on fuel, while the community gets cleaner air. We strongly support this important program.”

“The Woodstove Changeout program benefits whole communities because it works to improve air quality and new stoves warm homes for less money,” said Northeast Hearth Patio & BBQ Association Executive Director Karen L. Luther. “Also, this program supports the local economy. This is a win-win.”

Funding for this year’s program comes from DOER’s Alternative Compliance Payments and MassCEC’s Renewable Energy Trust. The trust was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1997 and is funded by a systems benefit charge paid by electric customers of investor-owned utilities in the state as well as funding from municipal electric departments that have opted to participate in the program.

This funding builds upon the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing efforts to support the Commonwealth’s vibrant clean energy industry, including recently securing 9,450,000MWh of hydroelectric energy and 800MW of offshore wind energy, the largest procurement in offshore wind by any state in the country. In August, Governor Baker signed legislation that will ensure Massachusetts remains a national leader in clean energy while reducing costs to ratepayers. The bill, An Act to Advance Clean Energy (H.4857), includes the Governor’s proposal to create the first Clean Peak Standard in the country, increases the Commonwealth’s energy storage target to 1,000 megawatt hours (MWh), increases the Renewable Portfolio Standard, expands the Mass Save® programs to allow for strategic electrification and other clean energy technologies, and authorizes the Department of Energy Resources to require an additional 1,600 megawatt (MW) of offshore wind to be procured by the electric distribution companies in Massachusetts.

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