Santa could have less soot to contend with in 15 B.C. communities this Christmas.
These communities are receiving funding from this year’s wood stove exchange program, which helps people replace old, smoky woodstoves with cleaner burning models.
Burning wood creates significant air pollution by increasing particulate matter in the air. Also known as PM2.5, this fine particulate matter can cause health problems. The Wood Stove Exchange Program reduces local air pollution by helping people trade out old woodstoves for electric models or for cleaner-burning ones like gas, propane or pellet heating.
“This program is a step toward further reduction of the harms that can result from wood burning stoves,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “British Columbians, local governments, the Province and health experts all work together on this program that reduces carbon and other forms of pollution by switching to cleaner burning stoves or different technologies entirely.”
Eligible British Columbians can apply for the following incentives:
- $250 for changing to a cleaner-burning wood stove;
- $400 for changing to a qualifying electric heat pump, gas or propane stove, or pellet-fuelled stove; and
- $500 for those who live in “Red Zone” communities, which are areas where fine particulate matter exceeds the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards. Residents there can use the money to change to a heat pump, gas or propane stove, or pellet-fuelled stove.
The annual program has helped replace more than 8,000 old stoves with cleaner options. Since 2008, the Provincial Wood Stove Exchange Program has provided more than $3 million. This year’s fund will distribute $300,000 through the British Columbia Lung Association, which also educates the public about alternatives to wood stoves.
“This program continues to help remove particulates from the air, while raising awareness about the dangers of burning wood,” said Christopher Lam, CEO, B.C. Lung Association. “People throughout our province should understand that wood smoke can cause significant harm.”
Fourteen communities that have previously been approved for funding have successfully reapplied, and the Village of Valemount is participating for the first time. In addition to those 15 recipients, five regions have funds left over from last year and will continue to distribute rebates to residents.
- In British Columbia, all new wood stoves and inserts sold must meet Canadian Standards Association or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emission standards.
- Always use dry, well-seasoned wood cut into pieces that are 10 to 15 centimetres in diameter. Burning “green” or wet wood produces significantly more smoke.
- Firewood should be seasoned for at least six months. Burning seasoned wood saves money by reducing wood consumption by 25%.
- By burning smaller, hotter fires to ensure complete combustion of the wood, very little smoke should be visible coming from the chimney with no smell of smoke indoors.
- Wood-burning appliances should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year by a certified technician.
Provincial Wood Stove Exchange Program:
B.C. Lung Association educational resources, including a pamphlet about wood stoves:
A backgrounder follows.