Town may ban outdoor wood-fired furnaces

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Town may ban outdoor wood-fired furnaces

Postby Wilberforce » Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:54 pm

Town may ban outdoor wood-fired furnaces
Written by Macklin Reid
Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Vermont farmers’ solution to soaring heating oil prices may not be a welcome neighbor in the
two-acre suburbs, where McMansions are clustered like stone-veneer dandelions.

“I just got an oil delivery. It was $5 a gallon. How can people afford that?” said Town Planner Betty Brosius.

“And yet, these wood burning furnaces, because they produce so much smoke, are not appropriate for
a dense residential area.”

A proposed zoning ordinance prohibiting “outdoor wood-burning furnaces” goes to a public hearing next
Tuesday, July 1, starting at 7:30 in the town annex by Yanity gym.

These outdoor furnaces, also called outdoor wood-fired boilers, aren’t wood stoves or fireplaces inside
a house, they’re freestanding affairs.

“A shed-like structure sits 20 or 30 feet out into the yard, and there are heated pipes of water that go
into the house,” Ms. Brosius said.

The town’s proposed ordinance says such an “accessory structure or appliance” may by “the burning of
wood or solid waste” simple provide heat or be used “for heating domestic, swimming pool, hot tub or
Jacuzzi water.”

There is at least one such outdoor wood furnace in town, according to Building Official Bill Reynolds,
and one in Wilton is visible from Route 33.

Rural areas

“These furnaces are being looked at by more people now, because of the cost of oil,” said Ms. Brosius.

“You see them a lot in more rural areas,” she said. “...To have them located in a more densely populated
area can be dangerous to people’s health.”

The concern is the smoke.

The state Department of Environmental Protection says:

“Smoke from wood burning can have serious health consequences. Wood smoke consists of small
airborne particles ... that can become lodged in your lungs making breathing difficult and leading to
more serious short-term and chronic health problems for certain sensitive populations...”

That would be folks with asthma, respiratory problems, heart conditions, kids or seniors.

The town’s proposed regulation says: “Outdoor wood burning furnaces, by their very nature and use,
are likely to create pollution of the air and also likely to be hazardous to the health, safety and welfare
of residents in Ridgefield...”

The state Department of Environmental Protection requires that outdoor wood-burning furnaces be at
least 200 feet from the nearest residence, with smokestack that is “higher than the roof peak of any
residence within 500 feet, but not more than 55 feet high.”

The town proposes taking a simpler approach, and banning them altogether.

Ridgefield Press
source article
Town may ban outdoor wood-fired furnaces
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Wilberforce
 
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Postby woodburner » Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:22 am

I think any town that's too densely populated to allow OWBs should seriously look into bring in natural gas. Oil is just plain ridiculous to heat with. I don't think many people in NY where I live are going to be able to continue to heat with it any more.
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Postby MPA » Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:31 am

[quote="woodburner"]I think any town that's too densely populated to allow OWBs should seriously look into bring in natural gas. Oil is just plain ridiculous to heat with. I don't think many people in NY where I live are going to be able to continue to heat with it any more.[/quote]


Well put..... I agree
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Switch to Natural Gas

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:05 pm

Woodburner is right on switching to natural gas! Never thought we would agree on anything but on this, we do. The new NY OWB report by the Atty Gen. says gas is $2/mmbtu and oil is $40/mmbtu. Wow ! In maine, where few towns are connected, natural gas is $15/mmbtu. I suspect the difference between Maine and NY is the age of the infrastructure and the distance away from the gas fields. But natural gas is still half the cost of oil or less. Maine planners missed the boat. The difference is that natural gas is from utilities regulated by the government and oil is not. Oil is subject to speculative hoarding and manipulation like the various bubbles in history such as the tulip craze and the Japanese stock bubble and possibly the U.S. housing bubble.

Texts say gas is projected to be stable in supply and price and it is domestic. Personally, I like the idea of tapping into free solar energy streaming through all of our windows that can be utilized best with insulating shutters, shades and popout panels with multiple plastic skins or even bubble plastic in some applications for window insulation. Wood is best pyrolyzed into gas or oil, in my opinion. A state planner in Maine says it is economical now but anything would be compared to oil. The bubble should come down like the last one but Bush and Cheney appear to like high oil prices. I hope Obama can get elected to get oil men out of the white house and stop the big oil business and big business corruption. McCain would be better too.
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