Improving emissions of woodburning appliances.

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Improving emissions of woodburning appliances.

Postby Neanderthal » Tue Mar 20, 2007 5:25 pm

I would like to attempt to bring the wood burners, and the against wood burners not together, happily dancing arm in arm. But maybe a tad more on the same page. We can go on & on about the same arguments over & over. And its getting no one anywhere.
Here is my thought I'd like to pose to everyone:
I believe it will be almost impossible for a wide spread ban on wood burning stoves at least. But, what if, ALL wood burning appliances had to meet strict EPA standards. Most modern wood burning stoves & inserts do.
What if......
OWB's HAD to be compliant to a certain emission level say equal to a modern wood stove compliance level?
What if... Wood burning stoves kept evolving with technologies that would and some actually are with less than 1GPH emission rate? And a campaign of some sort to teach & educate owners of such wood burning appliances, how to maintain & upkeep their stoves, etc. so that they keep their low emissions ratings?
I know for those of you against wood burning, the ultimate would be a ban on all. But, hypothetically, if you couldn't get the ban you seek. How would you feel about EPA regulation on all these appliances INCLUDING OWB's?
I feel although it may not win the war, it might win an important battle that most non woodburners & responsible wood burners alike would surely agree upon?
Although I hate to see a ban on anything of this sort, WOULD definitely like to see OWB manufacturers have to step up to the plate and bring those smoke dragons up to standards of the new EPA phase 2 as the stoves & inserts are.
I feel this could be common ground among both sides and would like to see the majority at least agree on something to make some headway. The arguing back & forth gets tiresome and old at some point. I just thought that maybe there could be common ground for both sides to share and maybe agree on something. Its a starting point anyway.
Now before anyone from either side, destroys this post into a back & forth fight of the same over & over data & arguments. I ask you all please just think about the points I present and give an honest calm answer, without all the BS attached. If you can't, I ask nicely to please refrain from posting in this thread. I am curious to see if we can agree on at least one thing. It would be nice to see some calm, friendlier conversation for a change.
Bohdi, I see you have acknowledged good points on either side. I applaud your efforts. I'd really like to see some, just a little if any positive dialogue between the two sides.
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Postby bodhi » Tue Mar 20, 2007 5:44 pm

i laud you for your effort.
i think you are correct. less is more. whatever we can do to make breathing safer will be a positive move.
there are many considerations and it is certain that no progress can be made while exchanging insults.
i also think arguing over data is a waste of time and energy.
science can stand up for itself. it needs no one to defend it, it doesn't matter which side of the fence it supports.
count me in.
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Postby FriendofAir » Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:37 pm


I concur, and I do see a lot of common ground between the two sides. Of course, it's not really the burning of wood that is the issue, it's the emissions. And on this point, both sides are taking the environmental high ground.

Hopefully technology will continue to improve and reduce emissions, I have no doubt that it will. An interesting question would be how good do the stoves have to get until no one complains and health is not compromised. Some think we are already there, others believe the second hand smoke is not good in any amount.

Where does one draw the line. Some people can smoke cigarettes and live a long and healthy life, others (especially asthmatics) have a coughing fit when exposed to smoke. Heck, some people can die from ingesting a benign substance like the tiniest amount of peanut butter.

This is not a one-size-fits-all people or all communities.

I think another area that most can agree upon is a reduction or prohibition of recreational wood burning in populated areas using fire pits and fireplaces. In many places, it's a fad gone wild. It is an obvious detriment to neighborhood air quality for the sake of ambiance. To me, this is a no-brainer.
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Postby Harley » Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:20 am

Some very good points made, good job, Neanderthal.

There certainly should be some "middle ground" we can start to move toward, even if everyone doesn't get completely on the same page. Woodburners must, and I believe have acknowledged, that there are some bad practices out there, but that being said, I really do believe that the vast majority of woodburners use very safe, and environmentally sound burning practices. After all, most of us who heat with wood primarily do so to economically heat our homes. A lot of smoke is just wasteful, and means money up the chimney.

From this side of the fence, the work needs to perhaps focus on continued clean burning habits, including maintenance and repair of the stoves to ensure their operational efficiency. This may also include working on standards for cleaner emissions for some of the more "offensive" types of wood burning appliances (to me, it only seems the largest "offenders" discussed here are, OWB's, fireplaces and firepits). From the industry, it would be good to see some of thier lobbying efforts into working with the EPA and designing cleaner burning OWB's, maybe helping or encourageing "swap out" programs for older stoves to newer EPA phase 2 stoves, and even woring to get energy/tax credits for the purchase/installation of clean burning stoves and appliances.

From the "other side" of the fence, it would be good to see some continued education about the various types of woodburners. It needs to be understood that a old OWB is not the same as a new woodstove. I believe it would go a long way, rather than to call for complete bans, but to maybe push for reasonable emisssions standards. Sweeping generalizations are usually not relevant to most discussions. Complete bans are not realistic, practical, fair or environmentally sound.

FoA, I like your peanut butter comment. Just to push that example a little further. If a family moves into a town, and one of the members of the family were severly alergic to peanuts, I don't think it would be reasonable to ask the town to completely ban peanuts, do you? The point being, no matter where you go, you will always find someone somewhere who will take offence to something. No matter what - you can't please everybody - life aint perfect. There's extremes on both sides of the argument which probably should not be given a lot of weight.
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