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Burlington, VT Bans Outdoor Wood Fires - Again!

21 October 2020

The Burlington, VT City Council has banned backyard wood burning fire pits (again). No more S'mores due to concerns about air pollution. 

Meanwhile, the same city council is expected to impose a carbon tax on new gas furnaces in order to convince more people to hook up to electric heat. 

This is the same electric heat that caused Burlington, VT residents to flee an apartment complex because the temperature inside didn’t get above 45 degrees in December. 

This is also the same electricity that comes from the city-owned utility that is fed by the city-owned wood burning power plant. 

This is the same wood burning power plant that operates at just 24% efficiency and is the largest emitter of CO2 in Vermont.

Governor Baker, New England Governors Call for Modernization of Regional Electricity System

15 October 2020

Five Northeast Governors Seek Reform of Market Design, Transmission Planning, and Governance Needed to Achieve States’ Mandates for Clean, Affordable, and Reliable Power

BOSTON — Recognizing the critical role that New England’s regional wholesale electricity market plays in addressing climate change and cost-effectively reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Governors from four Northeast states today issued a statement calling for reforms needed to achieve their states’ respective goals for clean, affordable, and reliable electricity.   

“To meet to our Administration’s goal of net zero emissions in Massachusetts by 2050, the Commonwealth needs a regional electricity system that can support the delivery of clean, affordable, and reliable energy to residents and businesses,” said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. “My administration looks forward to working with our partner states, ISO-New England and stakeholders to build a more transparent, modern and cost-effective power system that will allow New England states to meet our ambitious climate change and clean energy goals while creating a better future for our residents.”

The statement, signed by Governor Baker, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Maine Governor Janet Mills, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, and Vermont Governor Phil Scott, calls for reform of the regional electricity market design, transmission planning process, and the governance of the ISO-New England, the independent system operator for the New England power system.  A Vision document outlining specific areas for reform will be released later this week through the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE), a non-profit entity that represents the collective perspective of the New England states in regional electricity matters. 

“When Connecticut deregulated our electricity sector, we were promised competition, lower risk for ratepayers, more affordable electricity, and a system that respects and accommodates our clean energy mandates,” said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. “What we got is a system that has actively hindered our efforts to decarbonize the grid, and imposed burdensome costs on Connecticut ratepayers to fix market design failures. Working together with our neighboring states, I’m committed to achieving a regional electricity grid that provides the affordable, clean, and reliable electricity that Connecticut families and businesses deserve.”

“It is far past time that New England reforms how its electric grid is managed,” said Maine Governor Janet Mills. “The wholesale electricity markets must advance and support clean energy laws and policies, as the states demand decarbonization and markets and consumers support more renewables. ISO-New England must keep pace with state priorities and it must be more transparent and accountable in its decision making, broadening its focus to include consumer and environment concerns as well as reliability and cost.”

“Here in Rhode Island, we're committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonizing our future. I’m proud that we're on track to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “In order to meet our shared clean energy goals and aggressively combat climate change, it’s clear we need to take a regional approach.”  

“I’ve long said our work to address climate change can and must also work to make energy more affordable for Vermonters, so I’m pleased to be a part of this regional approach to achieving both of these priorities,” said Vermont Governor Phil Scott. “With a strategic, multi-state approach we can have a greater impact on both climate change mitigation and energy affordability.”

 In the coming months, the states will convene open and accessible forums to ensure that all interested stakeholders have an opportunity to participate in further refinement of the principles of the shared Vision.

NEHPBA: Get Ready for the Wood Burning Season Now

7 October 2020

October 7, 2020


NEHPBA: Get Ready for the Wood Burning Season Now, October is ideal for stove maintenance, wood stockpiling

The Northeast Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association advises preparations for a severe winter. Perform equipment maintenance, stockpile fuel, review wood-burning best practices

Sudbury, MAThe Northeast Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association today issued a pre-winter alert urging households in the New England and New York region to prepare now for the wood-burning season. 

Long-range forecasts call for a severe winter in the Northeast, with lower than average temperatures predicted as well as a potentially major blizzard in February. Over 300,000 homeowners in the Northeast use wood as their primary heating source, with countless others using it as a secondary heating source.

Pre-winter equipment maintenance and cleaning, equipment testing and safety inspections, and stockpiling adequate firewood and wood pellet fuel are critical steps in being prepared for a winter of heavy wood-burning stove or hearth use. Only licensed professionals should perform this work. A comprehensive directory of licensed and verified professionals for wood-burning appliance maintenance is available from NEHPBA.

“Our member retailers and service providers are the most experienced industry professionals in the U.S., and every one of them will say a comprehensive pre-winter routine is critical to safely and efficiently burning wood fuel,” said Joel Etter, President of NEHPBA and Senior Wholesale Account Manager for Hearth & Home Technologies. “October is an ideal time to conduct this routine, and we are advising families and households all over the Northeast how to do this effectively.”

A good checklist for pre-winter inspection and maintenance on wood-burning stoves includes steps such as:

  • Disassemble and closely inspect all stove pipe sections.
  • Empty all soot and debris from interior of pipe sections.
  • Inspect for creosote build-up and use wire brush tool to remove.
  • Clean out firebox completely.
  • Clean glass window on door and inspect closely for cracks.
  • Clean out ash drawer.

Being prepared for the wood-burning season with adequate stockpiles of properly seasoned and properly stored wood fuel is also a critical step in a good pre-winter routine. All wood fuel should be seasoned for at least six months, stored outdoors and kept up off the ground with a tarp or other covering on top of each stack to minimize absorption of moisture.

A wood moisture meter is also a useful tool – as wood burns best with no more than 20 percent moisture. Buying and burning locally cut firewood also decreases the risk of transporting invasive insects and other pests to your property.

There are a broad range of useful information resources for best practices in burning wood fuel available through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Burn Wise program

“We are about to enter the most important time of the year for our industry – as the process of heating with wood fuel can be challenging and even daunting without the best guidance and expertise,” said Karen Luther, Executive Director of NEHPBA. “New England and New York area households benefit from diverse energy choices, and more households are choosing wood-burning appliances every year.”

NEHPBA and the entire industry are working together with other businesses as well as consumers to ensure that a range of energy choices continue to be available in the Northeast – that includes natural gas, propane and oil heat systems as well as wood-burning appliances.

About the Northeast Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association

Since 1985, the Northeast Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (NEHPBA) has represented the interests of the hearth industry in the Northeast.  NEHPBA was originally incorporated in January 1985 as the Northeast Solid Fuel Alliance (NESFA) in recognition of the unique demands of business in the Northeast. In June of 1992, NESFA members voted to become the first affiliated member of the national Hearth Products Association (HPA) and became the Northeast Hearth Products Association (NEHPA). In 2002, NEHPA became the Northeast Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (NEHPBA) in conjunction with the merger of the national HPA with the Barbecue Industry Association to become the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), thus recognizing the diversification of the modern industry.  The NEHPBA name has remained since 2002.

Incentive program launched to swap out old wood stoves in Cumberland County ME

6 October 2020

The American Lung Association is offering a voucher worth $1,000 to those who replace their high-polluting wood stove with a cleaner-burning one.

Homeowners who live in Cumberland County and own  inefficient wood stoves can apply for a voucher worth $1,000 toward a new  stove certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as part of  the Cumberland County Wood Stove Changeout Program, announced Tuesday by the American Lung Association.

The program aims to improve outdoor and indoor air quality by removing older, high-polluting wood stoves and replacing them with cleaner-burning, EPA-certified wood, pellet or gas stoves.

Cumberland County homeowners with a wood stove not certified by the EPA can apply for a limited number of available vouchers.

The vouchers include:

  • $1,000 toward a new, certified wood stove.
  • $1,500 for switching from a hydronic heater (boiler) to a certified wood stove.
  • $2,000 for a certified pellet, gas stoves or heat pump, if changing from wood stove or hydronic heater.
  • $3,000 for income-qualified participants, for certified wood, pellet, gas stoves or a heat pump.
  • $4,000 toward replacement of an old, hydronic heater with a new EPA Phase II hydronic heater or Energy Star gas furnace; $5,000 for replacement if the homeowner is below a certain income threshold.

“Replacing older, high-polluting stoves with new ones is an important way for communities to reduce harmful particle pollution and improve air quality,” said Michelle Edwards, the program’s coordinator for the Lung Association in Maine. “The American Lung Association has long been committed to reducing residents’ exposure to wood smoke, and we are proud to continue these efforts in Cumberland County.”

Since 2010, the Lung Association successfully implemented 11 wood stove change-out programs throughout the Northeast, resulting in over 1,000 change-outs to EPA-certified heating sources.

Particle pollution is made of soot or tiny particles that come from combustion. Such particles can lodge themselves deep in the lungs and trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes.

Applications for the vouchers are available online or at participating stores. Once people receive their voucher, they will have 30 days to enter into a purchase agreement with one of the retailers. The retailer then installs the new stove and recycles and makes the old stove inoperable.

In Cumberland County, participating retailers are Embers Stoves and Fireplaces in South Portland, Frost and Flame in Gorham, Goggins Energy in Portland and McVety’s Hearth and Home in Yarmouth. The Lung Association is collaborating on the effort with the Northeast Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association.

For more program details, go to Lung.org/woodstove or call 800-­548-­8252.

BY TUX TURKELSTAFF WRITER/https://www.pressherald.com/

October is National Fireplace Month

1 October 2020

This fireplace season, it’s likely consumers will be spending more time at home than ever before. With uncertainty swirling outside our homes, the hearth is truly the center of warmth, comfort and relaxation in our lives.

This year for #NationalFireplaceMonth, HPBA is conducting a national media relations and social media campaign called “Home is Where the Hearth Is” encouraging people to make the most of their fireplaces this season.

“Home is Where the Hearth Is” will inform consumers on how to prep their fireplaces for the season; encourage they work with specialty retailers and NFI-certified specialists; offer tips on making the most of the fireplace during these uncertain times; provide a playlist of the best songs to enjoy fireside; and, even ask people to share “awkward family photos” together by the fire.

We hope you can take part.  We encourage you to share our press release and share these posts throughout October on your channels.  Or, follow the HPBA social media pages on Facebook and Instagram pages and on the NEHPBA Facebook page and share. Remember, always use the hashtag #NationalFireplaceMonth.

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Members of the Northeast Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (NEHPBA) and its regional Affiliates are the leading companies that produce, sell, or service appliances and accessories in the hearth and barbecue industries in North America. Join today to take advantage of all the benefits your company will receive.