Sea to Sky Clean Air Society supports stove trade to improve B.C.’s air quality

March 11, 2011

Meagan Robertson
mrobertson@squamishchief.com

Out with the old and in with the new… stove?

The Sea to Sky Clean Air Society (SSCAS) is taking part in a B.C.-wide initiative to help residents save money and heat their homes in a more environmentally friendly manner.

“We want to encourage residents to change out old smoky, inefficient woodstoves to low-emission appliances such as clean-burning wood, gas or pellet stoves that are CSA (Canadian Standards Association) or EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approved,” said Zachery deJong, woodstove exchange co-ordinator.

“By doing so we can reduce emissions, improve air quality and save local homeowners on their heating bills.”

To encourage homeowners to make the switch, SSCAS is offering a $250 rebate to anyone who makes the trade before July 15.

Homeowners in Furry Creek, Britannia Beach, Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, Mount Currie and D’Arcy are invited to participate.

The rebate vouchers for $250 are available on a first-come, first-served basis and there are 150 vouchers available for 2011.

“This is the first time it’s happened in the Sea to Sky Corridor but if it’s a success, it could continue to grow in years to come,” said deJong.

Squamish resident Tanya Clark is one of the first locals to get involved. She’s been renovating her 1970s home for energy efficiency for months and installing a new EPA-approved stove is the next step.

“It costs a bit more to get the brand new appliances but you save a lot of money and decrease your impact on the environment in the long run,” said Clark, adding that she recently put in low-flow toilets.

Stoves can cost $1,500 or more and deJong reminded participants to be aware of installation costs and fire codes.

In addition to the rebate, deJong said the savings continue because newer stoves are more efficient.

“Today’s wood stove models feature improved safety and efficiency,” said deJong.

“They produce almost no smoke, minimal ash, and require less firewood. While older, uncertified stoves release 15 to 30 grams of smoke per hour, new EPA-certified stoves produce only two to seven grams of smoke per hour.”

As a local non-governmental organization committed to improving air quality, deJong said “if we can swap out 150 woodstoves, which is our goal, we can greatly reduce our emissions overall.”

SSCAS has an agreement with the Squamish landfill to recycle the old stoves free of charge once the fire brick is removed.

deJong said the program will also be combined with “Burn It Smart” workshops to educate people on how to properly store, season and burn their wood to obtain higher heating efficiency, save money and reduce emissions. Squamish will host a workshop in the coming months.

“The intention of the program is to improve air quality and fuel efficiency by having the province collaborating as a whole to address this problem,” he said.

The $250 voucher will only be valid if used on stoves purchased at participating retailers who will help fill out the necessary paperwork.

Participating retailers include Squamish Heating and Sheet Metal, Squamish Home Hardware, Joe’s Fireplace Products, Fireplaces and Rona Pemberton.

Interested program participants can learn more by visiting www.seatoskyairquality.ca/woodstoves/ or emailing seatoskywoodstoves@gmail.com