Houston stove swap to cut combustion, save cash

Residents can get $900 voucher for trading in wood stoves

District of Houston residents are eligible for a rebate if they swap their wood-burning stove for a more energy-efficient appliance, as part of a program that is meant to reduce air pollution.

Residents who retire their log-burning unit in exchange for something cleaner — examples include pellet stoves, electric heat pumps, propane or gas stoves and newer wood stoves certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — can qualify for a rebate worth up to $900.

There is a limited number of vouchers available, with funds for at least 20 rebates in Houston, said Sue Brookes, coordinator of the Bulkley Valley Lakes District (BVLD) Airshed Management Society.

Money from the BVLD Airshed Management Society — sponsored by the BC Ministry of the Environment — is being topped up by the District of Houston, with the latter providing $3,000 for the initiative.

“It’s meant to provide an additional incentive for people to take out their uncertified wood stoves, and replace them with newer, more efficient stoves,” said Gerald Pinchbeck, chief administrative officer for the district. “The whole initiative is targeted at reducing emissions from wood smoke in the District of Houston.”

The program follows a study by the provincial ministry indicating that Houston is one of four communities in northern B.C. with higher-than-recommended levels of airborne particulate matter.

Locals wanting to get the most out of the rebate have to attend a “Burn It Smart” workshop, which takes place in Houston on March 22. This workshop will involve tips about cleaner burning, along with information about proper installation, operation and maintenance of stoves, said Brookes.

Showing up for the evening course adds $250 to the value of the exchange, for a total of $750 for those who opt for an EPA-certified wood stove, and $900 for those who give up on the old-fashioned crackling logs for something greener. For details on the program — including the paperwork to fill out — contact Sue Brookes at coordinator@cleanairplan.ca.

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