Mark Klein, president and CEO of IHP, states that the company welcomes efforts by the EPA to update standards for the hearth industry that encourage cleaner products for the environment. However, IHP has concerns that the proposed wood heater standards would substantially increase the price of hearth appliances for customers without proof of real-world, clean-air benefits. IHP was recently compelled to participate in EPA hearings held February 26, 2014, in Boston, to voice these concerns.
“In spite of its best intentions, the EPA proposes particulate emission limits that are not cost effectively achievable for hearth manufacturers in light of new changes to proposed testing methods,” says Klein. The changes will require unjustifiable increases in product costs that the market might not be able to bear. As a result, it will threaten jobs and burden consumers with unnecessary costs for products.
Making products cleaner burning that were already certified by an earlier EPA rule, will not appreciably impact wood smoke pollution. Increased incentives to change out older, dirtier burning products that pre-date the earlier EPA rule, or redirecting efforts to impose similar regulation on wood-burning fireplaces not currently under consideration for regulation, would have greater impact.
“There are millions of standard wood-burning fireplaces that could be economically modified with devices that significantly diminish the particulate emissions,” says Klein. This technology exists today and offers a greater reduction of wood smoke pollution with substantially less economic impact. The same technology is also available for wood boilers that produce elevated amounts of wood smoke.
IHP encourages the EPA to look at this more attractive benefit with lower cost, compared to the overreaching burden the rule will parlay to manufacturers and consumers. The negative impact it will have on affordable wood-burning stoves and inserts will prevent consumers from using them as a heating option and potentially damage many small fireplace and stove companies.
“To be clear, our industry does not oppose new emission standards,” says Klein. “There are portions of the proposed standards that we can support. We want to make sure that some of these future standards produce a real clean-air benefit that consumers can afford.”
For information about Innovative Hearth Products, visit the company’s website at www.ihp.us.com.