Improving Air Quality
For Immediate Release: Thursday, August 25, 2016
Washington County Launches Wood Stove Exchange Program
Last October, the Washington County Board of Commissioners approved new rules to protect the public's health by reducing wood smoke. The ordinance was designed to raise awareness of wood smoke as a health issue and prevent unnecessary burning when the air quality is particularly poor.
As a continuation of this air quality improvement work, Washington County's Office of Community Development, in partnership with Washington County Department of Health and Human Services, has launched a Wood Stove Exchange Program. Qualifying residents can receive a rebate of $1,500-$3,500 when they replace their old or uncertified wood stove with a cleaner heating device. Some households may qualify for a full-cost (free) replacement, depending on their income.
"The benefits of this exchange program can't be overstated," says Board Chair Andy Duyck. "Not only will our air quality improve, but families who get new heating devices will have a much more efficient heat source to keep them warm."
To be eligible, households must rely on an old or uncertified wood stove or wood stove insert as an essential heat source. Total household income will determine the amount of the rebate and if the applicant qualifies for a free replacement.
Program participants can replace their old wood stove with an electric ductless heat pump, a natural gas stove, a pellet stove or a gas furnace. Those who qualify for a free replacement may also opt for a new EPA-certified wood stove, in addition to the other choices. Program staff can help residents decide which option works best for them.
The County hopes to replace 700 old wood stoves over the next five years, but accomplishing this will depend on available resources.
"While there's no hard deadline for applying, we do encourage people to submit their application sooner rather than later," says Housing Rehabilitation Specialist Tim Davis with Washington County's Office of Community Development. "As with most projects, funding is limited."
The Wood Stove Exchange Program is made possible through collaboration and funding support from program partners, including the American Lung Association in Oregon, Centro Cultural, City of Cornelius, City of Hillsboro, Community Action, Intel, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and Oregon Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association.
Residents are encouraged to sign up to receive air quality and wood burning alerts at www.publicalerts.org. More information about air quality in Washington County can be found at www.co.washington.or.us/air.
Media Contact:Philip Bransford, Communications Officer