Serving Eastern Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey

Green Information Page

Fuels

Biomass: Biomass fuels are derived from renewable and sustainable sources such as wood, pellets, corn and other alternatives. Some biomass fuels are even considered carbon neutral, or better, utilizing waste products from other industries such as cherry pits and sawdust.

Gas: Gas, whether natural gas or propane, remains one of the cleanest burning fuel options due to very low emissions.

Electric: For decorative purposes, an electric fireplace uses very little energy.

Products

Cleaner Products: Wood stoves and fireplace inserts are certified to meet strict U.S. EPA standards that cut emissions by more than 70% compared to older uncertified stoves. An initial study found that indoor air quality inside homes with new, EPA-certified wood stoves was 72% cleaner than those wood stoves manufactured prior to 1992. (Libby, Montana changeout)

Efficiency: Most products are efficiency rated and assigned a score between zero and 100. A higher score means the product does a better job converting fuel into heat rather than sending it up the chimney. Look for the highest efficiency rating in your product category.

Consumers Responsibility

Burn Wood Responsibly: Burning household garbage, plastics or any material that has been chemically treated can release toxins into the air, no matter how new or fuel-efficient a product is. Use only the fuel recommended for your product for the cleanest heat.

Installation and Maintenance: Proper installation, use and maintenance are essential both to safety and to burning clean and green. The National Fireplace Institute (NFI) is an excellent source for certified planners and installers of hearth systems.

Manufacturers

Technology: Fireplace and stove manufacturers are making cleaner-burning, more efficient products for environmentally conscious consumers who want to upgrade or add a new product to their home.

Other Resources

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): A government agency that helps consumers learn what they need to know about selecting a cleaner burning hearth product for your home.

National Association of Home Builders: Some products are included in U.S. Green Building Guidelines such as EPA-certified woodburning (zero-clearance) stoves and direct-vent fireplaces.

Green Your Home

Clean the Air, Inside and Out

  • All of the newest wood stoves are certified to strict EPA standards that cut emissions, both inside and outside, by more than 70% compared to uncertified stoves.

  • Natural gas and propane-fueled stoves and fireplaces are also some of the cleanest burning fuel options available.

  • EPA Phase 2 qualified outdoor wood hydronic heaters, units that burn wood or pellets to provide heat and hot water to homes, are 90% cleaner than unqualified models.

Explore Renewable Fuels Options

Many of today's stoves, fireplaces and inserts are engineered to burn biomass. These fuels are derived from renewable and sustainable sources such as wood, pellets, corn and other alternatives.

Burn Wood Wisely

Although today's fireplaces and stoves are cleaner than their older counterparts, using a newer product is only half the battle.

Burn Wood Responsibly: Don't burn trash or plastics, use only the recommended fuel for the product you have.

Maintain your properly installed product: To ensure a product's efficiency, consumers need to have their product properly installed and maintained.

Green Your Wallet

Do the Math and Compare Costs

As the cost of heating oil and natural gas rise, using an energy-efficient wood or pellet stove combined with the tax credit could help you save money.

Heat in the Zone

People regularly use less than 40% of their home and using a fireplace, stove or insert to warm the rooms used most (zone heating) allows families to heat more efficiently by turning down their central thermostat, which also saves money -- potentially 20-40% of their fuel bill.

Keep Heat Inside Your Home

No matter the product, it is important to keep heat within your home. Make sure that seals around windows and doors are tight and that your house is properly insulated.

Purchase the Most Efficient Product

Most fireplace and stove products are efficiency-rated and assigned a score between zero and 100. Look for the highest efficiency rating -- a higher score means the product can burn less fuel but still heat efficiently and effectively.

Questions Eco-Conscious Consumers Need to Ask

  • To avoid wasting energy heating spaces that are rarely used, how can a fireplace or stove target heat to specific areas of the home? Are there environmental benefits to heating this way?

  • Based on the product I'm interested in, which has the highest efficiency rating?

  • In our region and with my planned usage, what is the greenest fuel available that would leave the smallest carbon footprint? Are biomass fuels a good option for my home and my use?
  • How much fuel should I estimate using in a season (supplementary vs. primary heating source)?

  • To keep things running as cleanly and efficiently as possible, what is the best way to maintain the product?

  • Are there other ways to increase heating efficiency I should consider?

  • How do I recycle my old stove? (NOTE: Old stoves should not be donated or resold)

Source: HPBA