Tom Fournier, manager of HearthWorks Centers in North Reading, heartily approves of the new round of Commonwealth’s Woodstove Change-out Program the state announced yesterday.

“I think it’s a great program,” he said. “We could use something like this.”

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan yesterday announced a new round of the Commonwealth’s Woodstove Change-out Program, committing up to $1 million to assist residents in replacing their inefficient woodstoves for healthier, higher-efficiency models.

“The Patrick Administration is committed to supporting programs that allow everyone — from residents to businesses to municipalities — to get involved in our clean energy initiatives,” said Sullivan. “These newer stoves save families money every month and lead to cleaner air for all citizens of the Commonwealth.”

Fournier said he thought the program was “innovative.”

“I think it’s a great way for people to get more up-to-date stoves and ones that are better for the environment,” he said.

The program, first launched last winter, provides vouchers of $750 or $2,000 to Massachusetts residents looking to trade in their existing non-U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified stoves for models that use less wood and release less pollution into the air.

Fournier said HearthWorks Centers was a big participant of last year’s program.

“We took part in it last year. A lot of customers took advantage of the program which is great,” he said.

He didn’t know how many vouchers were traded in but he said it was well into the hundreds.

The Commonwealth Woodstove Change-out Program is administered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), and funded jointly by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and MassCEC.

“Clean energy adoption comes in many shapes and sizes, and this program allows residents to participate in Massachusetts’ thriving clean energy economy by choosing to upgrade their woodstoves,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton. “We’re excited to build upon the success of last year’s program and continue helping residents take control of their energy use right in their own homes.”

Fournier said stoves older than 1988 are known to be less eco-friendly.

“They didn’t have the same standards and regulations then,” he said. “The fumes are certainly stronger. New models are more efficient in that regard.”

HearthWorks Centers offers a large variety of fireplaces and stoves from various manufacturers in numerous sizes and styles. They also have locations in New Hampshire.

“We have the most up to date stoves that meet current day standards,” Fournier said. “We are happy to accept vouchers this time around as well.”

To qualify, residents must have an existing woodstove to trade in and must receive approval for a rebate before purchasing the woodstove. A woodstove purchased before a rebate is awarded, is not eligible for the program. Residents can apply for a voucher by submitting a paper application or online application.

Access the online application, and more information on the program, by visiting www.masscec.com/woodstove. Once an application is approved, MassCEC will issue a voucher which can be redeemed at any participating woodstove dealer in Massachusetts for a discount on the retail price of the stove. MassCEC will then reimburse retailers for the value of the voucher.

Low-income residents who provide proof of enrollment in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), MassHealth or Women, Infants and Children (WIC) are eligible for a $2,000 rebate, while other Massachusetts residents are eligible for a $750 rebate.

MassCEC is accepting applications until March 4, 2014, at which time properly-completed applications will be evaluated and qualified for vouchers.

Source: Eagle Tribune