Expanded wood stove exchange program helps clear the air

Communities throughout the province are getting help to replace old, smoky woodstoves with cleaner technologies, so people do not have to choose between warm homes and cleaner air.

Woodstoves can create significant local air pollution, increasing particulate matter in the air. That pollution, also known as PM2.5, causes a variety of health problems. That is why the Province has expanded its Provincial Wood Stove Exchange Program, which helps people trade old woodstoves for cleaner-burning models such as gas, propane, pellet-heating or – cleaner yet – electric models. This year, $300,000 is going to 15 British Columbia communities – up from $200,000 in previous years.

“This worthwhile program shows we can tackle air pollution while making life more affordable,” says George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in a news release. “It makes it easier for people to upgrade a central feature of their homes while staying warm and reducing carbon and other forms of pollution.”

Eligible British Columbians can apply for the following incentives:

* $250 for changing to a cleaner-burning wood stove; and

* $400 for changing to a qualifying electric heat pump, gas or propane stove, or pellet-fuelled stove.

Since 2008, B.C. communities have received more than $3 million through the Provincial Wood Stove Exchange Program, helping replace almost 8,000 old stoves with cleaner-burning options. The program is administered by the British Columbia Lung Association, which also educates the public about alternatives to wood stoves.

“This program has helped remove tonnes of particulates from the air, while raising awareness about the dangers of burning wood,” said Christopher Lam, CEO, B.C. Lung Association. “People throughout the province now understand that wood smoke can cause harm.”

Fifteen of the communities that have been approved for funding are continuing their programs from previous years, with the qathet Regional District joining for the first time.

Learn More:

Provincial Wood Stove Exchange Program: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/air/air-pollution/smoke-burning/exchange

BC Lung Association educational resources, including a pamphlet about wood stoves: https://bc.lung.ca/lung-health/patient-educations-support/order-info-resources