Prepared for the Wood Stove Design Challenge by the Alliance for Green Heat
Q. How many homes use wood heat and where are they?
There are about 12 million households that heat wood and pellet stoves of which about 2.3% use it as a primary or sole heat source. The top 10 states that have Congressional districts with the highest number of wood and pellet heaters are, in descending order: Maine, Vermont, Arizona, Michigan, Montana, California, Wisconsin, Oregon, New Mexico and New York. The large majority of wood heaters are in rural and suburban areas. US Census data shows that only 3% of homes that use wood as a primary heating source are in urban areas. 39% were in suburban areas and 58% were in rural areas.
Q. How clean can wood heat get?
Residential wood and pellet heating is getting cleaner and has the potential to become far cleaner still. The difference between a clean stove and a dirty stove is partially how the operator uses it. One of the main motivations behind the Wood Stove Design Challenge is to encourage more automation so that stoves are more assured to run clean, despite the operator’s behavior. EPA regulations are likely to require wood stoves to be far cleaner five years from now, but they will still be vulnerable to misuse in the hands of consumers unless innovation can begin to mitigate that problem.