CHENANGO COUNTY – A voluntary agreement between manufacturers and the federal government could make outdoor wood-burning furnaces up to 70 percent cleaner, officials with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.
The EPA released details of the first step in the finalized partnership Monday, and they say that by the spring cleaner and more efficient outdoor units should be available to consumers.
“This partnership, along with efforts from Northeast states, will provide consumers with a choice to purchase cleaner outdoor wood heaters and communities with tools to take action now,” said Bill Wehrum, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “Beginning this spring, consumers can look for the orange hang tag to identify new wood heaters that are both more efficient and less polluting.”
In response to high energy costs, the use of outdoor wood heaters has become more prevalent in Chenango County and other rural areas across New York state in recent years.
Chenango County Farm Bureau President Bradd Vickers contends wood burning is beneficial to a rural community’s economy because the source is local and renewable.
“As long as we take proper care of the forests, we can continue heating with wood forever without depleting the earth’s natural resources,” Vickers said.