Project Stove Swap Launched to Help Environment, Economy, and Communities

January 31, 2017 10:23 PM

If you have an older wood stove, and are considering upgrading, listen up.

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Project Stove Swap has been launched. It's an effort to swap out old, inefficient wood burning stoves with newer models that save money, reduce air pollution, increase safety and contribute to the local economy.

The swap is managed by Minnesota nonprofit Environmental Initiative, in partnership with Minnesota Power.

The project offers financial incentives for residents, small businesses, and nonprofits in 17 Northeastern Minnesota counties to replace obsolete or inefficient wood burning stoves.

Mike Harley, executive director of Environmental Initiative, said the incentives range from $325 to $10,000. All you have to do is come visit your local vendor to see if you qualify. 

Harley added, "Project Stove Swap is a great example of how strong partnerships can positively impact the local economy, air quality and public health while saving people money on their heating costs."

He explained that taking one old stove out of commission can be the pollution equivalent of taking 700 cars off the road!

"I'm impressed that Project Stove Swap not only helps people in my backyard, but keeps dollars in the local economy," said Matt Boo, co-owner of Duluth Stove and Fireplace. "Being a lifelong Duluth resident, it's great that I can help my neighbors and my business at the same time."

Boo said that older models do not have the nice glass door in the front, like many of the newer, certified models do have.

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the majority of the state's air pollutants today come from smaller, widespread sources that are not highly regulated. These smaller sources include cars, trucks, construction equipment and residential garbage and wood burning. 

Project Stove Swap is one of several efforts underway to help achieve Clean Air Minnesota's goal of reducing man-made sources of fine particulate matter (soot) and ground level ozone precursor emissions (smog) by 10%.

Clean Air Minnesota is a diverse coalition of air quality leaders convened by Environmental Initiative who are working voluntarily and proactively to reduce air pollution.

Harley said they hope to swap out 200-250 stoves within the 17 eligible counties. And they hope to make this a state-wide opportunity someday.

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