The Community Wood Smoke Reduction Program aims to help people switch out their older wood stoves for cleaner home heating options, raise awareness about good burning practices and educate the public about wood smoke and its health effects. The program currently runs in Golden and several other communities in BC where air pollution from wood stoves is an issue. Wildsight Golden is running the program in Golden this year in partnership with local retailers and supported by funding from the provincial Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
Golden frequently has some of the poorest air quality in BC, caused in part by smoke from wood stoves. Burning wood emits particulate matter (PM2.5) – very tiny particles that can enter the lungs and bloodstream causing a wide range of health problems including headaches, irritated eyes and throat, increased risk of heart attack or stroke, reduced lung function and worsening of lung conditions like asthma and COPD. Wood smoke from home heating is responsible for about 27% of PM2.5 emissions in the province.
If you live in Golden or CSRD Area A and heat with an old wood stove you could qualify for a $1000 rebate for a heat pump, $750 for a wood pellet stove or $500 for an EPA/CSA certified stove. The largest rebates are for heat pumps, as they emit no PM2.5 pollution and reduce our contribution to climate change.
To qualify for these local rebates, appliances must be purchased from either Kardash Plumbing and Heating or Parky’s Heating and Cooling. Limited vouchers are available on a first come first served basis until December 2023 when a purchase is made. Rebates for heat pumps can also be combined with federal incentives through the Greener Homes Grant.
If you have a wood stove but aren’t ready to make a new purchase, there are still things you can do to reduce the amount of air pollution you are creating. Making sure that your firewood is sufficiently dry is necessary, as dry wood burns much cleaner than wet wood and produces more heat. Curing your wood for at least 6 months (ideally longer) in a sheltered location with good air flow helps to ensure your wood is dry enough to burn. Other essential action includes cleaning your chimney regularly, providing enough air to burn a hot fire, not letting your wood smolder throughout the night, and not burning anything besides firewood, kindling or newspaper. Check your chimney regularly and if there is visible smoke, take action to reduce air pollution.
The Community Wood Smoke Reduction Program has helped to replace approximately 10,000 wood stoves in BC with cleaner heating appliances since it started in 2008. This has helped to improve air quality in participating communities by preventing the release of approximately 300 tonnes of particular matter into the air. The Town of Golden began to support wood stove exchanges in 2004 and since then over 500 stoves have been upgraded in Golden and CSRD Area A.
You can find out more about the Community Wood Smoke Reduction Program in Golden and find out if you qualify here.