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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: October 22, 2009
CONTACT:
Barbara Fales, DES (603) 271-1390
Corey Canning/Rhett Lamb, City of Keene (603) 352-5474

NHDES and City of Keene Launch Woodstove Changeout Program at Local Event

KEENE, NH – Tom Burack, DES Commissioner, and Keene Mayor Philip Dale Pregent today officially launched a citywide woodstove changeout program, an initiative aimed at improving air quality within the region by offering homeowners a $1,000 rebate to replace older non-EPA certified woodstoves with much cleaner, certified woodstoves, pellet stoves or with vented gas- heating appliances. Officials from the City and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, joined by others from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Hearth Patio Barbeque Association, local business owners, and various stakeholders, officially kicked-off the campaign at an event held at Railroad Square in downtown Keene to showcase cleaner burning stoves.

Keene is the first community in New Hampshire to have a woodstove changeout program. The City’s goal is to replace 100 old woodstoves. Keene is a good location for a woodstove changeout program because local air monitoring data indicate levels of particle pollution that sometimes reach or exceed national air quality standards.

“Keene is a beautiful community,” noted Mayor Pregent in his welcoming remarks. “However, because of our geography, when wood smoke becomes trapped in the Keene valley during certain winter weather conditions, poor air quality can result. The woodstove changeout program will enable many of our residents to replace their old, inefficient wood stoves with new, cleaner burning devices.”

In addition to improving air quality in Keene, replacing older stoves will save homeowners money in fuel costs, since many new stoves use one-third less fuel than older stoves.

“This is a great opportunity for homeowners and residents of Keene,” noted Commissioner Tom Burack of DES. “This effort will help stimulate the local economy, and it complements our Department’s work on climate change by increasing energy efficiency, reducing fuel usage, and improving overall air quality.”

Acting Regional EPA Administrator Ira Leighton was on hand to recognize this campaign as the first of its kind for New Hampshire. “Fine particle pollution from older woodstoves is a serious health concern,” Leighton said. “The amount of particle pollution reduced by changing out one old wood stove is equivalent to taking 5 old diesel buses off the road. EPA estimates that more than 13,000 old wood stoves and fireplaces have been changed out in 40 communities. The result is about 250 tons of fine-particle pollution reduced each year, with a savings of about $100 million per year in health costs.”

The Keene Woodstove Changeout Campaign is a cooperative effort between DES and the City of Keene, with support from EPA, the Hearth Patio and Barbeque Association, and participating local woodstove dealers. No taxpayer dollars are being used for the rebates, which come instead from a large multi-state enforcement settlement with out-of-state power plants. For more information and program details, visit www.des.nh.gov and search the A-Z index for “woodstove changeout” or go to www.ci.keene.nh.us. If you are a Keene homeowner and would like to apply for a rebate voucher, contact Corey Canning at corey.canning@des.nh.gov or call 603-352-5474.

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