Change-out Program (2011-2015)

Vermont Outdoor Wood Boiler Change-out Program (2011-2015)

The Outdoor Wood Boiler (OWB)  Change Out Program was implemented in accordance with Act 94, effective May 7, 2010 and codified at 10 V.S.A. § 584.  This legislation mandated that in implementing this program the Air Quality and Climate Division (AQCD) “give priority to replacing eligible OWBs that have resulted in complaints regarding emissions, including particulate matter or smoke, that the agency has determined are valid, and have the highest emission rates, cause nuisance, or are within 200 feet of a residence, school, or health care facility”.  In addition, the legislation also required that such OWBs be retired by December 31, 2012.

The AQCD was initially presented with $500,000 through the Legislature to implement the OWB Change Out Program.  The funding stemmed from a settlement in the United States v. American Electric Power Service Corp., Civil Action No. C2-99-1250.  To implement the change-out program mandate and utilize the provided funds, the AQCD developed a list of “priority OWBs” potentially subject to the December 31, 2012 retirement mandate and gave those OWB owners the opportunity to receive a rebate voucher of up to $6,000 to replace their OWBs with cleaner, more efficient heating systems.  To receive this financial incentive, eligible OWB owners needed to apply for and receive rebate vouchers from the AQCD prior to replacing their OWBs and redeem their vouchers by the expiration date at one of the participating dealers on a list provided by the AQCD.  Dealers were added to the program under individual contracts for change out funding.

The AQCD also instituted a phase of the program utilizing $1000 vouchers for uncertified OWB owners that would like to change to a more efficient boiler, but who’s operation of their current OWB did not result in a complaint from a neighboring property owner.  This phase also utilized individual contracts with participating dealers.

Over the life of the program the AQCD worked with 17 participating dealers in both the $1000 and $6000 programs. During the program the AQCD  attempted to retain participating dealers in various areas in Vermont to prevent the geographic locations of the dealers from becoming a hindrance for interested citizens, as well as pursued specific dealers for the program participation in response to requests from citizens.

The program successfully removed 85 uncertified OWBs from service during its run.  The majority of participants changed out to certified cordwood OWBs.  There were four participants that moved to certified pellet OWBs and two that moved to gas units.  The OWB Change Out Program was ended on September 30, 2015 due to a lack of remaining funding.

-Vermont DEC in partnership with the American Lung Association.