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Santa Barbara County residents can get cash to help with removal or replacement of wood-burning fireplaces or wood stoves in their homes as part of a new voluntary pilot program encouraging homeowners countywide to "Heat Clean, Save Green."

The county Air Pollution Control District (APCD) launched the Wood Smoke Reduction Program on Wednesday, which provides qualified homeowners across the county with cash incentives to help cover the costs of replacing a wood-burning stove or fireplace in their homes. 

Applicants who meet program requirements will receive a $1,000 from the APCD to help cover the costs of replacing a wood-burning stove or fireplace or a $500 check to help cover the costs of removing it. Actual replacement or removal costs will be higher than the incentive offered, according to the APCD.

"This voluntary pilot program offers Santa Barbara County homeowners a great opportunity to help reduce wood-smoke impacts in their neighborhoods," said APCD Director Aeron Arlin Genet. "It's a change that can make a big difference in your neighborhood."

Devices that will qualify for a rebate include operable woodstoves (conventional, catalytic, noncatalytic and pellet) and operable wood-burning fireplaces (open hearth and fireplace insert).

Qualified replacements include natural gas or propane fireplace inserts or free-standing heating stoves and electric heat pumps. 

The new device must be heater rated and comply with American National Standard, ANSI Z21.88/CSA 2.33 (vented gas fireplace heaters), according to the APCD.

Funds will not be awarded to install the following: EPA-certified wood stoves, electric or ethanol fireplaces and gas logs (for decorative purposes).

Funding will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the APCD data that deems an application complete, and until funds for the program are exhausted, the spokeswoman said.

Only one voucher will be issued per applicant and/or residential property and submission of an application does not guarantee funding.

Additionally, applicants must be the legal owner of the property where the project will occur and funds will only be awarded after a preapproved project is complete and all requirements have been met, the spokeswoman said.

Finally, the wood-burning device slated for removal or replacement must be operable and indoors.

The program is similar to other successful, voluntary smoke-reduction programs throughout California and in line with state efforts to reduce levels of both particulate matter and black carbon, a short-lived climate pollutant emitted when wood burns, the spokeswoman said.

The APCD's board of directors approved the limited pilot program at its March meeting.

Application documents are available online at www.ourair.org/heatclean. Questions should be emailed to heatclean@sbcapcd.org or call 961-8848.

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April Charlton covers Santa Barbara County for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow her on Twitter@WordsDawn

 

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