Wildsight Golden has launched a rebate to encourage the town’s residents to adopt more environmentally friendly home heating systems.
Golden is part of Wildisght’s Community Wood Smoke Reduction Program, which operates in several communities across the province where air pollution from wood smoke is a problem.
The town consistently has some of the poorest air quality in B.C. which is caused in part by smoke from wood stoves.
Burning wood emits particulate matter small enough to enter the lungs and bloodstream through inhalation.
Wood smoke from home heating is responsible for approximately 27 per cent of PM2.5 emissions across the province.
PM2.5 can have minor effects such as headaches and irritation of the eyes and throat, but can also increase the risk of heart attack or stroke and reduce lung functionality.
The program aims to raise awareness about good burning practices, teach the public about the risks associated with wood smoke and help community members make the switch from wood stoves to cleaner home heating options
Golden and Area A residents can use the rebates to transition their existing wood-burning systems to heat pumps, pellet stoves or cleaner-burning wood stoves.
Heat pumps are eligible for a $1,000 rebate, pellet stoves are eligible for $750 in savings and new cleaner burning wood stoves – certified by the Environmental Protection Agency – will qualify for $500 in rebates.
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.
The Town of Golden began supporting wood stove exchanges in 2004 and since then, more than 500 stoves have been upgraded in Golden and Area A.
Wildsight rebates for heat pumps can also be combined with federal incentives through the Greener Homes Grant.
Wood stove owners who are not quite ready to make a new purchase or switch to a different method can still take steps to reduce the amount of air pollution they create.
Wildsight suggests ensuring that firewood is sufficiently dry before burning as dry wood burns cleaner than wet wood while also producing more heat.
As well, Wildsight suggests curing wood for at least six months in a sheltered location before burning ensures that it is dry enough to burn.
Other important steps include regularly cleaning chimneys, providing enough air to burn a hot fire, not letting fires smoulder through the night and only burning wood kindling or newspaper.