Ten Models That Have Passed The Oregon Woodstove Pollution Standards

Only a few have passed the Oregon woodstove pollution standards so far, includes information on reading between the numbers, woodstove performance, stove manufacturers and specifications.

| September/October 1985

Oregon's emissions standards for woodstoves go into effect next year, and at this point ten woodstoves have passed the Oregon woodstove pollution standards. (See the woodstove pictures in the image gallery.)

Five years ago, MOTHER was one of the first publications to warn of the problem of pollution from wood-burning heaters. And, in the interim, we've reported regularly on both continuing research into woodstove pollution and the search for solutions.

Keeping an eye on our collective chimneys has proven to be a far more pleasant job than we first imagined . . . simply because real progress has been made, progress that will, in the long run, prove to be a boon to all wood burners. Catalytic combustors—some of which can be retrofitted on existing woodstoves (see MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 90)—and improved stove designs have definitely increased woodburning efficiency.

Now there's a new generation of woodstoves that fully incorporate these advances. The awesome improvement in performance they provide—from around 50% efficiency in the laboratory five years ago to better than 75% today—may well be as revolutionary as was Ben Franklin's invention of the cast-iron wood burner 200 years ago. In fact, because draft problems and condensation in flue gases limit maximum practical efficiency to the low-to mid-80s, a few stoves are actually approaching the theoretical limits of efficiency! Pollution has been reduced to an even greater degree. The Pellefier, for example, emits less than one-twentieth the particulate matter of a conventional stove. And this fall the first tested models—products that represent nothing less than a technological breakthrough—are available for you to buy.

The Pressure is on for Woodstove Pollution Standards

The insistence of regulators that woodstove pollution be controlled has played no small role in the development of these new technologies, and the ball may only have begun to roll. Today, Oregon has a regulation that will, after July 1, 1986, prohibit the sale of stoves that fail to meet the Oregon woodstove pollution standards emissions requirements. Colorado, too, has passed a law that will begin to take effect in 1987. Both of these states have concluded from scientific and visual evidence that wood burning contributes significantly to their region's particulate-emissions problem.

But the biggest player on the horizon is none other than the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is aiming to reduce three kinds of pollution from wood burners: total suspended particulates, carbon monoxide, and polycyclic organic matter (commonly called POMs, many of which are cancer-causing). The EPA believes that woodstoves contribute almost as much particulate matter to our atmosphere as do all U.S. coal-fired power plants combined. They've also concluded that about 40% of all POMs come from wood-burning space heaters. In an uncharacteristic show of expeditiousness—brought on at least in part by legal pressure from New York State and the Environmental Resources Defense Council under the Clean Air Act—the EPA now plans to begin regulating the manufacture of woodstoves by as early as January 1987.

Jason Fields
3/23/2012 1:00:31 AM

I read the article with great interest because I'm thinking about relocating to Oregon, and I plan to use wood to cook and heat my home. I sure would like to know which ten stoves have made the grade.

11/28/2007 6:49:49 AM

Great artitle. Been looking for non bias opinions on newer wood stoves.

10/29/2007 10:47:11 AM

Great Article...now, what are the Ten woodstoves that made the grade?...

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!