Since the program’s launch one year ago, more than 200 households and organizations in the Arrowhead Region are breathing a little easier thanks to Project Stove Swap. Managed by statewide nonprofit Environmental Initiative, in partnership with Minnesota Power, Project Stove Swap provides financial assistance for swapping out old, inefficient wood burning stoves with newer models that save money, reduce air pollution, increase safety, and contribute to the local economy.
Through the change out of more than 200 older, inefficient wood stoves, Project Stove Swap has achieved the air quality equivalent of removing 533,000 cars from the road annually. The program has also leveraged more than $1.2 million in economic activity, largely through its network of local heating appliance vendors who help match eligible participants in the program.
Additionally, more than 50 percent of the heating appliances used for Project Stove Swap are manufactured in Minnesota.
“Because of the program, the Fireplace Lifestyles team and their key manufacturing partners added more employees to assist in every department,” said Mary Lynn Salisbury, President of Fireplace Lifestyles in Grand Rapids, Minn. “Project Stove Swap has allowed our customers and ourselves to go a long way down the road toward lowering heating bills and improving air quality.”
How the program works
Environmental Initiative works with manufacturers and local retailers to provide financial incentives to homeowners and organizations interested in upgrading their woodstoves. Eligible participants receive incentives ranging from $325 to $10,000, depending on the type of replacement and income level. Funding for Project Stove Swap is available through June of 2018. To participate, individuals and organizations should contact an approved vendor in their area to discuss getting started. More information on eligibility requirements, vendor locations and incentive levels can be found here.
“Project Stove Swap is truly an example of how strong partnerships can positively impact the local economy, air quality and public health while saving people money on their heating costs,” said Mike Harley, Executive Director of Environmental Initiative. “We hope to continue investing in the health and jobs of Northern Minnesotans through this project.”
According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the majority of the air pollutants today come from smaller, widespread sources that are not highly regulated. These smaller sources include cars, trucks, construction equipment and residential garbage and wood burning.
“Minnesota Power is proud to partner with Environmental Initiative on this important work that provides positive environmental and efficiency outcomes, while helping our customers save money on energy,” said Kris Spenningsby, Supervisor-Retail Accounts with Minnesota Power. “We provide tools to help our customers manage their energy costs in their homes and businesses through efficient lighting, planning and other options. The growth and excitement of Project Stove Swap compliments our already strong conservation programming.”
Project Stove Swap is one of several efforts underway as part of Clean Air Minnesota’s mission to voluntarily reduce harmful emissions through public-private partnerships. Clean Air Minnesota is a diverse coalition of air quality leaders convened by Environmental Initiative who are working voluntarily and proactively to reduce air pollution. The coalition is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year.
About Environmental Initiative
Environmental Initiative is a nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis that builds partnerships with business, government and nonprofit leaders to develop solutions to Minnesota’s environmental problems. Learn more at www.environmental-initiative.org