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Friday, July 9, 2021

NESCAUM Part 1 Review Clarification

Linked below is Tom Morrissey's reply to comments made by NESCAUM regarding part 1 of the previously posed Review.  Two of Woodstock Soapstone's stoves (with similar model numbers) were certified to EPA 2020 standards using two different approved test methods on two different dates.  These tests are available online.  NESCAUM is alleging that the reports & stoves are the same (they are not), and that the "similarity in the appliances and their close proximity in test dates caused significant confusion for the reviewers."  This response was written to allay any confusion NESCAUM may have regarding these fully disclosed and publicly available test results.   


NESCAUM Review: Part 2B

Linked below is Part 2b of Tom Morrissey's review of the NESCAUM "Assessment".  Part 2b focuses on density, data, and invalid test runs.

NESCAUM was unable to achieve the required density in a majority of its tests reviewed, rendering these tests invalid and raising red flags about their methods.  Appended to Part 2b are 10 pages of emails written during the week of 7/5/2021 between Tom and the EPA, in which they try to derive whether NESCAUM meets the requirements of its own proposed standard in runs documented to EPA.  The data sets for ALT-140 are very small, but even now there are obvious problems with load density, large coal beds, and representative low burns meeting the criteria spelled out in ALT-140.

Click to Read

Friday, June 18, 2021

More About the Cordwood Test Method War

        Almost concurrent with the release of our “Review Part 1” statement on May 15th, nine State Attorney Generals (from states VT, MA, RI, NY, NJ, MD, WA, OR, and AK) sent a letter to the EPA.  The letter urged the EPA to revoke the current cordwood test method (ASTM E-3053) and adopt the new method (IDCTM) proposed by NYSERDA. 

The EPA is currently using two labs (one in OR, one in CT) to test the proposed new method.  Three different stoves will be run through multiple tests to ascertain (1). If test results can be replicated over subsequent burns in the same lab, and (2). If test results can be replicated in two different labs.  

We expect these results to be slowly forthcoming over the next two months.

Linked below is part 2a from Tom Morrissey’s review of the “Assessment” and proposed new test method (IDCTM).  This part of the review delves into the “low” and “medium” burn rate measurements used in the current EPA certification process, a focus of NESCAUM’s criticism.

Also discussed at length in this review is how the NESCAUM test method proposes to measure efficiency.  Stove efficiency results reported thus far by NESCAUM for tests using its proposed method are unexpectedly low, likely to be attributed to the test protocol having different beginning and end points (discussed in “Part 2a” of Tom Morrissey’s review).  

Another point of concern is the lack of test calculation transparency.  Test developers (NESCAUM/NYSERDA) refuse to disclose the data and sample calculations so that their method of calculating efficiency can be explained and verified.  This is very odd behavior for “public servants”.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

A New War Over the Accuracy of Cordwood Test Methods

    In March of this year the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) published an attack on the EPA wood stove certification process.

The document, entitled “Assessment of EPA’s Residential Wood Heater Program”, claims that the EPA process is dysfunctional and a systemic failure.  In addition, the document attacks test labs that perform the wood stove certification tests, the third-party reviewers who certify these test reports for the EPA, and alleges collusion between manufacturers and test labs.  In short, it attacks every entity in the wood stove testing and certification process.

Almost simultaneously with the publication of the “Assessment”, NESCAUM released its own new woodstove test method.  Their “Integrated Duty-Cycle Test Method (“IDCTM”) is alleged to solve all problems NESCAUM had identified with both the current EPA test methods and also with the participants in the certification process: manufacturers, test labs, third-party certifiers, and the EPA itself.

In the “Assessment,” NESCAUM makes various claims that are deeply colored by bias and conflict of interest, untrue, or factually incorrect.  Appended to this blog post is a response to NESCAUM’s “Assessment” by Tom Morrissey, President of Woodstock Soapstone Company.

Tom’s response, “Review Part 1”, is the first of what will likely be a number of posts on this topic.

At issue are the accuracy of NESCAUM’s claims, the way both emissions and efficiency are measured going forward, the accuracy of cordwood test methods, the cost of compliance testing and regulatory approval, and the barriers to both entry and innovation in this market.  Stay tuned.

Click Here to Read Tom Morrissey’s Response

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Wood Stove Home Cooking: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili for Two

Recipe from EatingWell's Test Kitchen

    Get out the soup bowls, gather the family and warm up by your Woodstock Soapstone stove for this cozy sweet potato & black bean chili recipe!

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 ⅓ cups water
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Original Recipe Directions (for a traditional stove top):

    Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and potato and cook, stirring often, until the onion is slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add water, bring to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the potato is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes and lime juice; increase heat to high and return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in cilantro.

Tips for cooking on your Woodstock Soapstone Stove:

    Think of cooking on soapstone as if you're cooking with a slow cooker.  The soapstone is radiating the heat over a longer period of time, so the things that do best are soups, stews, etc.  

    The Progress Hybrid and Ideal Steel Hybrids give a little more versatility for heat due to their griddle top and removable center burners respectively, but slow and steady is the way to go for any of our wood stoves!

    For this particular dish, we recommend starting with the onions, sweet potatoes and spices first to soften them.  Then, add the other ingredients and simmer for about an hour or until your sweet potatoes are as soft as you like them.
    Garnish with sour cream and/or shredded cheese with tortilla chips on the side and enjoy!

    Soapstone won't ever absorb spills or stain as it's a non-porous surface, but if this delicious recipe does happen to find its way onto your soapstone stove top, no problem-  clean up with some fine-grit sandpaper and steel wool.  Good as new!

    We'll be cooking up our own pot of this chili on one of our in-factory wood stoves soon- watch our Facebook and blog for updates and videos!

Friday, February 19, 2021

2019-2020 Wood Stove Purchases Eligible for $300 Tax Credit

If you Purchased a Woodstock Soapstone Wood Stove between January 2019 & December 2020 a $300 Tax Credit is Still Available 

    In answer to the many questions about the new tax credit and cut-off dates, we want to note that qualifying wood stove purchases AND installations conducted from January 1st of 2019 to December 31st of 2020 are still eligible for the $300 Federal Tax Credit, which was in place during this timeframe.  ALL Woodstock Soapstone wood stoves shipped in 2019 and 2020 are eligible for this Tax Credit!  Click here for more information about this $300 Tax Credit.

    The new 26% Federal Tax Credit now in effect is only for wood stoves purchased and installed after January 1st, 2021, with a lesser 22% for purchases in 2023.  As we noted in the previous blog post, this new Tax Credit was signed into law December 20, 2020 and only stoves that passed the EPA 2020 certification AND tested at 75% or greater HHV efficiency using the EPA test method will qualify.

    Please remember that both the 2019-2020 $300 Tax Credit and the new 26% Tax Credit are tax Credits - you have to be paying taxes for the credit to have value. 

Additional Savings on Wood Stoves for Vermont Homeowners

    An Efficiency Vermont partnership has also established another incentive for Vermont homeowners to purchase clean, high efficiency wood stoves.  Professionally installed, qualifying high efficiency wood stove purchases are eligible for a $500 rebate at the point of sale, with a larger $600 rebate if an existing wood stove is removed and destroyed at the time of installation.  Vermonters are now in he enviable position of being able to get a $500 State Rebate on the purchase and installation of a high efficiency performance wood stove, an a 26% Federal Tax Credit on the remaining cost.  Read
more about the $500-$600 Vermont Rebate here.

The Absolute Steel Hybrid and a warm, happy dog

    Wood Heat Recognized as a Green Energy Source

    In our previous blog post, we talked about the new 26% Federal Tax Credit that applies to wood stoves meeting 2020 EPA standards and exceeding a 75% HHV efficiency rating.  This substantial Federal Tax Credit puts residential wood heat on par with solar, geothermal and wind energy, all of which have received similar federal tax credits as clean, renewable sources of energy.  

    Woodstock Soapstone Company has always been focused on clean burning and high efficiency.  We introduced the first hybrid wood stove in America (Progress Hybrid) 10 years ago, and followed that by introducing new hybrid designs in 2013 (Ideal Steel Hybrid), 2015 (Absolute Steel Hybrid), and 2017 (Navajo and Survival Hybrids).  We are delighted that the federal government recognizes residential wood heating as a clean, renewable source of energy.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Save Up to $1000 (Or More) With the 2021 Tax Credit for High Performance Wood Stoves!

New 26% Tax Credit Applies to Stove Purchase Price and Any Related Costs for Installation

       The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) has been working to implement the Biomass Thermal Utilization (BTU) act for more than a decade - and it’s finally been realized!  On December 21st 2020, Congress signed into law a 26% federal tax credit for wood stoves AND wood stove installations complying with these BTU revisions…Meaning more accessibility to clean-burning and modern wood heat for you.

      What makes a wood stove eligible for the huge 26% tax credit? 

  1. The stove must meet the 2020 EPA standards 
  2. The stove must have a minimum efficiency of 75% (HHV). More about High Heat Value (HHV) below. 
  3. The stove must be purchased and installed in 2021-2022 (there will be a 22% credit available for 2023)

Lucky for you, ALL Woodstock Soapstone wood stoves are among the elite group that meet these qualifications.

Comparing High Heat Value (HHV) and Low Heat Value (LHV) Not all wood stove efficiencies are created equal. There are two different metrics for understanding wood stove efficiency: High Heat Value (HHV) and Low Heat Value (LHV). Woodstock Soapstone, like the EPA, uses High Heat Value (HHV) for our efficiency measurements.         High Heat Value (HHV) tests are run using cord wood with approximately 20% moisture content, generating efficiency results similar to what wood stove owner’s experience in their homes.         
        Low Heat Value (LHV) tests are run as if the wood had zero moisture content, generating results that look better, but aren't reflective of a typical wood stove owner's real world experience.         As an example, a stove tested using HHV may have an overall efficiency of 75% and an artificially higher efficiency of 80% when using the LHV metric. Just How Far Will a 26% Credit Go? For a Woodstock Soapstone Progress Hybrid wood stove, the tax credit would realize about a $1,120 credit off of it’s roughly $4,300 retail price. Pair with this an additional 26% tax credit on the installation of the stove itself, and any Woodstock Soapstone wood stove becomes more accessible than it’s ever been. Progress Hybrid Retail Cost (with Ash Pan): $4,305.00 Federal 26% Stove Tax Credit: -$1,119.30 Cost After Tax Credit: $3,185.70 Plus, the cost of installation qualifies for the same 26% credit. That means 26% on pipe, chimney and labor!