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Changeout Guide -
Process for Implementing a Wood Stove Changeout Program

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To successfully develop and implement a Wood Stove Changeout Campaign, we recommend that you follow a set process. The steps to this process are:

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Identify Potential Partners

Partnerships are crucial for the success of any Wood Stove Changeout Campaign. These partners will help to promote your campaign, generate interest among their constituents, and assist in providing funding.

To identify potential partners for your campaign, think about organizations whose goals mesh well with those of a Wood Stove Changeout Campaign. The key is to sit down with others in your organization and community and brainstorm for potential partners. Some partners to consider:

Examples of goals organizations might have include:

  • Improving air quality.
  • Reducing asthma and other health impacts of wood smoke.
  • Reducing patient care costs.
  • Improving visibility.
  • Reducing the number of chimney fires.
  • Increased business for retailers.

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Identify Sources of Funding

It is critical to identify potential sources of funding to finance your Wood Stove Changeout Campaign. Funding may come from several different sources, including:

  • Campaign partners via signed agreement.
  • Grants from foundations and other organizations.
  • Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) (PDF) (24pp, 100k)
  • Discounts and rebates on new, cleaner appliances from manufacturers or retailers.
  • Tax credits and low-interest loans.
  • Tax on the sale of wood stoves.
  • Monies from Fines and Penalties accounts.
  • Local utility companies.

It is up to you to market your ideas to people who may supply your financing. Consider developing a marketing package that touts the benefits of a Wood Stove Changeout Campaign for your area. Include benefits such as:

  • The potential amount of air pollution reduction (e.g., air quality improvement).
  • The potential number of people who may turn in their old wood stoves for newer, more efficient EPA-certified wood stoves.
  • The potential drop in wood-smoke related visits to local emergency rooms.

To learn more, visit Funding.

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Develop a Project Plan

The most critical step of developing and implementing a successful Wood Stove Changeout Campaign is drafting the project plan. Be sure that you:

  • Determine the amount of your resources (e.g., funding and personnel) and how you will use them.
  • Find partnership examples.
  • Take a targeted approach when deciding on the area in which to hold a wood stove changeout campaign. For example, you can use the data collected (e.g., PM2.5 data and the availability of natural gas lines) when determining the feasibility of conducting a wood stove changeout campaign to focus on a specific geographic area. Another way to approach this issue would be to determine which counties to include by taking into consideration the opinions of local officials, the extent of local media coverage, and to whom local retailers sell their products.
  • Determine the best time to conduct your Wood Stove Changeout Campaign. The willingness of retailers to participate as well as the media to feature the campaign may impact the success of your campaign.
  • Develop marketing tools for use for public outreach such as brochures, pamphlets, and fliers. Not only should these tools highlight the changeout program, but they should also emphasize the overall goal (a cleaner and safer environment). Be sure to include basic information about air quality.
  • Develop a media information strategy that encompasses local newsletters, minor and major newspapers, radio, TV, and the internet.
  • Involve stakeholders in your campaign and make sure that your key message to them is clear. Stakeholders include everyone who may have an interest in the campaign such as local officials, community groups, the general public, and users of wood-burning appliances.
  • Determine how to handle wood stove installation, who would do the work, and whether the cost would be covered by rebates. Make sure to resolve this issue before the changeout program begins.
  • Include all three heating options available for a successful program (EPA-certified wood stoves, pellet stoves, and natural gas/propane).
  • Develop goals that you can use to measure the success of your campaign. Make sure these goals are realistic and that they can be measured at the end of the campaign. They may include :
    • The number of stoves you wish to change out.
    • A comparison of the program costs and the pollution reduction achieved.
    • The amount of information packages you wish to distribute to the public.
    • A set improvement in air quality over time.
  • Consider how reductions from your wood stove changeout campaign may contribute towards attainment of the PM NAAQS. Consult EPA's "Guidance for Quantifying and Using Emission Reductions from Voluntary Wood Stove Changeout Programs in State Implementation Plans (PDF)," (22 pp, 202 KB) and your EPA Regional office.

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Implement the Wood Stove Changeout Campaign

Be sure that you can track everything relating to your campaign that comes into your office and goes out of your office such as information packets, tracking forms for old wood stoves, and rebate application forms. All forms and applications should:

  • Be understandable and easy to follow by members of the community who do not have a technical background.
  • Contain lines large enough that they can be legibly completed.
  • Provide clear information on what to do with the forms once they are complete.

Ensure that all media information makes to its appropriate destination in time to run during your campaign.

Also, the organizers of the effort must have a clear and effective communication plan to address issues and progress. Organizers should meet on a regular basis.

The marketing, education, and communication efforts planned in the beginning should continue and should be updated (e.g., update Web sites, send progress reports to newspapers, etc.).

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Measure Success

The final step to your Wood Stove Changeout Campaign should be to make sure that you measure your success as planned in the step "Develop a Project Plan." Here are some ideas:

  • Use the goals you developed as part of your project plan as one component of your campaign success evaluation.
  • Obtain feedback from participants by the use of post-campaign surveys.
  • If possible, measure your air quality.
  • Over the next year or two after the campaign, obtain health information from local hospitals about wood smoke-related illnesses.

You should identify any ideas to measure success when developing your project plan. If needed, be sure to take "before" measurements. For example, if one of your success factors would be a decrease in emergency room visits due to respiratory distress, then you should make sure you know the current number of emergency room visits due to respiratory distress.

Be sure to generate a post-campaign report. This report will serve many functions in the future. It will:

  • Act as an official record of your campaign’s performance for you to keep and others to review as they form their own campaigns.
  • Provide documentation to funding providers of your campaign’s success.
  • Provide the background of your previous success when requesting future funding.
  • Show where parts of the campaign went well and where improvements can be made.

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