Wood Smoke April Workshops


The Air District is conducting Public Workshops on proposed changes to restrictions on wood burning throughout the month of April.

The problem: Wood smoke from fireplaces and wood stoves is the #1 source of wintertime air pollution in Bay Area. Wood burning produces CO2 and black carbon, a very potent GHG.

Health impacts: Respiratory illnesses in children: pneumonia, bronchiolitis, which are major causes of disease and death in young children. Aggravates asthma. Long -term exposure may lead to respiratory system cancers.

Opportunity for clean energy solution: We urge the Air District to seize this opportunity to incentivize the deployment of high-efficiency electric heating (heat pump) to replace existing wood stoves, not just require more efficient wood burning heaters.

What is heat pump heating: collects heat from ambient air and transfers it into the building, instead of generating it through electric resistance. Up to 4 times as efficient as electric resistance.

Technology available on the market, and used in other countries and US regions (NE, PNW) but very low deployment in CA due to wide availability of cheap NG.

Electrification of buildings, by transitioning from natural gas appliances for space heating, water heating, and clothes drying, to heat pump electric alternatives, is a key strategy to meet the region’s and the state’s climate goals.

How HP compares with ER and NG: less than half of GHG emissions using PG&E’s emissions factor, will get even cleaner as electricity gets cleaner.

Need to develop the market in Bay Area: ensure availability in stores, installers are trained, rates don’t penalize HP v. NG, prices come down with volume, customer awareness campaigns to create demand for HP as a clean energy solution like rooftop PV

How: grants to offset the price premium...

Pilot Heat Pump deployment program: The amendment of the wood stove rule is a perfect opportunity for a pilot Heat Pump deployment program.

Health and climate nexus: help solve a public health issue while moving forward on critical clean energy solution.

Isn’t wood burning lower carbon than electricity?

  • Wood is renewable, if planted and harvested sustainably, but over a very long period of time. Cutting down and burning whole trees releases carbon much faster than growing forests can sequester it.

  • Some forms of biomass fuel, such as sawdust and bark from sawmills, construction wood waste, and dedicated energy crops, have the potential to reduce carbon emissions compared to fossil fuels.

  • But other forms, most notably whole trees that are chipped and manufactured into "pellets," are counter to carbon sequestration.

  • In fact, numerous studies show that burning whole trees for electricity increases carbon emissions compared to coal and other fossil fuels for decades.

  • Additional demand for wood also risks destroying ecosystems that can never be replaced.


Thursday, April 9 Livermore 6 - 8 PM
Livermore City Hall City Council Chambers
1052 South Livermore Ave., Livermore

Monday, April 13 San Rafael 6 - 8 PM
San Rafael City Hall City Council Chambers
1400 5th Ave., San Rafael

Thursday, April 16 Santa Rosa 6 - 8 PM
Santa Rosa City Hall City Council Chambers 
100 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa

Monday, April 20 Walnut Creek 6 - 8 PM
Walnut Creek City Hall City Council Chambers
1666 North Main St., Walnut Creek

Wednesday, April 22, Suisun City 6 - 8 PM
City of Suisun City Council Chambers
701 Civic Center Blvd., Suisun City

Friday, April 24 San Francisco* 10 AM - 12 PM
Bay Area Air Quality Management District Boardroom
939 Ellis St., San Francisco - *Meeting will be webcast

April 09, 2015 at 6pm - 8pm
Livermore City Hall Council Chambers
1052 S Livermore Ave
Livermore, CA 94550
United States
Google map and directions
Janet Stromberg ·

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