Perspective: May 15, 2020
For most manufacturers of wood-burning products, the year 2018 was devoted to meeting the Environmental Protection Agency’s New Source Performance Standard that will take effect on May 15, 2020. Some manufacturers moved quickly to develop technology to meet that goal – adding a catalytic converter was a popular way – while others still have a ways to go.
The goal is to reduce particulate emissions from 4.5 grams per hour down to 2.0 grams per hour if tested with crib wood, or 2.5 grams per hour if tested with cord wood. The cost to manufacturers in both time and money is enormous. One manufacturer pegged the cost of revamping a wood stove to meet the coming standard, including the cost of lab certification, at $250,000. To view the number of models of wood stoves that are being upgraded to the 2020 standard, go to https://www.epa.gov/compliance/list-epa-certified-wood-stoves.
Now consider the variety of ways that time, and those funds, could have been used; not least would be the creation of new, innovative products that could move the company, and perhaps the industry, forward. Now, we’re certainly in favor of clean air, and most industry members applauded (silently) when the 1988 NSPS was promulgated.
There was no applause coming from the hundreds of manufacturers who closed their (garage) doors and went looking for the next fad. We’re already hearing that a few manufacturers will be leaving the industry prior to May 15, 2020.
In this issue there are two articles that address that infamous May 15, 2020 deadline. The first is “Fireside Chats,” conversations with six hearth manufacturers on a wide range of topics that, together, paint a portrait of the past year, and serve as a guide to this year.
The second is “Heating with Wood,” in which Bill Sendelback interviews 15 manufacturers of wood stoves and/or wood fireplaces. The discussions range from the status of wood-burning sales (quite good), to new products being introduced at the HPBExpo in Dallas.
Speaking of wood heat, the folks at Stûv America are now producing product at their new factory in Bromont, Quebec. The parent company is in Belgium, and presently acts as a back-up producer in support of its Canadian entity. Stûv follows in the footsteps of both Jøtul and Valor (see “A Major Commitment”).
Take a look at a new grill category; it’s called a Salamander, and it’s a top-down infrared burner used by many steak houses as a quick way of cooking a perfect steak. It was first introduced to the specialty retail market by Dante Cantal of Twin Eagles fame – that was 15 years ago (talk about being ahead of the curve!). We have one. It cooks a two-inch thick filet mignon in four minutes on each side. When done, it’s evenly pink throughout and blackened on both sides. Terrific!
That word – terrific – also works for shade products. We’ve all noticed that the climate is warming, and that exposure to the sun is dangerous. These days, everyone needs a shade product, and there are a number of very good manufacturers filling that need. Consider it for your business.
See you in Dallas!