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Duke Energy supports N.C wood stove changeout program to improve air quality; Funds $500,000

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Duke Energy is committing $500,000 to help fund an American Lung Association program targeting high-emitting wood stoves in North Carolina – replacing them with cleaner, more efficient models.

"Over the past decade, Duke Energy has steadily improved air emissions from its power generation fleet, and we continue to focus on improving air quality in other ways in North Carolina," said David Fountain, Duke Energy's North Carolinapresident. "Replacing older, less efficient wood stoves with cleaner models is yet another way we can all help improve overall air quality and reduce our environmental impact."

The program covers residents of Cherokee, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Mecklenburg and Swain counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Since 2010, the American Lung Association has successfully implemented a number of wood stove changeout programs across the country.

In addition to lowering particle pollution emissions, the program also supports local retail stove businesses that are working with the American Lung Association. Customers can contact participating retailers.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), wood smoke contains several harmful air pollutants and is made up of a mixture of gases and fine particles. The more efficiently you burn wood, the less smoke is created.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 11.6 million households in the United States burn wood as either a primary or supplemental source of heat. An EPA-certified wood stove uses up to one-third less firewood than an older, less efficient stove.

Homeowners who live in the project areas and own a non-EPA certified wood stove or qualified fireplace can apply for a voucher. Vouchers are available for:
• Up to $750 for replacement of a non-EPA-certified wood stove or qualified fireplace with a new EPA-certified wood stove
• Up to $1,500 for replacement of a non-EPA-certified wood stove or qualified fireplace with a new EPA-certified wood-pellet stove, ductless heat pump or new gas stove
• Up to $4,000 for a single-story home or up to $4,500 for a two-story home for replacement of a non-EPA-certified wood stove with a new EPA-certified wood or wood-pellet stove, or ductless heat pump with a new heater rated gas stove, for an income-qualified homeowner
• Up to $6,000, or up to $10,000 for income-qualified customers, for replacement of an older technology hydronic heater with a new EPA-certified wood pellet hydronic heater or other clean technology home heating device

In recent years, Duke Energy has focused on lowering air emission. Since 2005, the company's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have decreased by 30 percent, sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions have decreased by 94 percent and nitrogen oxides (NOX) emissions have decreased by 70 percent. This is primarily due to the addition of pollution control equipment, decreased coal generation, increased natural gas generation and replacement of higher-emitting plants.

Funding for the changeout program was part of a 2015 Duke Energy settlement with the EPA and environmental groups.