Operating a Wood Stove Exchange Program

Resources and ideas for operating local programs.

Partnerships

Retailer Registration Fees

Registration fees provide a benefit to both the local exchange program and participating retailers. The program receives a participation commitment from retailers and funding which contributes to the advertising and promotional budget, and retailers receive increased exposure and sales.

These fees are set by the coordinator and local exchange committee, and some programs don’t charge a fee.

Examples:

Skeena Exchange Program requested $200 per retailer

The Spokane, Washington wood stove exchange program had a sliding scale of marketing sponsorship, raising over $10,500 for the marketing campaign

Financing Programs

Partner with banks or credit unions to offer favourable financing to program participants.

Example:

The Skeena program partnered with two local financial institutions to offer their pre-existing green renovation financing option to wood stove exchange clients.

This loan package consists of up to $5000 at prime, payable over three years. Interested customers would have to apply for the loan and prove eligibility by being part of the local exchange program.

Insurance Companies

Low-emission wood stoves tend to be safe appliances, which provide an opportunity to partner with local insurance companies during the implementation of wood stove exchange programs.

Participating insurance companies could help promote the program or offer preferred rates to policy holders who use CSA-/EPA-certified wood stoves and have their installations inspected.

When inviting insurance companies to partner on a wood stove exchange program, community program administrators may wish to raise the following points:

  • Exchange programs encourage the public to upgrade to cleaner-burning appliances, which are safer since they reduce the risk of chimney fire
  • Exchange programs promote the services of retailers, technicians and chimney sweeps certified under the Wood Energy Technical Training (WETT) Program, which the insurance industry has encouraged for years

Support for Retailers

  • Visit local retailers to discuss the program, including goals and responsibilities
  • Provide the program guidelines and registration information before the program begins
  • Provide regular program updates
  • Notify them of WETT training opportunities
  • Provide promotional materials (if any)
  • Ask them for feedback when the program has completed

Voucher Program

Use vouchers for your exchange program to track program usage and commitment by users. Distribute them to retailers before the community launch and have retailers hand them out to individuals at the time of sale.

Vouchers could include a checklist which verifies that individuals:

  • Had a non-EPA old stove in use
  • Had a CSA-/EPA-certified or clean appliance installed
  • Had proof that the old unit was decommissioned

Customers could be responsible for completing and returning vouchers and, if installing the wood stove themselves, require that they also include photos of the old stove in use and the new stove installed.

If the wood stove was professionally installed, you may only need to require a retailer signature to verify.

Voucher Program Tips

  • Include an expiration date
  • Have a good tracking system in place
  • Know to whom vouchers are issued
  • Follow up and remind customers as the expiration date approaches

Voucher Hotline Case Study

The Cariboo wood stove exchange program avoided the tracking issue by keeping voucher numbers and distribution of those numbers to customers central. Customers would phone the exchange hotline, provide their contact details and then be given a voucher number to use at the participating retailer. Retailers would call the hotline to confirm the voucher number and customer name to issue rebates.

Industry Discount

The discount period is in March and April. Some retailers may offer discounts at other times of the year. 

All manufacturers and distributors have agreed to participate in the program and any retailer in B.C. could offer a discount during the March-April period. However, only residents of participating-community exchange programs would qualify for the local program’s additional grants and incentives.

Additional Contributions

In the Skeena region, communities contributed between $7,000 and $15,000 to offer their residents extra incentives.

Permit fees for installation of new appliances were waived, and additional incentives were established in the form of bylaws requiring mandatory removal of old wood stoves.