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Domestic heating

Action 4.6: Disincentivise stoves and boilers that do not meet (national) requirements

Policies setting requirements on emission performance would be one way to accelerate the phase out of high-emitting, already installed wood burning equipment (not only the equipment re-entering market again, as in Action 4.5).


Area of action
Domestic heating
Disincentivise the use of stoves and boilers that do not meet (national) requirements through policies targeting the use of already installed and existing wood burning equipment
Type of intervention
Regulation/legislative proposals
Time perspective
Structural change
Jurisdictional scope
Policy forum
National and local authorities

For such a policy to become reality, emission limit values targeting already installed wood burning equipment in use is needed, most likely through national legislation. In connection with this policy, rules and regulations for retirement and eventually prohibiting the use of stoves and boilers that do not meet those requirements have to be developed. As an example, in Germany there are rules stipulating transitional periods allowed for shutting down and/or exchange of equipment depending on age and performance of the installed equipment, also taking into account if wood burning is the primary heating source (Gustafsson and Kindbom 2019).

In order to follow up and enforce the policy, a system for regular equipment performance control is needed. This could build on certificates from standardised testing of the specific equipment model (from manufacturer) which must be presented upon request. Alternatively, a national list of accepted models (built on certificates from manufacturers) could be compiled. The enforcement issue can be considered as one of the most important obstacles to this action, especially in large sparsely populated countries.

If a certificate is not available, emission measurements to check compliance by chimney sweeps (or fire inspectors, or other certified personnel) could be an additional, although more expensive, way. In Germany emission measurements for compliance are performed, and time intervals between measurements are given.

In Sweden there are examples of local regulations (from air quality and health perspective) where the local authority may define areas within densely populated areas where the use of wood burning equipment is prohibited (or intermittently prohibited), also taking equipment standard into account (Kindbom et al. 2018). This kind of local regulations would, however, most likely have small or negligible effect on black carbon in the Arctic.