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Environmental Council: Boiler Up - Just Not With Wood

Michael Hoy

Indiana environmental groups want Hoosiers to replace their pollution-emitting outdoor wood boilers, and a new grant program could help pay for people to move to renewable home energy alternatives.

The Hoosier Environmental Council has long been concerned about the effect of the roughly 8,000 outdoor wood boilers across the state.  One study posits that an outdoor wood boiler emits about as much pollution as four heavy-duty diesel trucks.  But council executive director Jesse Kharbanda stresses that the group isn’t trying to demonize outdoor wood boiler owners.

“Oftentimes, these outdoor wood boiler owners are not particularly wealthy and generally don’t have any other affordable means to heat their home," he says.

Kharbanda says a grant program through the American Lung Association will provide up to 100 percent of the costs to replace the boilers with renewable energy alternatives – geothermal, solar power or a combination thereof.  And Kharbanda says he doesn’t think people should have trouble finding contractors to do the wor.

“A, it’s a new market for them," he explains. "And B, the incentives for renewable energy in Indiana have generally been pretty weak.”

Kharbanda says the grant program will focus on replacing boilers in high-pollution areas of the state, or boilers that have been the subject of complaints. 

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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