INDIANAPOLIS -- 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 said.
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 work.
“A – it’s a new market for them and B – the incentives for renewable energy in Indiana have generally been pretty weak,” he said.
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.