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Wed, Sep 7th - 4:21AM

Wood Energy Technolgy Transfer = WETT

Wood Energy Technology Transfer Inc. (WETT Inc.) is a non-profit training and education association managed by a volunteer Board of Directors elected by holders of valid WETT certificates. Through its administrative designate, WETT Inc. functions as the national registrar of the WETT program. Through professional training and public education, WETT Inc. promotes the safe and effective use of wood burning systems in Canada.

A certificate holder will not knowingly sign or issue a false or misleading certificate, report or other document. A certificate holder will not knowingly sign or issue a false or misleading certificate, report or other document. A certificate holder will not make a false or malicious statement or publication that injures the professional reputation of another holder of a valid wett certificate.

There was a tendency during the development of the first round of EPA's wood stove emissions regulations in the 1980s to rely exclusively on science and technology to reduce emissions from wood heaters. This made perfect sense at the time because most wood stoves were crude boxes with virtually no emission control technologies. Unfortunately, a repeat of this approach appears to be reflected in much of the recent commentary surrounding the EPA New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) review process. Unfortunate because this repeat of the reliance entirely on technology can result in appliances that burn cleanly under laboratory conditions through increased technological complexity but which do not meet user needs. This could produce disappointing emission reduction results in actual use.

There are no "new" sources of energy that are likely to prove viable. One of the newest energy sources is nuclear power, which has its own environmental problems and is controversial. Regardless of the energy source we choose for home heating, its use will have environmental impacts. The burning of oil and gas contributes to global warming, and their production is declining in many countries, meaning that their price is likely to go up as demand increases. While oil and gas don't appear to pollute at the point of use, their exploration, production, refining and transportation cause severe environmental damage. Only a relatively small percentage of electricity is from renewables like hydroelectric dams, and even then there are environmental problems due to flooding large areas. Wind turbines will never produce enough electricity to be used widely for home heating.

Firewood, on the other hand, can be produced with slight environmental impact because it needs little processing and most of it is used close to where the trees grew. Wood is the most economical and accessible of all renewable energy resources for many households and it has value beyond the displacement of fossil fuels and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It is practiced on a small scale and the householders that use it gain a better understanding of their impacts on the environment than users of other energy sources. Families who heat their homes with wood responsibly should be recognized for their contribution to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a sustainable energy future. In a modern context, and knowing what we now know about the environmental impacts of all energy use, wood can be thought of as a 'new' energy resource, provided it comes from sustainable sources and is burned in advanced combustion appliances.

Whatever energy source you choose, its use will have an impact on the environment. The best energy sources are renewable and the best of those are solar power and wind power because their environmental impacts tend to be low. As good as they are, though, they do have their problems and limitations. Wood is another renewable energy source with its own problems and limitations, some of which can be managed and minimized, others of which cannot. But when it is used effectively, wood is a fine fuel compared to all the other options we have available.

The Barrie Home Inpector is a Certified WETT Inspector and provides services in Barrie, Alliston, Orillia, Midland, Penetang, Bradford, Newmarket, Innisfil, Tiny Beaches, Oro-Medonte, Springwater, Stayner, Wasaga Beach, Alcona Beach, Lagoon City, Brechin, Angus, New Lowell and many other communities in Simcoe County.

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