Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Comparative Study of Efficiency and Emissions Performance of Residential Wood-fired Heating Systems(ST10666-1)

Brookhaven National Lab


With increasingly higher fuel prices for oil, propane and natural gas, and the local availability of forest resources, New York State residents have recently been using larger quantities of solid wood and wood pellets for heating. Wood-fired heating appliances have regained popularity and are gaining widespread use to offset the consumption of traditional fuels. Wood pellet stoves, in particular, have achieved popularity due to their semi-automatic mode of operation. A recent report entitled, “Smoke Gets in Your Lungs: Outdoor Wood Boilers in New York State”, issued by the New York State Office of the Attorney General, points out concerns related to the growing popularity of outdoor wood boilers. Such concerns are related to very high particulate emissions levels as well as overly inflated energy efficiency ratings. There have been many complaints about the detrimental effect that outdoor wood boilers have on air quality and health. Only limited testing has been performed to date to evaluate the emissions performance of wood-fired appliances. Additionally, there are widespread misconceptions (under-estimation) by consumers about the quantity of wood fuel necessary to provide space heating for the entire winter season. Recently enacted federal legislation will require New York State to implement stricter environmental regulations to reduce air pollution. The downstate New York region will be the focus of new particulate matter and ozone standards.

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Project Description

The project will measure carbon monoxide, NOx, SOx, and particulate matter (PM 2.5 total mass) emissions from a representative sample of conventional wood-fired heating systems that are found in existing homes in New York State. The project will also test a representative sample of European style, staged combustion, wood-fired, heating systems. Emissions data will be evaluated and reported in technical articles and conference proceedings.


This project will provide up-to-date emissions and energy efficiency information on typical and advanced, residential, wood-fired, heating systems.

Project Results


Brookhaven National Lab
32 Lewis Road Building 130
Upton, NY 11973

Principle Investigator

Feng Wang

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Research Study

Technologies Types:

Building Systems
Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning

NYSERDA Contact Information

Megan Bulman


R&D - Buildings Research

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10666-1

Last Updated: 11/13/2013