REGIONAL— New data published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week confirms that Tower-based Lamppa Manufacturing is producing the cleanest and most efficient wood burning furnace on the market today.
In fact, it’s in a league entirely of its own, with emissions that are orders of magnitude lower than their nearest competitors, and an efficiency rating that is on par with standard-efficiency oil furnaces.
The company’s primary wood furnace, known as the Vapor-Fire 100, is so clean that the EPA certified it in September as meeting strict emission standards that don’t take effect until 2020. As of today, it’s the only wood furnace manufactured in the U.S. that has met the new standard. Under the EPA rules, wood furnaces that don’t meet the standard won’t be able to be sold in the U.S. beginning in less than three years.
So how much cleaner is Lamppa’s Vapor-Fire furnace? According to EPA-approved testing data, the Lamppa furnace emits just 0.72 grams of particulates per hour. That compares to an average of 6.54 grams for the ten other wood furnaces currently on the market. The next closest furnace emits 2.84 grams of particulates per hour, while the worst emits more than 11 grams per hour.
Particulates include fine ash particles that can cause respiratory problems, particularly in cities where wood-burning in common. Concerns about wintertime air quality in many mid-sized cities helped prompt the EPA to enact the stricter emissions standards.
The Vapor-Fire also enjoys the highest efficiency rating, at a whopping 79 percent. That’s well above the 68.7 average efficiency rating of the ten other wood furnace competitors. And the remaining wood furnaces still on the market are among the best of the industry, since numerous other manufacturers were shuttered following the implementation of new standards in 2015.
While the remaining manufacturers are scrambling to try to meet the new 2020 standards, Lamppa’s has benefitted from the company’s long history of seeking to build a cleaner wood stove. “This isn’t something that they started working on three years ago,” said Dale Horihan, operations manager at Lamppa Manufacturing. “Both Daryl and Herb started this 40 years ago, long before anyone else cared about the effect on the environment,” added Horihan. “It’s been years of trial and error to get where they are today.”
That relentless focus has given Daryl an extraordinary understanding of how fire burns in a controlled environment. “He understands what’s going on inside the fire box without even opening the door.”
The word is apparently getting out. “It’s been fun working here,” said Horihan. “It’s busy. I have a hard time doing anything but being on the phone here.”
The company is currently in the process of planning an expansion that will allow them to significantly ramp up production by late 2018. The company is working with the Tower Economic Development Authority and the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board to build a new production facility in Tower’s business park. The current timeline has the company in the new facility by next fall.