National woodheater audit program action plan

Department of the Environment and Heritage, May 2004

PDF file

About this action plan

Along with motor vehicles, woodheaters are a major contributor to particle pollution in Australia. In some regions, woodheaters can contribute as much as 85% of the atmospheric particle pollution during the cooler months, and can lead to the National Ambient Air Quality standard for particles being regularly exceeded. Woodheater emissions are also a significant source of many air toxics, including benzene, formaldehyde and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons.

Current strategies to manage woodsmoke pollution in most States and Territories are principally based on regulations which require that woodheaters for sale are certified to comply with the Australian/ New Zealand Standard for woodheater emissions (AS/NZS 4013). This Standard specifies a maximum allowable particle emissions of 4g per kilogram of wood burnt, under controlled test conditions. The Standard also stipulates that models tested must comply with (a) design drawings submitted by the manufacturer and (b) specified labelling requirements.

However, there are doubts that the emissions performance of woodheaters available for retail purchase actually comply with the Standard, as testing for certification purposes is conducted on a prototype model rather than a mass-produced model. To address this issue, woodheaters are routinely audited in many states in the US but, until recently, audits have not been conducted in Australia.

Purchased woodheaters may not perform in accordance with their certification because woodheater models sold may differ from the models tested in the laboratory, either as a result of poor quality assurance/quality control, or manufacturers not being cognisant of the requirements of certification. For example, woodheaters may be modified from their design drawings to achieve longer burn times between refuelling. This would have adverse implications for air quality. The discrepancy between certified and actual performance would also create uncertainty in the calculation of woodsmoke emissions inventories and, consequently, the development of air quality management plans.

With the above issues in mind, the Australian Government, along with NSW, Victoria, WA and Tasmanian governments developed a program to audit the most popular woodheater models available in Australia - the National Woodheater Audit Program. The program was implemented by the Australian Home Heating Association, on behalf of the Australian Government and participating States. Results from the Program demonstrated that the degree of non-compliance, in terms of emissions performance, engineering design specifications and labelling requirements, is significant and needs to be addressed by industry. The importance of these results has been recognised by governments, the Australian Home Heating Association and individual manufacturers.

This action plan, which addresses the key findings of the National Woodheater Audit Program, is a joint initiative of the Australian, NSW, Victorian, South Australian, Western Australian and Tasmanian governments, and the Australian Home Heating Association.

Cover of the National woodheater audit program action plan

Before you download

Most publications are available as PDF files. Adobe Acrobat Reader  is required to view PDF files.

If you are unable to access a publication, please contact us to organise a suitable alternative format.


   Links to another web site
   Opens a pop-up window