ULEB Study

 

It’s getting colder in Otago as we head into the depths of winter. 

To keep themselves and their families warm, many people in Otago are using ultra-low emission burners, also known as ULEBs. These burners have lower emissions through better technology.  

An ULEB must pass a test to meet emissions thermal efficiency standards. Such tests are typically done in controlled laboratory conditions, but we are keen to understand their real-life impacts.

Arrowtown is the ideal place to study ULEBs – not only is it cold, but many residents have already upgraded their old burners to ULEBs. 

By understanding how effective these burners are in real world environments, we can better understand the technology and help improve our understanding of emissions, and more broadly air quality. 

Emission inventories (recording emissions) allow us to keep track of the amounts of emissions over time, identify problem areas/emission sources, and assess the impacts of our policies on home heating emissions.  

 

How can you help

Ahead of the winter wood burning season, we are seeking Arrowtown residents who have ULEBS so we can test them in real-life scenarios, hoping to gain further understanding of ULEB emissions and calculate more accurate emissions.  

Working with a specialist contractor/technician, we want to find out how and when you burn wood.  

  • The ULEB study will last a week.  
  • The technician will visit once a day for a week to view and change analyser filters, at your convenience. 
  • It will involve you recording and weighing your wood as you put it on the fire. 
  • The technician will also fit a testing probe into the side of the flue (within the house) for the analysis. After the analysers are remove, they will seal the flue and it will be safe to use for the rest of the season. One of our approved installers will replace that section of the flue after winter.  
  • To thank you for your help, we will gift you a $250 supermarket voucher at the end of the week. 

 

ULEB Expressions of Interest

To register your interest as a ULEB volunteer to help improve the environment, please complete the form below and we will call you back.









 

FAQs

In order to become classified as ULEB, a wood burner must pass a test ensuring it meets an emissions standard of 38 milligrams per megajoule of useful energy, and a thermal efficiency of at least 65%.

ULEB technology has been developing over the last 20 years, arising from the need to reduce emissions from home heating.

These are now the only acceptable wood-burning appliance that can be installed in some Otago towns (Alexandra, Arrowtown, Clyde, Cromwell and Milton).

The tests are run in controlled laboratory conditions (amount and moisture level of wood, amount and duration of air flow). 

Ideally, we will have a mix of makes and models to test, so this is a question we will ask when you register your interest as a volunteer.  

Despite lab testing to enable burners to be low emission certified, in real life, conditions vary by user and household, which vastly impacts the amount of emissions that are being released. This makes it difficult to account for or assess the impact of ULEB emissions. 

Following a review of low emission technology for ORC, real-life emissions of ULEBs was identified as the main knowledge gap, and recommended for investigation. Nationally, there have been some other studies done, but due to the large variation in results between households more studies are required for better understanding, especially as ULEB technology continues to evolve. 

We are asking for volunteers for the study so we can test how ULEBs operate in real life situations, and review a variety of ULEB makes and models.  

We work with specialist contractors who will fit a testing probe into the side of the flue (within the house). The contractor will outline what else they require, but will involve asking you to record and weigh your wood as you put it on the fire. The technician also needs to visit once a day to change the analyser filters.  

The contractor will seal the flue after the analysers are removed, and it will be safe to use for the rest of the season. One of our approved installers will replace that section of the flue after winter 

To thank you for the help, we will gift you a $250 supermarket voucher.

Approximately a week, where a technician visits once a day to change the analyser filters. This will be when it suits you.

When you become a volunteer, we will be in touch to introduce you to the contractors and find the most suitable way to collect the data from you.

No. Nothing will happen to the burner. 

No. We want to test real life conditions so it would be using your own wood.  

To thank you for your help, we will gift you a $250 supermarket voucher.

To thank you for your help, we will gift you a $250 supermarket voucher to buy food for you and your family.

In Otago, the largest source of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) is home heating emissions.

We hope to gain further understanding of ULEB emissions and to be able to calculate more accurate emissions inventories.

Emission inventories allow us to keep track of the amounts of emissions over time, identify problem areas/emission sources, and assess the impacts of our policies on home heating emissions.

If you have a ULEB, you are already helping.  

Whenever you're burning your fire to keep warm, always make sure the wood is dry. It’s better for your home and the environment. Here’s a great video about this. 

Our website has some great tips to burn wood. Read more about tips about burning wood here 

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