MORRISVILLE, Vt. (WCAX) For 41 years HearthStone has been making wood stoves in Morrisville. The company has seen its ups and downs but is now firing on all combustors with its clean burning Made in Vermont stoves.
At HearthStone in Morrisville, it's all about efficiency -- from the workers on the assembly line, to the clean burning wood stoves they produce.
"We have the benefit of a number of highly-tenured employees. We definitely have it down to a science," said the company's Scott King.
"We've always tried to make the most efficient product we can," said David Kuhfahl, the company's president
HearthStone's original owners wanted to build a soapstone stove that could be used in everyone's home. The soapstone inside tempers the heat of a wood fire.
"You could have a raging wood fire like that going on and the temperatures in the room are a lot more stable then if it were a steel or cast iron box alone," Kuhfahl said.
For decades wood stoves were burning off 70 to 100 grams of particulate matter per hour in their smoke, but in 1988 the EPA said that needed to come down to 7.5 grams. Many companies cooled and filed for bankruptcy including HearthStone, but thanks to its popularity in the industry, a family run company in Spain purchased the assets in 1989.
"All of our cast iron comes from Spain -- our parent company," Kuhfahl said.
HearthStone designed a system to get emissions down to 3.5 grams, well below the EPA standard. But in 2015, the EPA raised the standards again to two grams an hour. That's when HearthStone invested half-a-million dollars to create a system called TruHybrid. Adding catalytic combustors to their stoves took the emissions down to less than a gram.
"You've basically taken all the heat there is in that wood and turned it into energy. So, now you've got a product in your home that's heating at 80 percent efficiency, which is amazing for a wood stove," Kuhfahl said.
The lab at Hearthstone is its central nervous system where workers conduct EPA emissions and safety tests. If where any new product that comes down the line is tested and proven.
"We are leading the industry in terms of product that is consumer friendly, environmentally friendly," Kuhfahl said.
HearthStone currently has 14 certified wood stoves, costing an average retail price of $3,000.
The company has had success all over the world, with the largest customer in Japan.
But Vermont has provided a pretty hot consumer base as well. They sell about 1 stove per 1,000 people in the state each year. "Which is a pretty nice number. It makes us feel good about being here and being a part of this," Kuhfahl said.
This wonder of a wood stove business has beaten the standards to burn brighter and cleaner than anyone else.