Approximately 200,000 log burners are installed in this country each year with sales increasing by as much as 40% per year. One of the attractions of owning a wood burning stove is that it offers a low-carbon way to heat your home when compared to using fossil fuels.
Let’s take a look at how eco-friendly wood burner stoves are.
Wood burning is carbon neutral
Although it gives off carbon dioxide, wood is considered a carbon-neutral energy source. This is because during its life a tree will absorb a considerable amount of carbon dioxide, and when its wood is burned this carbon is released back into the atmosphere.
A neutral state is achieved as the Co2 absorbed during the lifetime of the tree is balanced by the amount released when the wood is burned. The alternative is to burn fossil fuels, which add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
Therefore, compared to burning coal, oil and gas, wood fuel is a low carbon alternative as the carbon released from the wood is replaced by growing new trees. However, this depends on obtaining your wood from a sustainable supply.
Plant more trees for sustainable fuel
The planting of trees for wood fuel is encouraged by woodland conservation charity, The Woodland Trust. Trees are grown entirely by solar power, and they need no pesticides.
A well-managed woodland offers a diverse range of habitats for all kinds of wildlife. Trees create a home for different types of insects and support a host of birds, bees, and mammals.
In most woodlands, trees are left to rot and treated as waste material. In a managed woodland, trees can be harvested and replaced in a natural cycle. If the UK switched entirely to using wood burning stoves, we could become self-sufficient in a matter of years if our woodlands were correctly managed and coppiced.
Burn dry wood for maximum efficiency
Try to burn dry, sustainable and seasoned wood with a moisture content of 20% or less. This will improve the burning efficiency of the wood and produces virtually no smoke to release into the atmosphere.
You can purchase moisture meters that test moisture levels in your wood, so you know when logs are ready to burn.
Ideally, wood should be seasoned outdoors for between 18 to 24 months. If you’re seasoning your own logs, keep them stacked off the ground with space between them to allow for air movement and shield them from rain and snow.
Indicators of fully seasoned wood are when the bark starts to peel away, and cracks and splits appear around the outside of the log. Fully seasoned logs can give you up to 50% more heat output than unseasoned ones.
Use a reputable local wood supplier
If you don’t have your own source of wood, look for a local supplier that deals in sustainable wood.
Most firewood in the UK now comes from a sustainable source, so for every tree cut down another one is planted.
Use a HETAS registered stove installer
HETAS is the official Government recognised body for solid fuel, wood and biomass heating systems, fuels and services. A HETAS registered stove installer has the experience of installing different types of stoves and will be able to make recommendations on every aspect of your wood burning stove including ventilation and other health and safety issues.
If you’re considering installing a wood burner or multi-fuel stove and would like advice from a HETAS registered engineer, contact Peter on 07749 863650.