What makes burning wood good for the environment?
If you’re worried about the impact of our centrally heated homes on air pollution, a wood burner could be what you’re looking for. It would enable you to minimise your impact on the environment, while not cutting back on warmth. Wood burners, as you might expect, use woody biomass as fuel. Biomass, or biofuel, consists of either woody material, or other types of biodegradable waste, including crops like sugar and maize, which are grown specifically as biofuel.
Woody biomass is burnt in wood-burning stoves in the form of compressed sawdust pellets, wood chips and logs. Modern versions tend to be dual-fire, which means that they can use any of these biomass fuels.
Don’t confuse dual-fire with multi-fuel, though. Multi-fuel stoves can still burn wood products, but will also happily accept smokeless fossil fuel. The latter may seem attractive, due to its ability to burn slowly, as opposed to wood, which should be burned quickly. However, any fossil fuel is extremely environmentally unfriendly, and should be avoided by serious conservationists, and everyone else!
Smokeless fossil fuel’s poor record on CO2 pollution actually outstrips that of both gas and oil. The Climate Change Levy tax, which encourages energy efficiency and discourages carbon emissions, doesn’t yet cover domestic users, but we should remember that, while wood fuel is exempt, smokeless fossil fuel isn’t.
Unlike fossil fuel, wood is renewable. As the new wood grows, carbon is taken from the air, to be absorbed back into the tree. This returns to the atmosphere in one way or another, so burnt wood releases no more carbon than rotting wood does, and this natural cycle continues effortlessly and efficiently.
This concept is much better understood today, and everyone wants to do their bit for the environment, of course. Many builders and architects now add energy-saving wood burners to their new designs. This makes good business sense, as it appeals to a prospective buyer’s sense of aesthetics, addresses their need for the economies that we must all adopt nowadays, and eases their conscience on environmental concerns.
In addition, this option is economical on space, also providing hot water and cooking facilities. Installing a wood burner could make it easier to meet new targets and regulations for lower carbon emissions, which may get even tougher in future.
Wood burners are definitely the answer for the future, saving money, conserving energy, and fighting waste and pollution.