Using wood fuel for your heating, either entirely or as a compliment to existing gas or oil heating systems, can help you reduce your dependency on ever-increasing fossil fuel costs and provides the benefit of being a carbon neutral source of energy.
By using wood fuel, you are burning carbon which has been locked up in the wood over the lifetime of the tree as it was growing. It is the energy from the sun that allowed the tree to lock up this carbon – photosynthesis taking carbon dioxide from the air. Compared to coal, gas or oil that took millions of year to be created, wood is a renewable source of energy – this is why it is generally regarded as carbon neutral. Think how long it would take to produce an amount of coal with a certain amount of energy and then how long it would take to grow the amount of wood with the same energy store.
Aside from the carbon dioxide debate, there is concern that burning wood is just bad for the environment due to particle emissions and other such issues. We would make the following points:
- By using a highly efficient wood burner with good quality fuel you can minimise particle emissions
- If you already use an open fire then installing a good quality wood burner will reduce your emissions
- Any reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels is good
- Using wood fuel allows households to become more self-sufficient with regards heating
- Using wood fuel from a managed source can provide indirect benefits such as employment and wildlife habitat support