Just how green are wood burners?

We are living in a vastly different world than we were only 15 or 20 years ago. The general public has become a lot more aware of environmental concerns and carbon footprints, and we have seen an increase in trends associated with a sustainable and ecological way of life.

Wood burning stoves have captured the interest of many homeowners; the combination of cheap heating and a cosy focal point within the property is an appealing idea. As a result, there are currently an estimated 1.5 million households in the UK with a wood burning stove, with around 200,000 more stoves being sold every year.

Many people believe a wood burning stove to be a significant step towards lowering their environmental impact, relying on a sustainable resource to heat their properties rather than purchasing energy from the central grid – much of which is generated by the burning of carbon-heavy fossil fuels. But how accurate is this idea? Are wood burners actually good for the environment?

Wood Burning Stoves: Carbon Neutral

Despite the fact that it gives off so much carbon dioxide, wood is a carbon-neutral energy source – it may seem counter-intuitive but in fact the logic is pretty simple. Through its lifecycle the tree will absorb a significant amount of carbon dioxide, and when the wood is burned the absorbed carbon is released back into the atmosphere. This amount of absorbed CO2 during the lifetime of the tree is balanced by the overall amount of CO2 released when the wood is burned. Therefore, the carbon dioxide actually added to the atmosphere is effectively zero.

In fact, based on this concept the government offers subsidies for some domestic wood burners. Though stoves are not included, wood-burning hot water boilers can qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), a scheme promoting sustainable power and providing quarterly cash repayments to cover the installation costs.

Can we help?

If you require assistance, please do make contact and one of our fully qualified fitters (HETAS registered) will be happy to help.