About 65% of energy consumed in private households is used for heating. As a renewable fuel, wood can be a good alternative to heating with oil, gas and coal. But stoves and boilers have to become substantially cleaner.
It’s in your hands to reduce emissions from residential burning:
- Avoid emissions by reducing heat requirements.
- Shift to clean and sustainable alternatives.
- Improve: Buy only stoves and boilers with fewer emissions.
- Avoid: The soundest measure is to minimize the heat consumption of houses by better insulation (e.g. new windows, facade insulation). Whether wood burning is a supplementary heat source (stove) or the primary heat source (boiler), the energy renovation of the home will effectively reduce theamount of wood burned and the related air pollution.
- Shift: Renewables such as solar heat and geothermal energy, including efficient heat pumps, are recommended. Renewable or biomass based district heating from combined heat and power plants can also be an eco-friendly solution. In urban regions, surplus heat from industry may be used for heat supply.
- Improve: The health hazardous particle pollution from modern wood stoves and boilers connected to a good new chimney will under optimal conditions be much lower than the one of older appliances. Nevertheless, pollution from new stoves and boilers is still much higher than the pollution from other heat sources. A rule of thumb: The less influence of user behavior and fluctuating fuel quality and the more automatization, the less particle emissions will be produced. Therefore, pellet stoves and boilers are a comparable efficient and low-emission alternative. With regard to firewood appliances, stoves with smart electronic automation (in particular with regard to combustion air), two-stage combustion (gasification) or effective exhaust cleaning basically cause fewer emissions than standard appliances in the market.
What else needs to be considered?
- Proper dimensioning and exhaust cleaning technology: If a new stove is to be purchased, proper dimensioning and a smart integration in an overall heating concept is strongly required (e.g. buffer storage for excess heat). In addition, exhaust cleaning technology (particle separator, catalytic converter) is very useful to reduce emissions. Further development efforts have to be taken to improve these technologies. Especially for smaller appliances, there aren’t many exhaust cleaning solutions and those offered in the market still need to become better.
- Optimal firing: In contrast to automated (pellet) appliances, emission from firewood stoves considerably depend on user behavior and quality of the firewood used. Therefore, the optimal fuel, the right method to ignite and to pile the fire up as well as regular maintenance of a stove is a ‚must‘. Read more...