We all know that weaning off of our use of utilities is a great way to go “green”, however one of the ways we may do this is by using an alternative heating source for our homes. One of the most popular ways to heat a home is with a fireplace. People have been burning wood as a natural way to produce heat for centuries – but is this sustainable? Does it kill too many trees and produce too much smoky air? Are there any other viable options?
Is a Wood Stove Heater Green?
In short, the answer is: yes… but not in our modern age. Back in the day of our ancestors, this was a great way of keeping warm and was one of many materials that was used to keep a house warm. But things have changed since then – in our modern age, we are faced with two problems: 1. Population growth and 2. Increased pollution and unnatural chemicals.
Too Many People and Not Enough Trees
Imagine if everyone on earth began using a wood burning stove as their source of heat – things would get pretty smoky really fast (not to mention we would run out of trees just as fast)! Previously, this was okay because there were more trees and less people. Now we face such problems as deforestation, and by using wood we are contributing to that problem.
Laced With Potentially Harmful Chemicals
Additionally, the chemicals and impurities in the wood are emitted when we light wood as a heat source. Trees are living and “breathing” organisms – they absorb everything around us. When we burn wood, they emit hazardous air pollutants (HAP’s) such as benzo pyrene and other pollutants, which are linked to cancer and can trigger or worsen asthma.
If you are completely set on using a wood fire burner, the best and most sustainable option is to use a wood pellet stove. The difference between a traditional fireplace and a wood pellet stove is that a wood pellet stove uses compressed wood waste, so it is not directly responsible for deforestation. Best of all, it can cut pollution emissions by 80%. Of course, you can always go electric – so long as you are using solar, wind, etc. power for a sustainable, clean source of heat. Stay warm in the winter, but choose a way that protects the planet and provides you with clean air.