Ten “Green” Reasons to Heat with Wood
Taken from www.forgreenheat.org
1. It’s a renewable energy resource
Renewable means you don’t run out. Renewable means you don’t deplete the
earth’s resources. Wood is energy from the sun, stored by the tree as it grows.
When you burn wood you are releasing this stored energy. In the dark of winter,
it’s like having a bit of summer sun on your hearth. As long as its sustainably
harvested, forests are managed to increase their carbon stocks and we do not
take more than we are re-growing, wood heat is renewable.
2. Helps fight global warming
When fuels burn they release carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas responsible
for global warming. Burning fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas is like
pumping carbon dioxide from the centre of the earth into the atmosphere â€“ a
one-way trip. Wood heat is a two-way trip. When wood burns, the carbon
dioxide is released, only to be absorbed again by young trees. Because trees
recycle carbon dioxide, wood burning just warms you, not the globe.
3. Keep heating dollars in your community
Stop writing checks every month to the energy utilities. Do you really want your
heating dollars to go a faceless corporation or go abroad to what is likely a very
undemocratic country? Buying cordwood usually keeps your money in your
immediate neighborhood or at least within 50 miles. Buying pellets usually keeps it in
state, or at most from a neighboring state. Heating with wood makes you richer in ways
4. Heat a smaller space, not your whole house
One of the biggest economic and environmental benefits of a wood or pellet stove is that
you can just heat the part of your house you use the most. The basement, bedrooms stay
cool and other parts of the house you don’t use don’t need to be 70 degrees. Regardless
of what you pay for energy, space heating with wood can clip at least 25% right off the
top. It also minimizes the fossil fuel heat that you are taking from the earth.
5. Wood heat is much cleaner than it used to be
Pre-1990 wood stoves usually emitted 30-60 grams of particulates per hour. Today’s
wood stoves usually emit under 4.5 gr/hr. The cleanest wood stoves emit under 1.5
gr/hr. Most pellet and corn stoves are even cleaner, emitting under 2.5 gr/hr with
scores emitting under 1.0 gr/hr. www.forgreenheat.org
6. Wood heat is affordable for working families
Unlike solar and geothermal, wood heat is a renewable energy that is accessible for
all economic classes. Hundreds of millions in tax credits and rebates go to wealthier
families to install solar and geothermal systems, but wood heat is a vital mainstay for
millions of working families who get virtually no incentives to install cleaner, more
efficient biomass appliances. Wood heat is everyman’s renewable.
7. Raise your energy I.Q.
Flick the switch, turn up the thermostat. Now, what did that cost? What impact did it
have on the natural world? What sins were committed in getting that energy to you?
You’re in touch when you heat with wood. And, working for your heat makes you more
likely to insulate. That log you placed on the fire is a tangible measure of the cost to the
environment of keeping your family warm. It’s the wood heat way of knowledge.
8. Wood heat creates jobs in rural areas
Wood heat creates tens of thousands of jobs in most states including in forestry,
transportation and retail sectors. Unlike solar and wind, which often rely on
imported technology, wood heat makes lots of jobs in our own rural areas. And,
unlike solar, wind and geothermal, wood heat creates jobs year after year, not
just in the construction and installation phase.
9. Wood heat helps us be self-reliant
Wood heat helps us be responsible for our own energy consumption and the
negative impacts from it, instead of the NIMBY attitudes that are content to have
impacts of energy felt in someone else’s community, either here or abroad. It also
helps us be self-reliant so that we are not dependent on other countries â€“ or even
distant parts of our country, like Alaska or the Gulf of Mexico.
10. Wood heat can allow us to save money and spend it elsewhere
We almost forgot to mention it. Wood is the cheapest heating fuel you can use if you don’
live in a large city. For the poorest of families, large fossil heating bills make it hard to put
good food on the table during the winter. Saving money on heating allows us to give our
kids opportunities, to invest in ways to reduce other energy use, etc.
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Paul Bianco is the General Manager of Chimney Savers, a family owned and operated chimney cleaning and repair company servicing Vermont & New Hampshire since 1989. With 12 years of experience in the chimney business, Paul has extensive knowledge in all things chimney.