charnwoodstoves

We are delighted and honoured to have received a King’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category. The King’s Award is the UK’s most prestigious business award given to only a select number of businesses each year. The award is a recognition of the amazing efforts of everyone here at AJ Wells and Sons and also our wider Charnwood family which includes you, our customers. Thank you for all the support you have given us over the years!

Read on to learn more about why we were chosen to receive The King’s Award for Enterprise 2024

A journey of innovation and adaptation

Our story is one of constant evolution. Founded in 1972, Alfred J Wells and his 3 sons started by making metal fire escapes and railings. With the 1970s oil crisis and a shift in customer needs, AJ Wells & Sons pivoted to design and craft their first wood-burning stove and Charnwood was born. That same adaptability led them to explore vitreous enamel signage when the King’s Cross fire disaster highlighted its importance for safety and durability. These experiences instilled the importance of staying agile and embracing new opportunities, such as our stunning Vlaze super vitrified outdoor kitchens, released in 2020.

One constant over time and across our businesses, however, has been a drive to make a positive difference. We create products that are built to last, designed to be easily repaired, and that are kind to the environment – a reflection of our core values and commitment to sustainability.

The AJ Way: Our guiding principles

 

Our faith and our family values are at the heart of everything we do. The AJ Way, our company philosophy, embodies this spirit. Our company objectives are to Transform Lives and Delight Customers, and the prestigious recognition of the Kings Award hopefully demonstrates our progress towards these aims. We strive to improve the quality of life for everyone we touch, by creating high-quality products and nurturing a positive work environment. We care sincerely about the environment and are working diligently towards our Net Zero 2050 commitment.

Our international success is a testament to teamwork

We understand the importance of striking a balance between our domestic market and our export endeavours. The UK remains incredibly important to us, offering stability and a familiar landscape. However, exporting has been key to our growth and provided valuable diversification and growth opportunities.

We now operate extensively throughout Europe and trade with South Africa, North America, Japan, and Australia. Our success abroad wouldn’t have been possible without our fantastic team and dedicated partners. Building trust and strong relationships is paramount to our success in each location and in each market, we’ve been blessed to find partners who share our values and vision.

We have also gained valuable insights and knowledge from operating internationally. For example, the demand for external air features in Japanese stoves led to an innovation that benefited customers worldwide. In Australia, an increased focus on efficiency, understanding design preferences and meeting logistical challenges, has fueled rapid growth while providing ideas and knowledge that translate well to other markets.

Investing in the future and striving for excellence

 

At AJ Wells & Sons, we’re committed to continuous improvement to ensure our products stand out in a crowded marketplace. While market share figures can be interesting, our true focus is on exceeding our own targets and achieving dominance in specific markets. 

Our recent investments in advanced laser profiling and robotic welding equipment, ensure we remain at the forefront of British manufacturing. We’re also investing heavily in our people by fostering a culture of innovation and development. Looking to the future, we’re exploring other markets, seeking ways to expand our reach and positive impact. 

Some of our other highlights of 2023/24 

Here are some of the other highlights, news and outstanding projects our businesses have been involved with in 2023/24.  

AJ Wells 

The Surface Design Awards 

 

We were delighted to win top spot in the Commercial Building Exterior category at the Surface Design Awards 2024! A.J Wells and Sons designed, developed, manufactured and installed the beautiful vitreous enamel external soffit on the sixth floor of the award-winning project, at The Rowe, Whitechapel, London.

Brent Cross West Station

 

A.J Wells and Sons are proud to have manufactured and installed the stunning vitreous enamel paneling of Giles Round’s artwork at Brent Cross West mainline train station. Renowned British artist Giles Round was commissioned to create a captivating artwork to adorn the station’s interior. Titled “Time passes & still I think of you,” this expansive architectural frieze graces The Arbour, the station’s eastern entrance, marking the fifth public artwork commissioned for Brent Cross Town.

Read more here 

Charnwood

 

At Progetto Fueco 2024, this year’s star attraction was undoubtedly the debut of our brand-new Skye E700 wood-burning stove, which wowed attendees. The Skye E700 is a new intelligent microprocessor-controlled stove set to revolutionize the way we burn wood. The E700 uses electronic control to constantly monitor the fire and make automatic adjustments to ensure wood is always burnt cleanly and efficiently. It offers users the convenience of just loading the fire, setting the room temperature using the Charnwood app and letting the stove do the rest. Maximising efficiency is now as simple as that – we can’t wait to see how this game-changer impacts the industry!

Read more about the many benefits of owning a wood-burning stove

Vlaze

 

This year we introduced our upgraded Vlaze Adapt outdoor kitchen cabinetry. Innovative 60 and 120-module units offer endless configurations making it easier than ever to design and install your perfect outdoor kitchen diner. New internal features like pull-out bins and smooth-gliding drawers, maximise convenience. Plus, our grill cabinets seamlessly fit slide-in gas grills, expanding your cooking horizons. With the summer not far away it’s time to let the fresh air, sunshine, and the aroma of delicious food create unforgettable moments with family & friends.

Read more here

We also revealed our new Nature Collection organic colour range which is perfect for those who want to add colour, but seek a more subtle approach. Soft, stylish, natural shades blend seamlessly with your garden environment and help create a truly unique and tranquil space.
 

Here are some detail shots of Sage, Clay and Chalk – subtle shades in glorious vitreous enamel!  

A message of gratitude  

Like most businesses, we have faced many challenges and uncertainties over the last few years and as we highlighted in our application it has been our faith in Jesus which has proved to be our rock. This King’s Award for Enterprise is a tremendous honour and a humbling recognition of the incredible dedication and hard work put in by our entire AJ Wells & Sons family. We’re incredibly grateful to our team, our partners, and our loyal customers around the world. Here’s to many more years of crafting exceptional products, building strong and meaningful relationships, and making a positive difference! 

You can get in touch here to discuss your project. 

charnwoodstoves

I spent the weekend clearing and chopping a large Eucalyptus which had blown down in storms a few weeks ago. It was a magnificent tree and one which we were sad to see come down. Its beauty, however, went beyond its imposing stature. As logs were cut and split ready for stacking and seasoning to provide heat at a much later date, the beauty of creation’s ability to store energy was demonstrated in its fullness. Energy storage has always been a human challenge, but this tree had done it perfectly. Earlier that day I had been at Parkrun and the subject of wood burning had been raised in light of the Scottish government’s reported ‘ban’ on installing wood burners in new builds (which has caused problems for the Scottish Government): “It is just crazy, where is the common sense in that” a local businessman said to me. Indeed, as I looked at the logs I had just cut, I agreed – where is the common sense of not using this stored energy for heat? It is local, widely available, and it is nature’s gift. When we look out of our window we may see a number of energy sources – maybe some sun, sometimes the effects of wind, but almost always trees.  

Despite the clear benefits of using wood as a fuel source, there has been much anti-wood-burning talk recently, not least in Scotland. So, are we losing our common sense? Are we disregarding nature? At Charnwood, environmental responsibility has always been a core value and driver of our business as we try and make a difference in what we do. We want to listen, we want to engage with the voices that are contrary to our views, indeed that is the way we learn. There is a proverb from the bible which says:  

“Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.” (Proverbs 9) 

We initially held back from engaging with the anti-wood burning lobby on social media. However, we eventually felt compelled to start pushing back on some of the misleading and untrue claims made by the Wood Burning London and Global Action Plan campaigns. As we started to engage more, we realised that there were a lot of different viewpoints, some of which we hadn’t considered fully before. In light of this, we wrote:  

‘Shared Goals, Cleaner Air: Reimagining the Wood Burning Debate with Healthy Dialogue & Believing the Best in Each Other’ 

In this, we argued we needed to start believing the best in each other in order that we work together for positive solutions. In truth, this has been really hard. We have always sought to be polite – to engage well and be constructive. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, this is rarely reciprocated. In hindsight, maybe we should have paid more attention to the first part of the proverb: 

“Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse. Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you” 

We were certainly mocked, insulted, abused and hated! We are apparently representatives of the ‘Stink Industry’, our customers are ‘stokers’ and we have been given a new brand name ‘CharrredWood’. We were called liars, condescending and not genuine…. The claims went on, abuse was thrown our way and when we did invite more meaningful debate away from X we were accused of having bad motives and wanting to discredit people. When there seemed to be genuine concerns and we offered to engage in detail away from social media to find solutions, in most cases, those with the issues refused the offer of help and even called us creepy for offering! Our motives and funding were questioned, and we were accused of acting in bad faith. Some users have even learnt how to use AI images to produce grotesque anti-wood-burning memes. It was tempting to want to reply aggressively, but we tried to resist.  

We know there are strong voices on both sides, and social media can breed one-sided arguments while amplifying negativity. But the intensity of the anti-wood burning sentiment online from certain groups was still a little unexpected. Engaging felt a bit like venturing into a lion’s den – or maybe a nest of angry wasps – we got our fair share of stings! Our words were sometimes twisted, and our motives misconstrued. 

Here is one example of a social media post that highlights some of the challenges to the debate. An unwillingness to recognise the very real differences between different stoves and other forms of woodburning is not constructive. Obviously ‘good’ is subjective, but we think it is a justified adjective when you consider a modern stove, burned correctly, is up to 80% more efficient than an old stove and 90% more than an open fire. Additionally, emissions from modern wood stoves, when used correctly, are negligible. Burning dry wood (e.g. Ready to Burn certified) in an Ecodesign-compliant stove (e.g. clearSkies certified) makes up just 0.09% of total UK PM2.5 emissions. Source: NAEI (1). 

Also, scaremongering tactics regarding an increased cancer risk to stove owners misrepresent the facts and is very unhelpful to all. This report undertaken by Dr Amanda Lea-Langton, (2) senior lecturer in Bioenergy Engineering at the University of Manchester found:   

-No scientific evidence for adverse health impacts from exposure to the indoor air typically associated with modern, enclosed wood-burning stoves 

-Use of modern wood-burning stoves may help to improve air quality inside the home due to the natural draught created during wood stove operation that pulls air from the room into the appliance and from outside. (Even the findings from the London Wood-Burning Project (3), who are anti-woodburning, back this up: “Use of the clearSkies Level 5 stove demonstrated some benefits for indoor air quality. Indoor PM2.5 did not increase when adding fuel to the stove once lit… At times there was actually a decrease in indoor concentrations of PM2.5 when adding fuel.”) 

-Other sources of particulate matter in the home, such as cooking, can release much higher levels of PM compared to modern, enclosed wood-burning stoves, and could therefore have greater health risk potential 

Despite the hostility online, the experience did provide some value. We do recognise people’s concerns and understand some of the frustration. What was very apparent is that many of the most vehement anti-wood-burners have had very bad neighbourhood experiences of wood-burning. Pictures of smoky chimneys are too frequent, and, in all honesty, we would be complaining just as much if we had to live next to some of the chimneys in question. Undoubtably, there is a very real and present problem with the way that some people are burning their wood fuel which is something we rarely hear as most of the people we interact with at Charnwood HQ love their stoves. They find it has improved their health and well-being, keeps them warm and provides energy security – but we acknowledge that our experience on X has revealed there are others who have been very negatively affected by bad burning. 

So where does this leave us – what do we do? We are passionate about wood-burning heating, to us and to many it seems like common sense. It makes use of a local, natural and renewable fuel source that encourages the planting and managing of forests and woodland which is important for improving biodiversity (4). We make Charnwood stoves here on the Isle of Wight, we employ local people and one of our company objectives is to make a positive difference to the local community. Sustainability is a core driver in our business, and we continue to seek ways to minimise our environmental impact. We are confident of the many benefits of wood-burning, however, we are not oblivious to the downsides and burning anything can produce bad particles.  Although the improvements in burning technology have overall reduced wood smoke emissions significantly (1), if you have a neighbour who is burning badly, this is of little comfort.   

However, we do need to be realistic about energy solutions and apply common sense to each situation. There will not be a one-size-fits-all solution. Heat pumps are the solution being pushed by governments at the moment, but the uptake has been really poor. Where around one million gas boilers are fitted every year there were only around 60000 heat pumps sold last year (5). Despite the best efforts of governments, consumers have been reluctant to install them and many who have, are left disappointed. I was talking to a local heating engineer a couple of weeks ago and he was telling me how he now has customers asking him to remove their heat pumps and instead install a gas solution. In Germany, part of the success of the AFD has been its opposition to heat pumps (6). Although heat pumps can work very well, they have limitations and when policymakers ignore these genuine concerns and try to push a one-size-fits-all solution, we can see it backfire. But in the same way that we need to be careful about over-pushing one solution, we also need to be careful about restricting other solutions because of their perceived negatives. Should we ban electric cars and battery storage because the metals used often come from mines using child labour? (7). Should we ban solar panels because most are produced in China using Uygur forced labour and some of the chemicals used are toxic (8)? And should we ban all solid fuel burning because of the problems of emissions in some cases? All of these are valid questions which are likely to make us feel uncomfortable, and our lived experiences will determine our responses. But instead of banning things and reducing our energy security and flexibility, should we not mitigate the negatives so we can take advantage of the positives? 

All energy sources have upsides and downsides – are they low carbon? Are they emission-free at the point of generation? Are they emission-free at the point of use? Is the energy source sustainable? What about the manufacturing impact of the equipment? What about the recyclability of the equipment? In the UK we often congratulate ourselves on being well on our way to having sustainable energy, however as Sir Dieter Helm, Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford points out much of this has been because we have deindustrialised (9). For example, closing the steelworks at Port Talbot won’t mean that we consume less steel. It will just mean that the environmental and carbon impact of the steel we use gets moved to another country often with less human and environmental protections than our own. The same could be said for importing wood pellets from North America to power the Drax power stations – we still use and generate the carbon here, even if it is offset where the trees are grown. We need to use the ‘common sense’ test, and both of these examples fail miserably. 

Now more than ever, with so much instability in the world, we need a pragmatic and diverse energy mix that is resilient to future demands. We believe burning wood on modern wood-burning stoves is an overall small, but important part of this. By using logs from locally managed forests, and burning properly with locally made, long-lasting equipment which can be easily recycled at the end of its life, wood-burning stoves are one common sense solution for many situations. At Charnwood, we are investing in new technology which mitigates the negatives of wood-burning emissions. We have just launched the Skye E700 which uses electronic control to constantly monitor the fire and make automatic adjustments to ensure wood is always burnt cleanly and efficiently. The results are remarkable and build on the already large steps forward we have made in clean burning technology. What is more, wood burning compliments heat pumps very well. Whereas heat pumps struggle in cold weather, combining a heat pump with a stove works well and could increase heat pump uptake if encouraged. Indeed, in Norway, if a heat pump is installed a provision must be made for a flue to take a stove. 

So, let’s use our common sense as we think about heating. We are continuing to invest in new technology which will allow us to burn wood more cleanly and efficiently. We know it is sustainable and a brilliant solution for many situations that have suitable wood fuel available. As an industry, we need to continue making improvements in our appliances to ensure overall air quality improves, but we also need to work together with other stakeholders to ensure that local instances of bad burning are eradicated. This might mean tougher penalties, improved education and it may include a stove swap-out programme to replace old appliances with cleaner ones. It may also mean other things, but to do this we need positive and constructive engagement. Will we get criticism? Of course, we will, and we will expect it – just take a look at the comments below when we post this article on social media! Sustainability, the environment and air quality are important issues, so we welcome constructive debate and criticism, we want to see real improvements so this time we just might not respond to the mockers. Instead, our efforts will focus on innovation and development to overcome the challenges of wood-burning while further amplifying its many benefits. 

 

References: 

(1) https://naei.beis.gov.uk/data/data-selector-results?q=189517 

(2) https://stoveindustryalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/22-04-11-Indoor-air-final-V5-AL.pdf 

(3) https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/environmental-research-group/London-Wood-Burning-Project-Report_final.pdf 

(4) https://www.smallwoods.org.uk/en/advice-and-information/the-economics-of/ 

(5) https://www.heatpumps.org.uk/statistics/ 

(6) https://www.politico.eu/article/robert-lambrou-alternative-for-germany-heat-pump-election-climate-change 

(7) https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/phone-electric-vehicle-congo-cobalt-mine-b2277665.html? 

(8) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-57124636 

(9) https://alastaircampbell.org/2024/04/69-the-brutal-truth-about-net-zero-and-how-to-vanquish-climate-populists-with-dieter-helm/ 

charnwoodstoves

We at Charnwood appreciate the work Mums for Lungs does in advocating for clean air. We share their concern for healthy homes and the environment. However, some recent information they released on wood burning does not reflect the latest available data which shows significantly reduced emissions from advancements in wood-stove technology and responsible fuel practices. Let’s explore some key points raised in their leaflet: 

Air Quality Concerns: 

MfL Wood burning is a leading cause of PM2.5. Emissions of PM2.5 from domestic wood burning increased by 56% between 2012 and 2022, to represent 22% of overall PM2.5 emissions in 2022. This is more than all UK road transport exhausts (18%).” 

The term ‘domestic wood-burning’ continues to mislead.  The public understandably associates this catch all term most readily with wood-burning stoves – despite it being a combination of emissions including open fires, outdoor bonfires and old stoves. The actual contribution of modern wood-burning stoves is estimated by the UK government’s official figures at just 1-2%! (1)   

And when good fuel practices are undertaken this reduces even further. (2) 

As reported by the SIA “Last year…PM2.5 emissions from Ecodesign stoves burning dry wood fuel accounted for less than 0.1% of the UK total.” 

 MfL “There is no such thing as clean burning. The newest Ecodesign, Defra compliant stove emits six times more PM2.5 per hour than a Euro VI heavy goods vehicle.” 

This stat has repeatedly been shown to be flawed and has caused much unnecessary concern.   

Closer inspection reveals the data used to create this stat excludes brake and engine wear and in fact, just one Euro 6 HGV produces 13 times more PM2.5 emissions than an Ecodesign wood-burning stove over a week’s real-world use. Furthermore, emissions from HGVs are emitted at ground level (nearer head height) while wood smoke is dispersed more safely, higher up via a chimney flue.   

The SIA say, “ The claims are based on simplistic calculations using permitted rates of emission and do not consider either real world use or non-exhaust emissions. Furthermore, these permitted emissions rates rely on vastly differing measurement protocols and techniques. It should also be noted that there are several unreferenced assumptions, and the report does not appear to have been independently peer reviewed.” (3) 

It is fair to say that a 90% reduction in emissions, which is what modern wood-burning stoves offer, is clean burning. With 70% of wood burning in London taking place on open fires, modern stoves could reduce those emissions by 90% and that would certainly clean up the air dramatically! 

Furthermore, it is important and pragmatic to say that the reality is there is no pure way to keep warm. Every heating solution, from gas and electric to wind, solar, heat pumps and nuclear involves tradeoffs and compromises. The key is to optomise these solutions and use them intelligently together to provide us with greater energy security and wellbeing. Read about wood-burning stoves co-heating future here. 

Costs: 

MfL “Wood burning is costly…” 

Prices of all types of fuel constantly fluctuate and are dependant on many factors including availability and how much you buy. Wood is consistently one of the cheapest fuel sources available and as recently as 18 months ago was widely considered the cheapest fuel source! (4) What is constant is that wood is the only fuel source that you can collect yourself for FREE and is not subject to spiking due to global crises in the way that gas and electricity is. It also provides energy independence and security from outages caused by various factors from storms to supply issues.  

Environmental Impact: 

MfL  “Wood burning is not a climate friendly way of heating a home. Burning wood releases more greenhouse gases than gas, oil or coal for the same amount of heat.” 

Wood is a renewable fuel source compared with fossil fuels that take millions of years to produce. Additionally, acquiring the remaining fossil fuel supply requires increasingly destructive methods such as fracking and deep-sea oil drilling. Wood fuel, on the other hand, can be sourced locally and in harmony with the environment.   

Sustainably harvested wood fuel can absolutely be considered climate-friendly because trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, offsetting the emissions released when burned. However, we acknowledge that responsible forest management and efficient burning practices are crucial to ensure true sustainability.  

MfL  “Leaving trees to grow and mature creates forests which capture more carbon and sustain a richer variety of species” 

Managing woodland is vital for healthy forests and increasing biodiversity. Coppicing is an ancient woodland management technique dating back to the stone age used to ensure regular supply of timber and firewood and improve forest health. It involves felling trees at their base to create a ‘stool’ where new shoots will grow. Coppicing today is often used as a way of improving the health and biodiversity of a woodland area by opening it up to the sunlight and allowing a wider range of plants to flourish. 

The National Trust say “Today, we use it at many of the places we care for to create a range of habitats for plants and wildlife – dramatically increasing the diversity of species that thrive in these areas.” (5) 

According to the Woodland Trust’s 2021 report (6), the UK’s woodland cover has more than doubled in the last 100 years, reaching 13.1% of the total land area and forest coverage is set to continue increasing which provides a host of benefits, including:  

Carbon Sequestration: Wood absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it grows. When wood is burned responsibly, a closed-loop carbon cycle can be created with the carbon dioxide released being reabsorbed by new trees.  

Biodiversity Enhancement: Woodlands are the habitat for a diverse range of wildlife, including many insects and birds. When done sustainably, harvesting wood encourages new growth and benefits biodiversity.  

Local Jobs: Wood fuel production and distribution creates jobs and supports economies in rural areas. This is crucial for maintaining the vibrancy of local communities who in turn invest in looking after their woodland areas. 

____________ 

We understand concerns about PM2.5 and we want to continue playing a key role in improving air quality. Modern wood-burning stoves are NOT the problem and the latest data shows that they can in fact massively improve air quality. 

We would encourage everyone to come together to focus on the real issues that can make a genuine difference. Let’s encourage people to reduce bonfires, switch from open fires to modern wood-burning stoves, and burn wood responsibly and efficiently. This would make a huge difference while protecting our energy security.  

Remember there is no 100% clean technology. Every heating source has its positives and negatives. Modern wood-burning maximises the many positives while drastically reducing the negatives. 

For those open to working together to ensure the cleanest possible air for everyone, please read our blog: Shared Goals, Cleaner Air: Reimagining The Wood Burning Debate With Healthy Dialogue & Believing The Best In Each Other 

 

References: 

(1) https://stoveindustryalliance.com/domestic-indoor-wood-burning-emissions-significantly-lower-than-previously-thought/ 

(2) https://www.charnwood.com/news/sia-report-wood-burning-emissions-decrease-despite-record-year-for-stove-sales/ 

(3) https://stoveindustryalliance.com/sia-responds-to-wood-burning-stove-and-hgv-emission-comparison/ 

(4) https://stoveindustryalliance.com/wood-fuel-now-the-cheapest-domestic-heating-fuel/ 

(5) https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/discover/nature/trees-plants/what-is-coppicing 

(6) https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/media/51705/state-of-the-uks-woods-and-trees-2021-thewoodlandtrust.pdf 

charnwoodstoves

On May 1st new government regulations came into force that restricts the types of fuel you can burn at home. We welcome DEFRA’s announcement, that going forward, only fuels that reduce air pollution can be burned in stoves and open fires in the domestic setting. That means coal and wet wood are no longer allowed to be used. Charnwood fully support this change and have long been producing exceptionally high-performance stoves already designed to run on approved wood-burning stove fuel.

 

The Best Wood-Burning Stove Fuel Options

Seasoned wood

This is wood that has been stored and allowed to dry until the moisture content has reduced to 20% or less. Freshly cut or ‘green wood’ holds around 60% water which causes far more smoke to be produced. It is for this reason we have long stressed the importance of using seasoned wood because it produces a significantly cleaner burn – reducing emissions by up to 50%. Additionally, improved efficiency equals cheaper running costs, while a cleaner fuel means your stove and chimney will require less maintenance. It’s win-win.

How to season wood in 4 Steps

1/ Split wood into logs in a size to suit your stove no larger than 15cm (6”) in diameter.
2/ Stack the wood in a place that gets plenty of sun and allows the wind and air to circulate. To avoid injury from falling logs, never stack above head height.
3/ Cover the stack to protect it from rain and snow. Make sure to cover the top and if you cover the sides as well, make sure the air can get in and that moisture is not getting trapped.
4/ Store the wood for 18-24 months, until the moisture content is below 20%. Test this with a moisture metre.

Different species of wood have varying qualities that effect their wood burning capability. We have compiled a useful chart with more information.

Explore more on seasoning wood correctly.

Kiln dried wood

Another fuel that is DEFRA approved is kiln dried wood that is cut, split, and then dried in large ovens. This speeds up the drying process and means that there is always readily available fuel for your stove if your supply is short. Look out for the Woodsure Ready to Burn label which guarantees a moisture content of 20% or less.

Also explore our best firewood to burn chart in the UK.

 

Ecodesign Ready

 

While choosing the right wood to burn is important, having an efficient stove is also key. Most of the stoves we sell are Ecodesign Ready and our Island Stove is one of the very cleanest on the market.

Charnwood are proud to have stoves certified in the inaugural ClearSkies listing, an independent emissions and energy performance certification mark for stoves. Many Charnwood products carry a level 5 certification (the highest available rating) which guarantees performance levels exceed the minimum Ecodesign criteria by a sizable 30%. This is only awarded to stoves that significantly reduce particle emissions while ensuring high efficiencies and a superior flame picture.

 

Why Choose Us?

At Charnwood Stoves, we’re committed to providing you with the finest quality wood-burning stove fuel that not only meets strict standards of approval but also exceeds your expectations. Here’s why you should choose us:

1/ Superior Quality: Our wood-burning stove fuels are meticulously selected and tested to ensure optimum performance and efficiency, giving you peace of mind in your heating choices.

2/ Eco-Friendly Solutions: We prioritise sustainability by offering fuels that are environmentally friendly, reducing your carbon footprint while providing cosy warmth for your home.

3/ Trusted Reputation: With years of experience and a reputation for excellence, Charnwood is a name you can trust for reliable heating solutions that enhance your living space.

4/ Expert Guidance: Our knowledgeable team is dedicated to providing expert advice and assistance, ensuring you find the perfect fuel for your specific stove requirements.

Choose Charnwood Stoves for unmatched quality, sustainability, and expertise in wood burning stove fuels.

 

________________

We hope you embrace these new regulations and continue to enjoy the wonderful wood-burning experience with the knowledge that you are helping reduce pollution levels. Additionally, due to the carbon-neutral benefits of wood-burning, you are helping to significantly reduce CO2 levels and contributing to the fight against global warming.

Find out more about Ecodesign ready stoves here.

charnwoodstoves

This blog is a review and closer look at the results of the Charnwood Wellbeing Survey 2021. A survey of over 1200 wood-burning stove users and the impact of stoves on their wellbeing. The vast majority of stoves owned by participants utilise Charnwood’s modern clean-burn technology and are EcoDesign ready.

___________________________

In recent years we have seen a move towards a greater understanding in society of mental health and the need for self-care. The lockdowns only brought this more into focus and it was no coincidence that stove sales rose steeply during this time. It was clear from our conversations with customers that there was a strong relationship between owning a stove and a happier home.

We recently conducted a survey of stove users to better understand the significant and unique benefits that wood-burning stoves provide their owners and family’s wellbeing. The response was phenomenal with 1227 users (we thank you all) providing deep insight into the wider benefits of owning and using a stove.

A whopping 93% replied, definitively, that their stove has a positive impact on their wellbeing, while the bar graph below shows the range of ways these benefits manifest.

Participants were then asked to elaborate on their choices, and we were overwhelmed with the response. You can view the Charnwood Wellbeing Survey Results here.

Here are some of the best responses that provide some wonderfully deep insight into life with a stove.

The benefits of a wood-burning stove to wellbeing

“The wrap round warmth the fire provides improves the feeling of well-being that no other heating system seems to provide.”

“The world seems much better with a stove! It has huge mental health benefit, particularly during pandemic “

“I live alone and work a very stressful and emotionally draining job. Coming home to my stove provides so much comfort, even in the absence of having someone to come home to. Literally couldn’t live without it.”

“I find the process of building and lighting the fire therapeutic and sitting watching the flames is very relaxing.”

“It helps me to switch off after work and also to consider things more clearly and calmly. It seems to warm my soul as well as my feet!”

Increases bonding and improves relationships

“My grandchildren ask for the fire to be on when they are having a hot chocolate on a frosty day.”

“Winter evenings with friends. Whenever we have visitors during the winter, we always make sure the stove is running as this usually ensures nobody will request the television be turned on, leading to an altogether much nicer atmosphere with people actually chatting and engaging much more, rather than staring at the screen.”

“After a day of sledging and building snowmen and having snowball fights with the family it was very relaxing and comforting for us all to warm up in front of the fire.”

“Chopping wood is a great way to relieve stress! Everyone congregates around the fire and the children like to help with the kindling etc. It just creates a special atmosphere.”

“The stove is the catalyst for family bonding, which helps with relaxation & mood improvement. It helps to unwind after a days exertions at work.”

“You can just gaze into the fire and be taken away from the stresses of work. It gives opportunity for the family to come together and talk. Talking just seems to come easier when siting around the stove.”

Digital detox – an antidote to the digital age

“Helps to switch off from the technology that takes over our everyday lives. You feel a sense of achievement when the first sparks ignite.”

“It’s extremely relaxing to sit by the fire and watch the flames dance away. So much so in fact, that we opted to cancel our Netflix subscription and we simply don’t watch it any longer. We’d much rather sit and watch the fire instead!”

“Sitting round the fire has become a special tradition. We’ve removed our technology from the living room and now have the fire and bookcase”

“We watch the flames not the TV (even the dog likes to sit and stare)”

“I sit on the sofa watching the flames. It’s better than watching tv”

“Mesmerising flame watching takes us away from our worries and concerns. The room has a focus that isn’t a screen and gives warmth with it.”

Stoves provide a real sense of security

“We love our log burner. It makes us feel warm, safe and secure. It helps heat the whole house, which has proved an asset in power cuts. Nothing beats sitting in the living room with the warmth of the fire in the depths of winter.”

“Lighting the stove after a walk by the sea during winter is a joyful experience. Has helped to alleviate the worry of power failures as we live in an area prone to electricity outage during bad weather. Just knowing that we have our lovely stove for independent heat and low light is fab.”

“Back up for central heating given no of power outages,”

“As an electric only house, we wanted a plan b during a power cut to heat the home”

“more efficient than previous coal fire and, in extremis, if gas supply fails or is too expensive, will provide warmth.”

“Having a wood burner means I am less vulnerable in power cuts. I can still have heating, boil a kettle, cook food if I need to.”

They cultivate a deeper connection to nature

“Worked in forestry for 36 years, just a natural thing to do, can’t beat a real fire.”

“Chopping and stacking wood is very calming and lets my mind focus on that one task. Building, lighting and getting the fire to the perfect temperature does the same and gives a real sense of achievement. It all makes me feel closer to nature.”

“For me, sitting around a real fire has a deep connection to something ancient.”

“There’s something deeply Primeval about lighting a fire and benefiting from its heat. Every time you light it there is a deep sense of satisfaction”

“Splitting logs gets me outside and keeps me active, which is good for my body and mind. There’s also a great sense of satisfaction in getting the wood pile ready for winter, and I’ve also learned a lot about different types of wood and how to manage trees sustainably.”

“Watching the stove in full display is almost hypnotic and has great relaxing properties. It also has a back to nature feel and without any electrical devices in the room is perfect for de stressing.”

Also find out the top 5 garden fire pit benefits.

Making special occasions even more special

“Christmas Day spent with all the family and grandchildren gathered around our stove brings happy memories all year round.”

“Christmas especially. The stove just provides a much-needed atmosphere on a cold winters night. You feel relaxed, cosy and there is something about it that just welcomes you into the living room. I couldn’t live without it.”

“It’s a ritual on Christmas morning to rekindle the stove, and to unwrap the presents without a fire is unthinkable. There’s something magical about children in their pyjamas sitting on the rug in the cosy space in front of a blazing stove.”

“My young nephew visited at Christmas & we built the fire together. It was the first time he had ever lit a real fire. We celebrated with toasting marshmallows! It wasn’t just building a fire – it was building a memory.”

Conclusion

This survey is the first of its kind (that we know of at least) and brings real weight to the argument in favour of wood-burning stoves beyond their already strong heating and environmental credentials. When having the debate on the viability of various home heating solutions, we should recognise the powerful effects that wood-burning stoves have on wellbeing – effects that no other heat source can replicate.

If mental health and wellbeing are, as we believe, important considerations that are rightfully getting more attention, then it is vital that this is properly considered when arguing for and against all types of energy solutions. Let’s be clear, the experiences discussed above are nothing short of what makes life worth living – we shouldn’t downplay or underestimate the important role wood-burning stoves play in people’s lives and the positive knock-on effect to society.

Find out more about the wellbeing benefits of log-burners.

 

Why Choose Us?

Charnwood stands out as your premier choice for wood-burning stoves, offering unparalleled benefits for your wellbeing and home environment. Here’s why you should choose us:

1/ Premium Craftsmanship: Our stoves are crafted with precision and care, ensuring durability, efficiency, and timeless aesthetic appeal for your living space.

2/ Health and Comfort: Experience the soothing warmth and ambiance of our stoves, promoting relaxation and comfort while creating a cosy atmosphere for you and your loved ones.

3/ Eco-Conscious Design: We prioritise sustainability, offering stoves that are eco-friendly and energy-efficient, contributing to a healthier planet while enhancing your indoor air quality.

4/ Trusted Heritage: With a legacy of excellence spanning generations, Charnwood Stoves is a trusted name synonymous with quality, reliability, and customer satisfaction.

Choose Charnwood Stoves for superior craftsmanship, unparalleled comfort, and a commitment to your wellbeing through our wood burning stoves.

 

Read More:

The Truth About Wood Burning Stoves and Air Quality

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We’re thrilled to report back on another successful show at Progetto Fuoco, one of Europe’s if not the world’s most important biomass heating fairs. This year’s event took place from February 28th to March 2nd, and was held in Verona, Italy. There was a huge turnout and a renewed sense of optimism within the biomass heating sector.

Our team, alongside our fantastic Italian partners Zetalinea, were delighted to showcase our full range of products to an enthusiastic audience. This included our popular Bodj fireplace accessories, the ever-reliable and beautiful Vlaze heat shields and hearth plates, and of course, our impressive selection of British made wood-burning stoves!

The Charnwood Skye E700 EU Debut

 

This year’s star attraction was undoubtedly the debut of our brand-new Skye E700 wood burning stove, which wowed attendees. The Skye E700 is a new intelligent micro processor controlled stove set to revolutionize the way we burn wood. Load the fire, close the door, set your room temperature using the Charnwood app and let the stove do the rest. Maximising efficiency is now as simple as that – we can’t wait to see how this game-changer impacts the industry! 

High efficiency heating & cooking  

 

The Haven, Charnwood’s newest cook-stove also received considerable interest, attracting visitors with its stylish looks and impressive 90% efficiency rating. This translates to a coveted 5-star rating in the Italian market, solidifying the Haven as one of the cleanest burning and most efficient models available today. 

Combining the charm and functionality of a traditional range with the very latest efficiencies and clean burn technology the Haven features an oven, hot plate and a large glass window for a beautiful view of the fire. The integrated thermometer allows for greater temperature control and cooking accuracy. It offers a surprisingly versatile and delicious way of cooking, allowing you to create soups, roasts, cakes, bakes and more! 

Enhancing your fireplace with style and safety 

 

Beyond the impressive stoves themselves, on display were a range of complementary products to elevate your fireplace experience. Among these were the stunning Vlaze heat shields and hearth plates, designed and crafted in Britain by our very own A.J. Wells & Sons.  

Vlaze boasts a luxurious, porcelain enamel surface that comes in a variety of designer finishes and sizes. This exceptional material is not only beautiful but also incredibly durable, withstanding extreme heat to safeguard your home. Vlaze is the original and best wood burning stove heat shield and the perfect Charnwood pairing. 

Bodj fireside 

 
Bodj fireside accessories are handmade, sustainably sourced, and beautifully designed for the ethical and style-conscious home. The Lotus log holder (pictured above) is based on the petals of a Lotus flower. This sculptural log holder is both stylish and ergonomic. The ironwork frame is tightly woven with rattan and is ideal for logs and kindling. It goes so well with your Charnwood stove! 

A huge thank you 

Finally, we want to thank everyone who visited our stand throughout the event. Your enthusiasm and interest in our products continue to inspire us.  A special thanks goes out to the Progetto Fuoco team and to our partners Zeta Linea for their continued collaboration and support. We can’t wait to do it all again with you!  

Don’t forget to check out the video from the event

Progetto Fuoco 2024 from AJ Wells & Sons Ltd on Vimeo.

 

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We have been eagerly anticipating the updated figures for PM 2.5 emissions from ‘domestic burning’ as we knew this should go a long way to settling the debate that has been raging on socials and in the wider media this winter. The reason all eyes are on this data is because it reflects a period of emissions that coincided with record stove sales. Therefore, if anti-wood-burning campaigners were right then a significant increase in PM2.5 should, logically, be observed. However, as reported by the SIA, Defra have finally released their figures and it is official: PM2.5 from domestic burning has DECREASED despite record wood-burning stove sales over the same period.

The release of the latest air pollution data by Defra shows an 18% reduction in PM2.5 emissions nationally between 2012 and 2022.

Particulate emissions from “domestic combustion” fell between 2021 and 2022 with a 3.9% reduction in PM10 and a 4% reduction in PM2.5 from “domestic combustion”. The latest data also shows that PM2.5 emissions from the domestic use of wood fuel specifically fell by 2.7%.

Chair of the SIA, Andy Hill, commented:

“SIA members reported annual sales of over 200k units in 2022, a 40% increase on 2021. This increase was driven by several factors including spiralling energy prices and increasing consumer apprehension regarding grid reliability. What is clear from the latest data is that, despite an increase in stove sales, domestic emissions have come down. This points clearly and conclusively to the improvement in air quality that can be achieved by replacing open fires and older stove models with modern, Ecodesign design compliant stoves such as clearSkies certified appliances.”

“The SIA looks forward to being able to apportion the numbers more accurately once the NAEI publishes the detailed source and activity name data that drives the top-level figures released by Defra. Last year this clearly showed that PM2.5 emissions from Ecodesign stoves burning dry wood fuel accounted for less than 0.1% of the UK total.”

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We are delighted this data finally confirms what we have been trying to communicate about the benefits offered by modern wood burning stoves. But rest assured, it is our full intention to go even further in reducing emissions. Through further investment and technological advances and extending our hand to those across the aisle to collaborate.

In one of our most recent blogs, we called upon those seeking to ban wood-burning to open constructive dialogue so that we can potentially work together to make even greater progress reducing emissions. The data is conclusive, and it’s time to come together and focus on the pragmatic changes that will move the needle further in the right direction.

Please read more here: Shared Goals, Cleaner Air: Reimagining The Wood Burning Debate With Healthy Dialogue & Believing The Best In Each Other

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Over the last few weeks there has been a lot of talk on wood burning centered around ‘No Burn Night’. 

As a stove manufacturer we certainly have a vested interest and have been pushing back on claims which we have felt to be unfair, misleading or untrue. Much of this debate has spilt over onto social media where it has often been less than savoury! Of course, we all know that social media is never the best place to have these in-depth discussions. 

Often in debates we tend to try and demonise our opposition, we try to (mis)represent their arguments on our terms, often to discredit their motives, and aim to crush them and be the victors of the argument. We saw this during the Brexit debate, on both sides, – issues were simplified, positions were demonised, mistruths were told, and it is probably fair to say from whatever perspective you come from, that the results have been a bit of a disaster. When it comes to the debate on air quality it is too important to allow this to happen. So, what if we take a different approach? What if we tried to believe the best in each other and the motivations behind what we are all trying to achieve?! 

There is a risk here – surely if we try and understand the other side, give them the benefit of the doubt even, won’t they take advantage and undermine our position further? Surely, the first rule of negotiation is to go in hard and then maybe meet in the middle. Well maybe, but what if we try to do things differently? Indeed, the prize is surely one worth having as this debate centers around an important issue: the environment and more specifically air quality. Something that we all believe is vitally important. 

What are the arguments on both sides?  

One of the first Charnwood stoves replacing a more polluting open fire 

In writing this, we are aware that we approach this from a position of vested interest, so let’s start with us. We manufacture, amongst other things, wood burning stoves and have done so for around 50 years. We employ around 180 people here on the Isle of Wight and export to around 20 countries. We are a family business and work with other small, often family-run businesses up and down the country who sell and install our stoves. We started making stoves because there was an oil crisis and at the end of the 1970s, Dutch Elm disease had killed many trees. This wood was often burnt on open fires, which was neither efficient or clean. That inspired the founders to start making stoves to burn the wood better. Over the years we have found ways to dramatically improve performance, so we get more heat and less smoke from the wood we burn. 

But why burn wood at all?  

Well, wood is a plentiful natural and renewable resource that reduces our reliance on fossil fuels. It has been used for heating and other things for millennia. Forest management is also vitally important – well-managed woodland is good for biodiversity and is lost if it is not managed well. We also see forest fires tragically result from not managing forests, such as those in California. 

Energy has, throughout history, been the key to power – the British empire was built on coal. Then came oil and we saw the rise of America, Russia and the Middle East. As we move into a low carbon economy, we see access to rare earth metals that make batteries as critical, and it is China who have taken the lead in this race. Those who control access to energy hold power. But wood is different and it’s plentiful which means it cannot be controlled by any large player. 

In this image a modern ultra-efficient Charnwood Island Stove has replaced an open fire

So, clearly, we think wood has many advantages. “Of course you do”, you might say! But we are also aware that to heat from wood it needs to be burnt, and burning things creates smoke. In the UK, traditionally it has been open fires which have been the primary method of heating, and it has always been our argument that burning on a stove is far better – more efficient and with significantly less emissions (3). Over the years we have continued to invest in equipment to keep improving even further.  

SO, what is the problem with wood? 

If we look at those that don’t like wood burning we hear a very different story. It is perhaps unfair of us to try and explain the opposite position, but notwithstanding our obvious bias, we will try and Steel Man their position: Wood when burnt produces, amongst other things PM2.5 – these are small particles that are not good for us and when breathed it can cause health problems. These health problems are hotly debated as the body will deal with a certain amount of PM2.5 (and different types) but it is claimed that it can cause respiratory disease, and even dementia. In fact, all types of burning will produce these particles to greater and lesser extents. The term PM2.5 describes the size of the particle rather than the composition, and its composition depends on what is being burnt. More research is needed to understand the relative toxicity of the different types of particles. If we take the position that there is no safe level of PM2.5 then logically it must follow that we should not burn things – and wood is included in this. 

What do anti-wood burners think of pro wood burners   

Again, this is difficult to answer and there are many views. But it is probably fair to say that they think we are an industry with vested interests whose desire to make money overrides the damage we do to the environment and air quality. Of course on a local and personal level if you are living next to someone who is creating a lot of smoke by burning wood badly, maybe on an open fire, old appliance, using bad wood or even unregulated burning outside it is really not pleasant and rightly this should be stopped.

What do pro-wood burning people think of anti-wood burners 

It is easier for us to answer this one! We often feel misrepresented and frustrated by the lack of distinction between different types of wood burning. Wood burnt on a stove will generally be much cleaner than that of wood burnt on an open fire or outdoor appliance. It is essential to differentiate between various forms of wood-burning. Chief Medical Advisor Chris Whitty in his report acknowledges this saying, “For air pollution emissions, there is substantial difference between the different open fire and stove designs, the age of the appliance and how well maintained it is, and the moisture content of the wood, for those who want to burn wood.”(2) 

We can often also feel aggrieved because for us (and some other stove companies) the reason we got into making stoves was to improve air quality and the environment. So, we feel as if we are being shoved out of our own party! We want to improve air quality by better burning, and we feel through misrepresentation we are frustrated in this mission. We strongly believe that we are at risk of seeing air quality worsen by not getting people to burn better.   

Ecodesign-compliant stoves are up to 90% more efficient than an open fire and in London 70% of wood burning still occurs on open fires. (1) If people were widely encouraged to switch to one of the many modern and efficient wood-burning stoves available, it would massively reduce urban PM 2.5 emissions. In fact, the latest wood-burning figures released by Defra appear to show this taking place across the country as reported by the SIA:  

“What is clear from the latest data is that, despite an increase in stove sales, domestic emissions have come down. This points clearly and conclusively to the improvement in air quality that can be achieved by replacing open fires and older stove models with modern, Ecodesign design compliant stoves such as clearSkies certified appliances.” (4)   

Finally, it must be said that on some fringes of our community, there is also a feeling that we are up against bigger powers (in much the same way that those who don’t like wood burning feel we have large commercial interests). We are in fact quite a small industry made up of a lot of small and medium-sized companies. There is often a feeling that the anti woodburning lobby is being funded by big players (perhaps fossil fuel companies) who have a vested interest in having control over energy. There is also a subset who feels that governments don’t like wood burning because they cannot tax it! 

Believe the best 

So, there is distrust on both sides – and although there may be good reason for some of it, we share the same motivation: we both want to improve air quality and the environment. Of course, we are taking different approaches towards this. Some want to ban burning, while in our company we want to improve it. But we mustn’t forget, during these debates, that our goal is the same – cleaner air!   

Can we work together?  

If we share the same goal can we help each other? Is the pragmatic approach mutually exclusive to the idealistic one? Is the idealistic path really threatened by the pragmatic one? Can we work together? 

Could we think of it as more of a relay race where the goal is clean air? To get there we all need to work together to get the biggest improvements first and then keep improving. For our industry it means using technology to keep improving stoves, it means working constructively with legislators to implement meaningful and challenging standards which are enforceable and actually make a difference. We need to be really honest about where this is not happening and be prepared to take tough decisions. For those whose goal is to see all burning banned it might mean first putting their efforts into stopping the worst kind of burning – unregulated indoor and outdoor burning. Difficult conversations need to be had; goodwill needs to be shown on both sides, we may not agree on everything but we share the same goal and we can support each other in those things we do agree on. The prize is worth it, so let’s choose to believe the best in each other and together make a difference!

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Further reading that explains in more detail why we strongly feel a collaborative approach is required: 

https://www.charnwood.com/news/wood-burning-stoves-co-heating-future-a-nuanced-look-at-pm-25-emissions/ 

https://www.charnwood.com/news/wellbeing-benefits-log-burners/ 

https://www.charnwood.com/news/harnessing-the-power-of-wood-fuel-a-sustainable-approach-to-home-heating/ 

 

References: 

(1)https://www.clearskiesmark.org/about-us/certification-system-explained/ 

(2)https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1124738/chief-medical-officers-annual-report-air-pollution-dec-2022.pdf 

(3)https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/summary-results-of-the-domestic-wood-use-survey 

(4) https://stoveindustryalliance.com/wood-burning-emissions-decrease-in-record-year-for-stove-sales/ 

charnwoodstoves

The SIA have written a fantastic blog to address the anti-woodburner’s misleading, ambiguous and, in some cases, untrue media campaign. It was released in time for Clean Air Night to give consumers a chance to get both sides of the story. Here we will share the key information as we want to amplify their important voice in this ongoing debate.
 

The claims made here by the London Wood Burning Project (above left) and cleanairhub.org.uk (above right) rely on the grouping of all methods of burning wood (including garden bonfires & firepits) at home. However, the data from the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) shows us that burning dry wood on an Ecodesign compliant stove accounted for less than 0.1% of total UK PM2.5 emissions in 2021.

Modern stoves offer a range of benefits and you can get both sides of the story and learn more about that here.

Just like the posts above, the term ‘wood burning’ in this post (below) is deliberately ambiguous and takes no account of the type of appliance or quality of the wood fuel.
 

There is reliable evidence that using dry wood and other sustainable solid fuels can help consumers reduce their home heating bills. A recent study by Gemserve for Homefire found that households with gas central heating that adopt zonal heating using dry wood fuel could save up to 7% on their annual heating bill and up to 11% using smokeless solid fuel in the same way.

The same study also found that using renewable, sustainably sourced wood fuel instead of fossil fuel gas results in typical carbon savings of over half a tonne of CO2e / year.

You can read more about this study here
 

The claim (above) that a wood burning stove is six times more polluting than an HGV is hugely misleading.

The claim is based on a report by the European Environmental Bureau published in 2022 that looks at the amount of emissions given off by generating a GJ of heat in a stove compared to the emissions releases generating a GJ of power in an HGV.

The claims made by the study rely on a simplistic calculation using permitted rates of emission. The study also fails to factor in the non-exhaust emissions of the HGV.

What we end up with is an apples and oranges comparison that fails to consider the impact of real-world use. According to a 2020 Defra report, on average stove users light their stoves for between 3.7 and 4.5 hours a day during the winter months. An HGV can be driven by the same driver for up to 9 hours per day, and the vehicle potentially operates 24/7 up to 365 days a year.

This means that over the course of 1 week’s real-world use a Euro 6 HGV actually produces 13 times more PM2.5 (271g) than an Ecodesign stove (20.16g). You can read more on this comparison here.
 

This claim (above) by campaign group Mums for Lungs is ambiguous and relies on the reader not seeking any further information on the data.

The data from the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) which breaks down UK PM2.5 emissions by activity and source, shows us that in 2021 cigarette smoking accounted for 12 times more PM2.5 in the UK than burning dry wood on an Ecodesign compliant stove did.

Some of the adverts by the cleanairhub.org.uk, part of Global Action Plan, in support of Clean Air Night even contain false claims (see below).
 

This is one example. Contrary to the information given in this post, wood logs have the lowest carbon emission factor of any domestic heating fuel at 0.01kg CO2e per kWh. That’s 1/20th the carbon emissions of natural gas or electricity, and 1/29th that of oil.

Burning dry wood is a modern, Ecodesign compliant stove is a low carbon way to heat you home and can play a key role in helping the UK to meet its net zero objectives.

You can find out more about the benefits of choosing modern stoves here.
 

This statement (above) is false. Woodland management is needed to ensure healthy forests and the ecosystems they support.

Wood fuel is a key component of the woodland management cycle and the economies attached to it. Using wood as fuel also plays a vital role in maintaining woodland diversity, health, and resilience. Locally sourced wood fuel helps support small businesses and reduces the carbon footprint of fuel transport.

You can learn more about the importance of woodland management here
 

This is another misleading statement (above) and one which is actually disproved by the findings of a recent Imperial College study which found that a “clearSkies Level 5 stove demonstrated some benefits for indoor air quality” and that “the biggest increases in PM2.5 concentrations indoors did not relate to indoor wood or solid-fuel burning but instead were a result of cooking…”.

A literature review by commissioned by the SIA and carried out by the University of Manchester found no scientific evidence for adverse health impacts from exposure to the indoor air typically associated with modern, enclosed wood burning stoves.

You can read more about this here

And lastly for something positive. We could not agree more with this post and there are significant reductions (up to 90%) possible in the emissions created by domestic burning by switching from open fires and older stoves to modern, Ecodesign compliant stoves.
 

The SIA encourages all solid fuel stove users to educate themselves on the importance of:

Using the right appliance – if you use an open fire or an older stove it is time to upgrade. A modern Ecodesign compliant stove releases up to 90% less emissions than an open fire and up to 80% less than many older stoves.

Ensuring your stove is fitted by an appropriately qualified competent person e.g. HETAS or OFTEC registered.

Always use good quality fuel. Look for the Ready to Burn logo and never use chemically treated wood or burn waste on your stove.

Get your stove serviced and your chimney swept at least once a year. We recommend NVQ qualified sweeps for this.

You can download this page as a PDF here.

These blogs by SIA members are also well worth a read:

Charnwood Stoves

Certainly Wood

Charlton & Jenrick

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A negative narrative is being unfairly manufactured around the wood-burning stove industry, by anti-woodburning groups such as the ‘London Wood Burning Project’ and ‘Clean Air Hub’.

The TRUTH is that UK PM 2.5 emissions have been steadily decreasing over the years despite record stove sales. In this blog, we summarise the flawed data and unfair generalisations anti-woodburning groups are using.

 

1/ What do they mean by ‘Wood-Burner’ & ‘Domestic Burning’?

They combine emission sources (Inefficient Old Stoves, Open Fires, Bonfires and Modern Ultra Efficient Stoves) to create a bigger more impactful number, and then claim 17% of London’s emissions come from ‘domestic wood burning’ or ‘wood burners’. Catch-all terms the public understandably associates most often with wood-burning stoves – especially because they create ad campaigns prominently featuring images of wood stoves. However, the actual contribution of modern wood-burning stoves is estimated by the UK government’s official figures at just 1-2%! (1)

 

2/ They use Weak Science & Manipulate Data

Imprecise methodology

Their data collection relies heavily on estimations and ambient air sampling, offering a blurry picture at best. Traffic, construction, industrial processes and even natural dust all contribute to PM2.5 and cannot reliably be controlled in their methodology.

(Pg.20 of the LWBP report)

Walking around with modified backpacks does not allow them to distinguish in any way what the source of PM2.5 is in a given area.

Small sample sizes and insufficient testing equipment.

One of the major studies often cited, is by Rohit Chakraborty et al, and based on a sample size of just 19 homes that took measurements using, as they admit, “low-cost air quality monitors” (7)

Manipulated data

They exclude critical data to stack the narrative against wood-burning stoves. For example, comparing the emission rates between wood stoves and HGVs has caused unnecessary concern.

Closer inspection revealed their data excluded brake and engine wear and in fact, just one Euro 6 HGV produces 13 times more PM2.5 emissions than an Ecodesign wood-burning stove over the course of a week’s real-world use. Furthermore, emissions from HGVs are emitted at ground level (nearer head height) while wood smoke is dispersed more safely, higher up via a chimney flue. (8)

 

3/Claims Based on Their Opinion NOT Fact

In the bottom left-hand corner of every page of the London Wood Burning Project report you can see the following disclaimer:

“This report is the independent expert opinion of the author(s)”

Firstly, anyone can claim to be an expert, however, the key word here is ‘opinion’.

Well, the SIA has commissioned extensive independent research which casts serious doubt on the estimations and ‘opinions’ provided by anti-woodburners (6)

Explore our report from Dr Amanda Lea-Langton, senior lecturer in Bioenergy Engineering at the University of Manchester.

 

4/ The Official Data is POSITIVE!

At the time of writing the original blog post (11/01/2024) on a very cold winter’s day when wood stove usage would typically be higher, here is the PM2.5 picture for the UK taken from DEFRA’s official website.

So, when the anti-woodburners say 17% of emissions. It is 17% of a very low amount in the first place. Then, remember modern wood-burning stoves are just 1-2% of that low amount.

Also explore how to heat your home with wood-burning stoves without worrying about PM 2.5 Emissions.

 

5/ Modern Stoves Equal Lower Emissions with HUGE Benefits

-They produce heat reliably for sustained periods and are unaffected by the weather.

-Allowing them to work in tandem with wind, solar and other green heating solutions. A stove makes these great technologies more viable – They are not in competition with each other.

-Energy Security – a wood-burning stove is an ideal emergency/low-frequency heat source.

-Wood stoves are essential for off-grid, sustainable, eco-friendly living. Perfect for yurts and other tiny home accommodations.

-Wood is a carbon-neutral fuel as it gives off the same amount of carbon whether it is burnt or decays naturally. The carbon released from burning wood is balanced out by the carbon absorbed by the tree during its lifetime.

-Wood fuel can be sourced locally without fracking and deep-sea oil drilling.

-A good quality stove can last many decades and provide an affordable source of heat for low-income households.

-The right to repair. The majority of components used within a Charnwood stove are modular and can be replaced when or if they wear out further extending the life of your stove.

-There are significant well-being benefits from using a wood-burning stove. Read about the Charnwood wellbeing survey and all the amazing benefits of owning a stove for your wellbeing.

 

Why Choose Us?

At Charnwood Stoves, we stand by the integrity and efficiency of our wood-burning stoves. Our commitment to quality ensures that you receive the best in both performance and environmental responsibility. We rigorously research and counter flawed data to provide you with accurate, reliable information. Our stoves are designed with cutting-edge technology, ensuring clean, efficient burns that meet and exceed industry standards. With Charnwood, you’re choosing a brand dedicated to sustainability, innovation, and the highest level of customer satisfaction. Trust us to keep your home warm, environmentally friendly, and informed with transparent, trustworthy expertise.

Get in touch today.

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For more information check out the main article:  

Smoke And Mirrors: Exposing The Flawed Data Behind The War On Wood Stoves 

& 

Wood-Burning Stove’s Co-Heating Future (A Nuanced Look At PM 2.5 Emissions)