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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.

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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.”

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.

 

Read More:

The Truth About Wood Burning Stoves and Air Quality

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As a British based company that is passionate about the environment and sustainability, we were delighted when the government made the UK the first major economy to pass a law committing to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. These targets obligate the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero through a combination of reduction and carbon offset. In this blog, we will discuss our own commitments and strategy to achieve Net Zero 2050 as a business.

Charnwood is a privately-owned, family-run business on the Isle of Wight. Founded in 1972, by Alfred J Wells and his two sons, sustainability and environmental considerations were at the forefront of their principles from the start. Amid an oil crisis and with Dutch Elm Disease prevalent, the 3 founders saw an opportunity to produce a small wood burning stove as an alternative way to help people heat their homes and directly reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Our product’s environmental credentials

Charnwood Stoves

Our stoves are among the most environmentally friendly appliances available on the market, using the very latest combustion technology. The majority of our range now meets the new EcoDesign regulations coming into force in 2022.
Eco benefits:
• 90% more efficient than open fires
• They can produce heat 24/7 allowing them to work in conjunction with wind and solar energy.
• Carbon neutral fuel
• Ability to source fuel locally and without fracking and deep-sea oil drilling
• A good quality stove can last many decades and comes with the right to repair
• The materials used to fabricate a Charnwood stove and its packaging are fully recyclable
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The Truth About Wood Burning Stoves and Air Quality Click here to read more
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A company-wide approach

The idea of being ‘green’ extends beyond the products and to every aspect of the company; from choosing raw materials, recycling packaging and even how we transport our materials and products. It is our view that it is environmentally unsustainable to transport heavy materials around the world, on the grounds of small savings, when the world’s finest materials are available here in the UK. With this in mind, Charnwood strives to buy British whenever possible. We are ISO 14001 accredited, Fors Bronze (A fleet Operator recognition Scheme), and working towards ISO 45001.

Green Investments
 

We have invested in our plant and equipment over many years to reduce our carbon footprint and be more sustainable. Across our site, there is currently 135kW of solar PV systems that have generated nearly 1000MWh to date. The vast majority of this energy is used on-site which equates to a reduction in CO2 of 368 tonnes. The rest of our electricity is sourced from a supplier providing renewable energy; however, we are planning to apply for further solar panels in due course.

By monitoring our half-hour data, we identified usage outside of working hours. By ensuring machines and compressors are turned off during these times we have achieved many thousands of annual savings.

When investing in machinery we always consider energy consumption. As a result of this objective, we have invested in 4 variable speed drive compressors, each reducing energy consumption by up to 50% when compared to fixed drive compressors.
Our investment in the latest fibre laser technology has resulted in a reduction in energy consumption of our metal cutting facility of over 500kWh per day due to advancements in technology.

Our sustainable network

Our suppliers

Our supply chains get evaluated on their environmental credentials. A recent example is our steel supply. We have placed a large forward order for 750 tonnes of hot rolled steel with our supplier who produce the material in South Wales. We have chosen to buy our steel with them here in the UK, as we feel they play a big part in making the steel industry more sustainable. We have agreed to pay a £10 per tonne carbon surcharge, which will be used to reduce their carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 and help them be carbon-neutral by 2050.

Our employees

Since 2008 we have run a scheme, marketed internally as the “Green dog”, encouraging our employees to be environmentally friendly. This ranges from reducing energy consumption by switching off lights and keeping air-con between certain temperatures, to using the compost bin and offering them locally sourced fruit and milk.

We are part of the cycle-to-work scheme which has proven popular and provide showers to facilitate this. We avidly discourage printing in the office and have invested in a digital solution that delivers order information to the factory floor, thus cutting out the paper trail. We are looking to extend that solution throughout the company.

We also have a policy of investing in electric company vehicles and have multiple charging points at the factory available to all staff and visitors.

Our customers
 

At the customer level we are taking our commitment to greener packaging to a higher level by sourcing innovative, alternative solutions to pallet wrapping and reviewing every aspect of the packaging, right down to the tape, labels and documents enclosed. We have used recycled stationery throughout our offices since 2012 we are now looking to swap to even more eco-friendly, more visibly recycled versions so that our efforts do not go unnoticed by our customers.

Our commitments

Whilst the Net Zero 2050 initiative is currently the only formal sustainability initiative we are part of, many of the projects we are involved in, especially for Transport for London require us to commit to reducing our environmental impact. In recognition of this and other achievements, we were awarded the Green Business of the Year Award by our local chamber of commerce.

We believe Net Zero 2050 is an inevitable step for all companies and we are committed to leading the way in a domain that we are passionate about. We will continue to analyse our approach and actively seek ways to improve the business’s environmental credentials. Factoring in our interventions to date with our plans for the future, we are well placed to reach ‘carbon-neutral’ status before 2050.

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As we head into the cooler months many of us are preparing to light the log burner or, if we don’t already have one, considering installing one. Wood burning has been around since the dawn of civilisation and there is undoubtedly a primal connection with fire within us as humans. At Charnwood, we have 50 years of expertise in wood burning technology and the stoves we sell across the globe today are among the cleanest, greenest appliances available on the market.

However recently there have been a number of reports circulating within the media that suggest stoves may be polluting our environment and are bad for our health. What is the truth about wood-burning stoves and air quality? In this article, we delve into the real facts and why many of these reports are very misleading and damaging to an industry that is a part of the solution to clean, sustainable, low carbon energy.

Is particulate matter (PM 2.5) from wood-burning stoves damaging our health?

The term particulate matter, also known as fine particles or PM 2.5 refers to tiny particles or droplets in the air. They are about thirty times smaller than the width of a human hair.

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) safe level for PM 2.5 particulates in the air is a daily average of ≤ 10 µg/m3 (1). For reference, air outside in Central London averages 18-25 µg/m3.

A US study in 2019 of 137 homes published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, found that the average daily level of PM 2.5 particulates in homes (2):
– with a wood stove measured at 6-8 µg/m3
no wood stove measured only a fraction less at 6-7 µg/m3

So, we’re really talking about a minuscule difference that is well within the WHO safe level. Hard to believe? It really shouldn’t be because a correctly functioning wood stove draws air, smoke and particulates out of a room and up the chimney.

In contrast, the UK media bases its negative assertions on a study of just 19 homes that took measurements using, as they admit, “low-cost air quality monitors” (3).

It is impossible to remove PM 2.5 completely from our lives and some measured thinking on this subject is required. When you consider that brakes from an electric car and even a burnt piece of toast (as well as a host of other everyday items) produce significant amounts of PM 2.5 particles, it helps put things in perspective!

However, we welcome regulation and continue to innovate to reach even greater levels of efficiency and emission reduction. We are proud that we are now creating stoves that are 90% more efficient than open fires and new innovations are forthcoming.

We welcome more studies being undertaken, but what is clear is that the most comprehensive data available to date indicate that the dangers presented from wood-burning stoves are exaggerated, to say the least.

Are wood-burning stoves environmentally friendly?

In most cases yes they are. But it is worth noting that not all wood-burning stoves are the same. At Charnwood, we only produce stoves that meet the criteria for EcoDesign 2022 which significantly reduces particle emissions while ensuring very high efficiencies.

The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) have produced this short film to help dispel some of the myths around wood-burning stoves with the real facts.

It’s worth considering that as wood burning stove sales have increased in record numbers during the recent lockdowns, with more opportunity for their use, measurements for 2.5 µg/m3 actually decreased. Coincidence? No, it’s because modern wood-burning stoves are not the problem.

Much of the confusion has come from DEFRA lumping in wood-burning stoves with open fires and bonfires and then presenting a grouped figure for emissions – this totally distorts the data (4). An EcoDesign Ready stove produces 90% fewer emissions than an open fire and 80% less than older designed stoves. Despite this fact, modern wood-burning stoves continue to get tarnished in the press for the faults of open fires and the like and continue to get attributed to an unrepresentative figure. It is open fires that need to be scrutinised and those who have made the switch to an EcoDesign Ready wood-burning stove should be commended for doing so and more people should be encouraged!
 

At Charnwood, we recently released the Cranmore, which is the perfect open fire replacement. Super-efficient, clean and with an EcoDesign score of 5 (the highest possible), its dimensions and aesthetic are perfectly suited to an open fireplace. If you have an open fire, we encourage you to make the switch!

Wood burning stoves are part of our home heating solution

At Charnwood we are big fans of wind and solar energy – indeed our factory roof on the Isle of Wight is covered with panels and many of us have installed solar on our roofs at home. They are a big part of the solution, but it’s important to remember that even these much-lauded technologies have some downsides. Firstly, they don’t offer a constant supply and then there are environmental costs, although relatively low, involved in their production. However, overall, the net benefit for the world is clear and demonstrable.

Fossil fuels on the other hand are non-renewable and as we all know, polluting. The main advantage is the ability to provide power 24/7 – but they’re not a sustainable part of the world’s future.

These are just a few examples, but they highlight that no energy source can be 100% perfect. It’s about finding energy sources that are, on balance, positive for society and wood-burning stoves fall into this category as a very viable solution.

Wood burning stoves

Wood is a renewable energy source, sucking carbon out of the atmosphere as trees grow. Of course, there are best practices that need to be followed and selecting the right type of wood from the right sources is key.

Wood burning stoves have numerous benefits:
– They can produce heat for long periods.
– Allowing them to work in conjunction with wind, solar and other energies helps make these great technologies more viable – They are not in competition with each other.
– An ideal emergency/low-frequency heat source.
– 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.
– Ability to source fuel locally and 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.
– Charnwood stoves and packaging are fully recyclable.

Wood Burning Stoves: An antidote to the digital age

In addition, the mental health benefits absolutely shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s no coincidence sales of stoves rocketed during the hardships of the last couple of years. People recognised the need to make their homes as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Restorative spaces that help us face the trials and tribulations. This isn’t trivial in the slightest. This is a benefit that no other energy source we’ve talked about can provide. You don’t get a visceral connection to nature by flicking on a switch. Fire affords a primal connection that genuinely helps people unwind and reconnect.

We’ve spoken to many customers about their stove and the responses are strikingly similar. Their stove provides much more than just heat. It’s clear from our conversations that burning wood provides enormous well-being and associated mental and physical health benefits. People report it helps them “switch off” and “after a day in front of a screen, chopping wood [and] preparing the fire really helps me to reconnect to the real world”, “brings the family together”, “helps me sleep better”, “almost like a meditation”. You simply don’t get this from another heat source.

To the individual and family, this is clearly hugely beneficial. Now consider this extrapolated across a population and the effect multiples – it becomes powerful. Improving people’s wellbeing and reducing stress allows people to take more actions/decisions from a healthier state of mind. This in turn can only contribute positively to society.

It is widely accepted that few things are as unhealthy as chronic stress and from our personal experience as well as our customers few things can relieve it as consistently well as the process of wood-burning.
– The pleasure of foraging (optional)
– Exercise/stress relief from chopping wood (optional)
– Feeling connected to a historical and natural process
– Lighting a fire – satisfaction of a job well done.
– Enjoying the long-lasting and penetrating warmth
– Deep relaxation with the crackle and flicker of fire
– A focal point for friends and family

So in conclusion an EcoDesign Ready wood burning stove is a clean and environmentally sound choice for heating your home. It is of course important that it is used correctly and the fuel burnt is properly seasoned but this is a source of energy that provides not only warmth but can be key to our wellbeing.

Golden rules. 3 steps to burning wood on your stove efficiently

1/ Good fuel – 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 up to 70% 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 a win-win.

2/ Efficient stove – Charnwood is 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 and 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.

3/ Correct use – this is a variable that has until now been dependant on the experience and diligence of the end-user, providing mixed results. That is why Charnwood are developing new technology that will give the user the option of automating this process. This will mean the stove will burn at the most efficient rate possible, further improving its green credentials. Watch this space!

1/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_quality_guideline
2/ https://www.nature.com/articles/s41370-019-0151-4
3/ https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4433/11/12/1326/htm
4/ https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/summary-results-of-the-domestic-wood-use-survey

Other useful sources of information:
5/ https://stoveindustryalliance.com/
6/ https://www.readytoburn.org/

 

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On the 5th August 2021 a number of our employees took part in the Cycle to Work Day. As part of our company’s commitment to Net Zero 2050 we agreed to partner up with The Woodland Trust and plant a tree for every 10 miles cycled. True to British tradition the summer weather didn’t disappoint and we experienced some very heavy rain on the day but this band of brave souls managed to clock up 214 miles between them – equating to 21 trees!

We hope to repeat this event again very soon to encourage our employees to use their cars less. The weather will hopefully be kinder next time so we can persuade more people to participate  and in turn plant more trees!

Did you know?

The average person in the UK is responsible for at least 5.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year. So when it comes to climate change native woods and trees are one of the best ways to tackle the climate crisis. Check out this short film from The Woodland Trust

Charnwood’s Commitment to Net Zero 2050

We have always put sustainability at the forefront of our principles and the idea of being ‘green’ extends past the manufacturing process to every aspect of the company; from choosing raw materials, recycling packaging and even how we transport our materials and products. We are ISO 14001 accredited, Fors Bronze (A fleet Operator recognition Scheme), and working towards ISO 45001. We are looking to become Net Zero 2050 as we feel this is an inevitable step for all companies and we would like to lead the way in a domain that we are passionate about.

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Sarah Knight reviews the cosy new yurt accommodation at the Isle of Wight's famous Garlic Farm

A visit to the Isle of Wight is special in its own right; the scenic coastline, rambling hills and stunning countryside make it a great place for a staycation holiday especially during these uncertain times. Finding the perfect accommodation is a must and we would look no further than the unique and welcoming experience that the Garlic Farm yurts have to offer. Each yurt has been carefully constructed right here on the Isle of Wight and filled with all the essential amenities to make you truly feel at home. The newly installed Charnwood stoves create a centrepiece for your evening activities, bringing together family and friends who can enjoy the warmth and comfort they provide after a busy day exploring the beautiful island.

Designed and manufactured by AJ Wells, a family run business here on the Isle of Wight, their Charnwood stoves have been made to the highest standards, sourcing materials locally within the UK. The Garlic Farm have clearly invested in a quality product with the Charnwood Aire 3 model, taking pride of place in all of the available yurts. This particular model uses the latest clean burn technology, meeting the criteria for ‘Eco Design 2022’ with a clearSkies rating of 5 stars, making it environmentally friendly whilst still maintaining the impeccable design expected from Charnwood.

These small but mighty stoves are neatly enclosed in their own pod with a Vlaze enamel hearth surround that not only looks stylish but creates a safe designated zone for heating and cooking. The Isle of Wight has an abundance of local places to eat and drink but you can’t beat a bit of home cooking and what could be better than serving up a tasty treat direct from the cooking top supplied with each one of these stoves. With the Garlic Farm shop only a stone’s throw away from the accommodation, you won’t find yourself in short supply of amazing locally grown produce to add a flavoursome punch to your cooking. There are some fantastic recipes on the website, incorporating some of their most popular products, which you must try out during your stay. If home cooking isn’t for you then keep things simple using the toasting forks provided. Nothing tastes better than a toasted muffin slathered in the Garlic Farms very own garlic butter with a slice of Briddlesford farm cheddar.

However you wish to make the most out of your stay, the Garlic Farm Yurts and the Charnwood ‘Aire 3’ are sure to make an impact giving you an exciting new way to enjoy the adventurous outdoors, whilst wrapped up in the comfort of indoors, providing you with the ultimate glamping experience.

 

 

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The modern wood burning stoves of today ensure low emission and low carbon heating for our homes. However there have been a number of misleading reports circulating in the news recently suggesting stoves are responsible for contributing far more particulate emissions than they actually do.

It is important to say that some of the air pollution statistics that are quoted are not only incorrect but they lump modern, clean burning stoves together with all sorts of domestic fuels, older appliances and open fires.

The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) have produced this short film to help dispel these reported myths around wood burning stoves with the real facts and address three of the major misconceptions that are being mis-quoted by the media.

1)‘Wood burning stoves are the biggest contributor in the UK of small particulate matter’.

This is not true. At the root of this myth is a statement from Defra’s Clean Air Strategy claiming that domestic combustion accounts for 38% of fine particulate matter. This number was based on a survey carried out by the government in 2015  which wrongly over-estimated the amount of wood being burnt in the UK on stoves and fireplaces. (1)

A much bigger survey carried out in 2019 by the SIA (2) showed the actual figure was less than a third of what the government quoted, making the percentage of PM.2.5 that could be attributed to domestic combustion closer to 13% and NOT 38%.

Subsequent figures recently published by Defra (3) corollate with the SIA’s findings and if their new wood fuel volume figures were combined with the correct emission factors, the real percentage of PM2.5 attributable to domestic wood burning would be less than 10%.

In addition to this the 38% figure was based on emissions from older stoves and open fires. It is proven that modern Ecodesign compliant wood burning stoves (which the majority of our Charnwood models conform to) produce 66% LESS emissions than these outdated appliances. Other sources of PM2.5 were also included in its overall estimation, including wildfires, bonfires, and incinerators which are unregulated sources of particulate matter and certainly not insignificant.

2) ‘Wood burning stoves create the same emissions as 18 diesel cars’.

This comes from test results interpreted by the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) but their comparison is extremely misleading and, as the SIA film points out, it is like comparing apples with oranges.

Firstly the comparison is between the appliances running at significantly different efficiency levels, by measuring a car exhaust emissions at an efficient run rate of 21mph and comparing them to all of the emissions at a full run rate for a stove. This completely ignores all the small particle emissions from the car’s brakes and tyres, when frequently the emissions from a car’s brakes and tyres are actually greater than the emissions from the exhaust pipe!

Finally the difference in the dispersal point of particulate matter from wood burning stoves to cars is ignored completely. A car outputs its emissions at face level for a child and therefore there is very little dispersal before it is breathed in, whereas a woodburning stove sends its emissions out of the top of the chimney and there is considerable dispersal of emissions before they even reach human height.

3) ‘Wood burning stoves and fireplaces are harmful’.

Chair of the Stove Industry Alliance, Morley Sage, explains why this is one of the more concerning misconceptions:

“This view fails to take into account the huge advances that have been made by the woodburning stove industry in recent years. Many critics of woodburning stoves base their assumptions on data linked to open fires, older stoves and poor-quality wood fuel. The SIA would be one of the first organisations to point out that burning wet wood on an open fire, a practice that is still very common today, is one of the least efficient and most highly polluting ways to heat your home. By stark contrast, a modern wood burning stove emits up to 90% less emissions than an open fire and up to 80% less than a stove that is 10 or more years old.”

Members of the SIA (including us at Charnwood) were among the first manufacturers to develop ultra clean burn technology within our appliances to achieve the forthcoming 2022 Ecodesign Regulations (SIA Ecodesign Ready). More recently the SIA has supported and initiated the launch of clearSkies, an independent emissions and energy performance certification scheme for solid fuel stoves and fireplaces. Appliances that are certified under clearSkies will not only meet the performance levels set out under Ecodesign, but also many go a significant way beyond. The majority of our Charnwood stoves achieve highest clearSkies certification: Level 5.

Far from being the problem, modern wood burning stoves are actually the solution to a low carbon, sustainable future domestic heating strategy.

The REAL facts about modern woodburning stoves are that they are a future proof, highly efficient, very low carbon and sustainable way of heating our homes and keeping our families warm, and that is something to be truly proud of.

For further information visit www.stoveindustryalliance.com

 

1) The BEIS Domestic Wood Survey using a sample size of 1,206

2) SIA independently verified research carried out in 2019 using sample size of 10,620 using same questions as BEIS survey

3) The Emission of Air Pollutants in the UK 1970 to 2019 and Defra Research Burning in UK Homes & Gardens Report  

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Serving Up Country Chic With a Twist

With more time being spent at home in 2020 due to the global pandemic, many of us have put our focus into rethinking our home design to create living spaces that are a pleasure to spend time in.
With this in mind, today we’re going to be shining the light on the living room, looking at ways you can conjure up the beauty of much-loved rustic interiors with a modern twist – ensuring your home is the perfect blend of classic and contemporary.

What is rustic interior design?

Rustic interior design can manifest itself in an array of different guises, from traditional country cottages and farmhouses to wooden ski lodges, French chateaus and Tuscan villas. However, at its core is the presence of raw, natural and organic materials and features that instantly conjure up that rural vibe. Put emphasis on these elements in your living room makeover and cleverly tie them in with modern features and you’ll have a new take on rustic interiors.

Lay the foundations with flooring

With any decor theme, your floors act as the foundation that sets the tone of the entire room, so getting this aspect pitch perfect is key to tying together classic and contemporary rustic style. Your first thought may well be hardwood floors that give your living room a homely and snug feel. However, in the name of modernity, this isn’t your only option. Instead, why not consider a more practical and durable material like wood-look luxury vinyl flooring?

Easy to clean, hardwearing and mimicking the look of wooden floorboards, you can have all the aesthetic appeal of wood with an innovative material that’s designed to last and requires minimal upkeep. You can even invest in underfloor heating mats that will bring your wood-look floors well and truly into the 21st century.

Add texture and layers to walls

The next step is to give your walls the attention they need to project that quintessentially country feel. For those with older properties that have original features, this is your time to let them take centre stage. From wooden beams and exposed stone to elegant open fireplaces, you can emphasise these traditional accents by giving them a more up-to-date look.

This could be painting wooden beams in white or a pale grey or applying a glossy lacquer to exposed stone and brick work. Similarly with original fireplaces, swerve quaint and kitsch Victorian tiles in favour of a more contemporary design for the surround and hearth that will give it a more edgy feel.

Of course, not all homes are blessed with period features. You can still get authentic-looking rustic decor in modern homes, however, using materials that portray the textures you get with the real deal.

This is where the modern concept of feature walls comes into play. Using rugged materials like split-face wall tiles or untreated wooden panels on one wall in your living room will instantly inject that essential texture and layering.

Finished with flourishes of classic and contemporary decorative accents like brass hooks, gold gilded ornaments and metal-framed mirrors, you’ll have an eclectic mix of old and new that contrast and complement each other in one fell swoop.

Create warmth with heating

 As a place to relax and unwind after a long day, your living room needs to be the epitome of comfort. Rustic-inspired decor is perfect for creating a homely, warm and lived in space. This is where choosing the right heating for your room can make a difference. Yes, you can make your rustic living room feel snug with just radiators, but there’s something special about a real fire that transports you from your average home to a rural farmhouse scene.

The addition of a traditional-style wood burning stove could be all you need to encapsulate that country aesthetic with the benefit of modern heat efficiency to keep you warm on those chilly nights. Take a look at log burners such as the Charnwood Bembridge (a collaborative stove created exclusively for the trail blazers of the modern rustic movement, Country Living)

Finished with a neat stack of wood or a wicker basket for kindling and some brass fire utensils, these stoves will effortlessly integrate into new and old homes, delivering a striking and practical feature for your rustic-style living room.

Embellish with finishing touches

When it comes to successfully combining country-style decor with contemporary design, the finishing touches you choose really count.

The key is to unify old and new furniture, soft furnishings and other decorative elements for a cohesive look that pays homage to both eras. An effective way to do this is to select a few genuine rustic pieces like a driftwood side table or a worn leather sofa and offset it with more modern materials like glass and metal. The smooth, shiny surfaces of newer materials will play well with the rough, lived in look of the older pieces to allow them to sit together harmoniously.

You can apply this contrasting principle to all your finishing touches, like setting a modern-style sofa with straight lines next to a hand-carved bookshelf or coffee table. Or adorn the room with funky light fixtures and raw wooden mirrors and picture frames. Take your time to experiment with different items and textures to get the combination just right and you’ll be left with a country chic living room that gives you all the charm of old with modern comforts.

Regardless of where you live, we hope you’ll find plenty of ideas on how to inject that countryside character into your living room, leaving you with a space that’s primed for relaxation every day of the week.

 

Author bio:

Alex Jones is a content creator for Trendy Floors, the home of discount flooring products with all the hallmarks of luxury – from affordable luxury vinyl tile to engineered parquet.

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The importance of wall protection when installing a freestanding stove

As the cold season is fast approaching, many homeowners are rushing to prepare for the winter, and one effective way is to get your fireplace ready. As you will be aware, the fireplace serves to keep you and your family warm and comfortable during the winter months. Whether it’s a wood-burning or multi-fuel burner, it produces controlled heat that can warm your home’s space.

However, did you know that a vital part of the overall equation in your wood-burning stove is the heat shield? As the name suggests, it is typically installed behind a freestanding stove and it is designed to protect your wall from heat damage. However, while most wood stoves come with heat shields, some don’t have one.

In this article, we’ll specifically cover how to set clearances and install heat shields for wood stoves:

Have adequate clearances

When it comes to a wood stove, there are two key safety features you must keep in mind – sufficient clearance and wall material behind. A properly installed and maintained wood stove can ensure the safety of your appliance. Yet, inadequate clearances can be extremely dangerous for your home.

The Fire Protection Association recommends that the common radiant-type stove must be spaced out at least 900mm (36 inches) from a combustible wall although different wood burning stove manufacturers will offer their own tested safe distances. This is extremely important as your wood stove can get very hot when in operation. As a result, combustible materials too close to the stove can catch fire. By cheating on your wood stove’s clearances, you can potentially create a fire hazard.

Reduce wood stove clearances

On the other hand, know that you can reduce the clearance of your wood stove without compromising your home safety. Although you cannot completely eliminate the clearance, you can significantly reduce it. There’s only one solution to this, and that is to install a properly constructed heat shield.

For your reference, there are various types of heat shields you may want to consider for your wood stove. Be sure to follow the guidelines set forth by the HETAS for the heat shielding requirements, from the appliance selection down to its actual installation.

Vitreous Enamel heat shields

When it comes to wood stoves, installing a wall mounted heat shield is an excellent way to reduce clearance and promote home safety. A vitreous enamel heat shield is a great solution.

Vlaze Heat Shields are designed to protect and enhance the wall behind a wood burning stove creating a modern fireplace.

The vitreous enamel panel features a dual skin that provides thermal protection and an effective convection system that distributes heat back into the room. Using their rail mounted system the heat shield is quick and easy to install and is available in 3 sizes and over 30 luxurious glazed finishes. When installed on a wall the shield reduces the stoves distance to the face of the panel to 95mm and in the case of a Charnwood stove to just 75mm – a vast improvement on HETAS regulations.

Conclusion

At this point, you now know several valuable tips for your wood stove. As mentioned above, be sure to have adequate clearance or reduce wood stove clearances by installing heat shields. Furthermore, it’s best to deal with a reliable manufacturer when purchasing and installing a heat shield for your wood-burning stove. Doing so will help you make the most of your stove, protect your home, and keep you warm during the cold season!

 

 

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Home is where the hearth is: Tradition and forward-thinking technology are the fundamental tenets for this family-run Isle of Wight firm with more than half a century of history.

Back in 1972 when Charnwood Stoves founder Alfred Wells and two of his sons John and Alistair sat by an open fire in the village of Niton on the Isle of Wight, little did the trio know that their small engineering firm would become a 21st-century market leading company.

That night saw the three men come up with the notion to create a compact, efficient woodburning stove that was to become the cornerstone of the company. Fuelled by rapidly rising oil prices and the advent of Dutch Elm disease, meaning there was a plentiful supply of wood across the UK, their idea soon became a reality that today encompasses both traditional values and forward-thinking technology in the form of clean, green and efficient woodburning and multi-fuel stoves.

The privately owned family company employs around 140 people – ten of whom are family members – and continues to operate in the same location, to the same exacting standards set out by the three men some 50 years ago, with all stoves and accessories made on site with British parts. “Though we’re constantly innovating, our products are designed to last a lifetime,” says Ced Wells, grandson of Alfred and creative director of the company. “We still hold spare parts for our original stoves – we firmly believe that when you purchase a stove it is a long-term relationship.”

Tradition and prescient thinking are held in equal stead by the Wells family. Whilst the gentle crackle of burning logs and the soothing allure of flickering flames has long held a romantic appeal, as evidenced in Charnwood’s stylish designs spanning contemporary through to traditional, happily the reality of using wood as fuel equally sustains its draw. In order to best utilise the material’s properties as a renewable, sustainable and CO2-neutral fuel, technological solutions employed by the company include stoves with emissions so low that they are DEFRA-approved for burning wood in smoke-control areas, whilst the latest clean-burn technology in the Aire models amongst others ensures that the strict new Ecodesign regulation planned for 2022 is met as priority (the regulation being the stove industry’s response to the DEFRA Clean Air Strategy, which itself aims to improve air quality and reduce emissions and pollution).

Alongside its products, the relationships fostered by Charnwood are rooted in the family’s close-knit ethos and Christian beliefs, and extend into the community and beyond as a reflection of their deeply held values. “The concept of ‘relationship’ is probably the most important thing in our lives and business,” explains Ced. “We believe it’s important to take care of others, which in business terms manifests itself in supporting people – so our employees, our suppliers and our customers – and in connecting with the environment.”

In addition to using local suppliers and materials where possible, Charnwood’s commitment to the island pays homage to the intrinsic it plays in the company’s origin story. “The people that work for us have shaped what we have become,” says Ced. “They are our most valuable asset and are an extension of our family – many of them have been with us for more than 30 years.” As well as being well-connected to schools, colleges and businesses, the company offers apprenticeship schemes for young people in engineering, design and manufacture, “as job opportunities can be scarce on the island – and we very much want to see it thrive and grow as an economy.”

Plans for the future include a continued focus on uniting tradition with innovation: “We’re soon to be launching the world’s first intelligent woodburning stove that automatically burns your fuel to optimum efficiency,” outlines Ced. “The idea is that you load it, light it, close the door and then the stove does the rest” – a concept which doubtless is as faithful, loyal and consistently aligned with the core values of the company 50 years ago as it is today.

Words: Eve Middleton for The English Home November 2020

 

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Charnwood stoves specified for Danh Vo's Chicxulub show

We were recently asked to supply six Ecodesign Ready wood burning stoves for a show at The White Cube Gallery in Bermondsey, London. The work ‘Live Free or Die’ is part of artist Danh Vo’s exhibition, Chicxulub. Stacks of firewood are used to fuel six Charnwood Skye 7 stoves installed throughout the gallery, in return giving off heat and an atmospheric light which illuminates the space.

The stoves are placed on gloss black vitreous enamel Vlaze hearth plates

The show runs from 11 September – 2 November 2020 Click here for further details 

Stoves were installed by London stove specialists Stoake