Will energy prices rise in 2022?
Martin Lewis of Money Savings Expert fame has recently said “I’ve been calling for Government intervention to prevent an energy bill crisis before 1 April, when the price cap – which most bills are now based on – is predicted to rise 51%, adding typically £600/year to bills.”
This is sobering reading and it is understandable that this situation is leading people to question what alternatives there are that could help in the short, medium, and long term.
For most families, the optimum long term home energy solution involves a combination of renewable energy systems (such as wind and solar) alongside an Eco-design wood-burning stove.
Comparing alternative domestic energy solutions
This unprecedented price rise is coinciding with a greater appreciation of the need to do more to help our environment and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. We are big supporters of wind and solar energy – in fact, our factory roof on the Isle of Wight is covered with panels and many of us have installed solar on our roofs at home. However, they are only a part of the solution as they don’t offer a constant supply and there are still significant upfront costs involved. Heat pumps are also expensive and are not suitable for a substantial portion of housing stock.
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 are not a sustainable part of the world’s future and as we have seen they are no longer the cheap option!
Fortunately, there is a more sustainable way to provide consistent heat energy that doesn’t require burning fossil fuels – Wood-burning stoves! To be clear we are not advocating open fires, nor old stoves, we are talking about new EcoDesign that provide superb efficiency and are a far greener alternative.
Here is a useful breakdown of information for the domestic user regarding solar power, wind power, heat pumps, and eco-design wood-burning stoves:
|Average up-front cost for family of 3 (including installation)||Average maintenance costs P/A||Can it offer constant supply?||Potential to earn money selling back to the grid?|
|Solar Power||£6000 – £8000||£150 – £250||No||Yes|
|Wind Power||£9000 – 30,000||£150 – £450||No||Yes|
|Heat Pumps||£8000 – 30,000||£90 – £150||Yes||No|
|Wood-Burning Stoves||£2500 – £5000||£60 – £100||Yes||No|
These figures are estimates
Analysis: Renewable energy systems benefit significantly from working alongside clearSkies wood-burning stoves as any shortfalls in energy production are mitigated. It depends on your budget and if you can afford to go straight to wind or solar, however for most families, adding a woodstove will be the most straightforward and affordable next step.
Eco-design wood burning stove 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.
• Significant wellbeing benefits as a result of owning a wood-burning stove. Read about the Charnwood wellbeing survey and all the amazing benefits of owning a stove for your wellbeing.
The latest data on domestic wood-burning supports the use of Eco-design stoves
There have been some reports in recent years that have attributed inaccurate emissions figures to domestic wood-burning stoves. It has long been argued that lumping open fires, bonfires and stoves together is misleading. Now, a new study has just released new data that confirms this. An overview of the results can be found below. For a deeper look click here.
“Outdoor wood burning was found to account for 51% (17,518 tonnes/year) of all domestic wood-burning PM2.5 emissions (total of 34,465 tonnes/year). These results therefore signify the importance of accounting for these outdoor sources and has implications for the future design of regulations which currently largely neglect outdoor domestic burning.
This therefore suggests that bonfires are one of the major sources of domestic PM2.5 emissions, possibly contributing as much as all wood burnt indoors.
Lastly, it was found that Ecodesign stoves contribute just 2.7% of PM2.5 emissions from the burning of wood logs (including waste wood and briquettes) despite using 9% of the fuel. On the other hand, open fires contribute 39% of the emission from burning of wood logs whilst burning 26% of the wood. These results therefore highlight the substantial improvements in emissions from indoor sources that can be made by switching to modern Ecodesign stoves.”
Wood burning best practices
Sustainable firewood choices
Wood can be a renewable energy source as trees suck carbon out of the atmosphere as they 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.
Ideally, rather than felling a healthy tree, it is always much better to use wood from trees that have fallen naturally or have been removed via coppicing. When that isn’t an option, it is still important to source locally which experts consider to be within an 11mile radius. This way non-native insects and parasites are not introduced into new regions while emissions from transportation are reduced.
3 essential steps to burning wood with 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 dependent 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!