Wood has long been used as a source of fuel, providing heat and energy for centuries. However, concerns about air pollution and sustainability have cast a shadow on its use as a viable energy option. By managing and choosing wood correctly, we can address these concerns and reclaim the case for burning wood as a sustainable and renewable fuel.
Concerns about air pollution have cast a shadow on the use of burning wood as a viable energy option. This is an important environmental issue and it is necessary to understand its relationship with burning wood.
When wood with high moisture content is burned, it produces more smoke and harmful emissions, including particulate matter and volatile organic compounds which can have adverse effects on human health and the environment.
However, burning dry, seasoned wood with less than 20% moisture content significantly reduces these emissions, making wood-burning cleaner and more environmentally friendly. Wood that has been properly seasoned produces significantly less smoke and carbon monoxide; it also has less creosote build-up and prevents the growth of mould on the logs. The seasoning process, by removing these toxins, makes the wood much cleaner to burn.
Learn about the wood seasoning process.
Renewability and Sustainability
Wood is a renewable fuel source because the trees it comes from can be replanted and regrown. Trees are a part of the natural carbon cycle, absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow. When burned, wood releases this stored carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. However, as long as new trees are planted to replace the harvested ones, the carbon dioxide emitted during wood burning is effectively reabsorbed by the growing trees, resulting in a closed carbon loop.
By using sustainably managed woodlands where trees are harvested and replaced in a responsible manner, we can ensure a continuous supply of renewable wood fuel. It is crucial to support and promote sustainable forestry practices to maintain healthy forests, preserve biodiversity, and mitigate climate change.
Explore alternative sources of wood fuel, such as wood pellets or briquettes made from wood waste or by-products. These can provide a more efficient and consistent fuel source while reducing waste and promoting circular economy principles.
Explore the best firewood to burn chart in the UK here.
Responsible woodland management
If you have access to woodland, implement responsible management practices. This may include planting new trees, managing invasive species, and ensuring proper harvesting techniques to maintain the health and biodiversity of the forest ecosystem.
For those that don’t have access to woodland, it’s important to seek out wood that carries certification from recognised forestry programs, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). These certifications ensure responsible forest management practices and contribute to the overall sustainability of wood fuel.
Properly managed woodlands are vital to our ecosystem and our wildlife. As well as being home to many plant and animal species, they also play a vital role in water resource management – minimising flood impact and regulating water availability. Forests also play a massive role in climate regulation through carbon dioxide absorption.
Buying wood locally is a key part of responsible wood burning as it reduces the transportation emissions associated with long-distance shipping. Supporting local communities also helps boost the regional economy and encourages sustainable forest management practices.
Choosing local wood suppliers provides an opportunity to establish direct connections with producers, ensuring transparency and accountability in the sourcing process. It allows consumers to enquire about the origin of the wood, ensuring it comes from sustainably managed forests and promoting ethical practices within the industry.
Five Steps to Choosing Wood Correctly
To maximise the sustainability and efficiency of wood burning, here are five steps to help you choose and manage wood correctly.
1/ Source locally.
2/ Opt for seasoned wood.
3/ Look for certification.
4/ Consider alternatives, such as wood pellets or briquettes.
5/ Practice responsible woodland management.
Wood is a sustainable and renewable fuel option when managed and chosen correctly. By burning dry, seasoned wood with low moisture content, purchasing locally sourced wood, supporting sustainable forestry, and following responsible woodland management practices, we can harness the benefits of wood fuel while minimising its environmental impact.
Why Choose Us?
Charnwood has been committed to providing quality wood burning stoves since 1972 and we know all there is to know about wood burners and responsibly using wood as a fuel source. If you have any questions about heating your home with a wood burning stove, please get in touch.