by Peter Gough August 17, 2021 4 min read

At The Stove Yard we've been saying it for years (since we first opened our doors in fact): wood burning stoves deliver renewable, low carbon, affordable heat. Many of today’s wood burning stove owners are happy to tell you that they have been doing their bit for the environment long before carbon reduction and air quality targets made daily headlines. In the last five years it's estimated that nearly 750,000 homes have installed a new stove – many of them replacing open fires and older stoves, ensuring that stoves also make a genuine contribution to economic growth. It's vital therefore that we do not overlook this well-established and much loved method of heating our homes as the country rises to the challenge of the new carbon reduction targets that are soon to become law.

Wood burning in a stove is renewable and sustainable

The Stove Yard, takes the issues of air quality and carbon reduction very seriously. Our business and the planet depends on it. Through our membership of the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) we have been able to work closely with government departments such as Defra and BEIS to support the efforts and investment of manufacturers who are making sure that the latest generation of wood burning stoves not only comply with but exceed the tough Ecodesign emissions and efficiency regulations which come into force in January 2022 are recognised.

The latest stoves incorporate technological advances which significantly reduce emissions and improve efficiency beyond that ever imaginable for open fires and older stoves. Independent tests show that an Ecodesign certified wood burning stove will produce up to 90% less emissions than an open fire and up to 80% less than a stove manufactured over 10 years ago. The important contribution that such stoves and the renewable wood fuel they burn are already making towards our sustainable low carbon future should therefore not be underestimated.

Continuously improving stove technology

In oder to clearly demonstrate our industry’s commitment to improving air quality and developing low carbon heating solutions in September 2020 the stove industry went a step further than Ecodesign with the launch of the clearSkies emissions and energy performance certification mark. Although the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) initially set up the clearSkies mark it has now become a fully independent organisation with its board made up of industry professionals and consultants and academics specialising in air quality and bioenergy.

ClearSkies certified appliances are independently verified as meeting the requirements of Ecodesign with, clearSkies Levels 4 and 5 only granted to those appliances for which show further reduced emissions and improved efficiency well beyond the Ecodesign requirements, as well as being verified as Defra exempted for use in smoke control areas. For example a level 5 clearSkies certified appliance will be at least a 30% improvement on the Ecodesign requirements. ClearSkies certified stoves feature the very latest firebox technology specifically designed for more complete combustion. They employ secondary and tertiary combustion air flows, in conjunction with more efficient baffle and aeration systems, to burn off excess hydrocarbons making them significantly less polluting.

Wood burning stoves and the circular economy

While the notion of a circular economy is by no means a new concept, today we recognise it as vital to tackle challenges such as climate change and pollution. As the country invests in creating more forests to increase carbon capture sustainable forestry practices will also increase the amount of locally produced wood fuel. The use of wood burning for our home heating is intrinsically circular. Stove owners use a renewable and sustainable resource for fuel and the industry employs the use of materials such as glass, steel and cast iron in the production of appliances, all of which can be easily recycled. In fact, most of the steel and cast iron used in a stove has already been recycled at least once.

As we've said before wood burning is a tried, tested and trusted environmentally friendly heating solution, that has been brought right up to date with the latest technology to sit alongside and complement the growing range of innovative heating solutions that will drive the shift to lower and zero carbon homes.

Future proofing your home heating

Wood burning stoves remain popular as well as environmentally friendly as they provide a visibly relaxing and warming focal point in our homes, which in turn also brings health benefits such as de-stressing, relaxing and importantly, bringing families together. Already a very low carbon solution, combined with their low emission, renewable and sustainable credentials, modern wood burning stoves offer a viable and scalable solution for the delivery of a sustainable heating strategy.

With the changing climate and increased stress on our energy and utility systems, wood burners provide the security of being able to heat the home in the event of grid outages, while at the same time reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, making them a truly future proof choice. For example, we all know that heat pumps are a great solution but they rely on electricity and currently can only provide steady state background heating. On the other hand stoves can quickly deliver higher temperature room heat on demand in the event of a power cut or a cold snap and therefore make the perfect low carbon partner for heat pumps.

Source: Press release from the Stove Industry Alliance 12th August 2021

NB The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) was formed in 2008 and is a trade association with approximately 40 members comprising all of the UK and Ireland's leading stove manufacturers, distributors and retailers, wood fuel suppliers, flue and component manufacturers and other interested industry bodies.

 SIA Living More Sustainably

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