In February 2020 the Northern Ireland Assembly declared a climate emergency. The Climate Bill aims to ensure that Northern Ireland meets legally binding net-zero carbon emissions targets by 2045. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK without such targets. In March of this year the Republic of Ireland approved a similar bill with a net-zero target by 2050. All of this is to limit the consequences of climate change.
The Assembly has been consulting with interested parties, including the public, regarding the final detail of the bill and our Industry's trade body, the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA), of which The Stove Yard are founding members, provided a comprehensive response to the call for evidence. I've produced below a brief summary of their feedback relating to stoves and you can also read the SIA's complete submission here. It was very important for the stove industry to emphasise the major role that modern low emissions, low tech' stoves can play in a low carbon domestic heating mix as well as stress the significance that stoves have for many people in mitigating the effects of fuel poverty.
Summary of the SIA's NIA Climate Bill Submission
• Moves to decarbonise the domestic heating sector is going to be very challenging
• At the moment there are few instances of genuinely non-carbon heating
• All low-carbon technologies should therefore be considered equally valid – including wood burning stoves
• Stoves are local space heaters and provide an off grid, low carbon renewable heat source
• They are highly responsive to short term temperature fluctuations such as cold snaps
• The carbon intensity of wood fuel is less than 10% that of gas or grid electricity
• Stove owners can keep warm in the event of power outages, gas supply issues or mechanical breakdown
• Wood burning stoves have advanced technologically in recent years
• Emissions are up to 90% less than wood burned on an open fire and 80% less than a ten-year old stove
• Modern stoves offer greater controllability and higher efficiency so consume less sustainable fuel
• Heat pumps offer a low carbon renewable steady state heating solution for the whole house
• Heat pump installation is expensive and experienced installer numbers are limited
• Heat pumps and wood burning stoves can complement each other
• Heat pumps can provide steady state background heat whilst stoves can quickly deliver higher temperature room heat on demand
• Modern stoves can be part of the solution to good air quality and also to secure sustainable heating in the low carbon energy mix of the future.
NB An alternative Climate Bill (Climate Bill No. 2) has also been introduced with less ambitious emissions targets for the agricultural sector and it is expected that some measures from both bills may be adopted by Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs).
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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...read more