It is common knowledge that our climate is warming up and it is everyone's responsibility to do their bit to improve the environment around us.
Modern day woodburning stoves can help solve the problem rather than being part of the problem. Wood is a renewable energy source. Solar power from the sun, wind power and wood energy are all renewable energy sources, meaning that they can be used forever without depleting the earth. Using renewable energy is like living off the interest earned by the earth’s assets and never touching it’s savings.
In contrast, fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas are not renewable and their consumption is the leading cause of global warming. Burning fossil fuels sends carbon monoxide, the main greenhouse gas, on a one way trip. It pumps million-year old carbon from inside the earth into the atmosphere where the concentration of carbon dioxide is increasing. Burning oil, coal and gas is like spending the earth’s savings and scientists say that this is changing the global climate.
Wood fuel is different. As trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide from the air in a process powered by the sun. Indeed, about half the weight of dry wood is this absorbed carbon.
When trees are used for energy, a part of the forest’s annual growth is diverted from the natural decay cycle into our homes to heat them. Natural firewood is an energy product from the forest.
Well-managed forests can be a renewable, sustainable source of energy that helps us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by displacing the use of oil, coal and gas.
Some may view a woodstove as old fashioned but that image is now out of date. Things have changed a lot in recent years and innovative research has transformed the trusty old woodburner from a clunky black box into a marvel of modern heating technology without losing the charm of a real fire. SIA EcoDesign approved stoves are up to 90% more efficient than an open fire.
2022 - EcoDesign
From 2022, new legislation will mean that the testing for woodburning stoves will be even more stringent and will make stoves the most efficient they have ever been which is only great news for the environment and proves that this industry has the environment as one of it's main concerns. EcoDesign approval will take over from the current CE approval. At ACR, we have already committed to ensure that all our new stoves coming to market will be EcoDesign ready - the majority of our stoves already meet this high standard and have been granted SIA EcoDesign approval by HETAS. This means that they are amongst some of the highest efficiency stoves available in the market place. We will ensure our remaining 4 models will be SIA EcoDesign approved by the end of Summer 2019 as part of our ongoing commitment to the environment. It is more important than ever to ensure that only seasoned wood with less than 20% moisture content is burned on these appliances and as such, we recommend that you purchase logs which are from the Ready To Burn scheme. For more information on this, please visit www.readytoburn.org
Hardwoods for example Oak, Ash, Beech and Birch are denser and as such burn slower which makes these logs ideal for using in a stove. Softwoods for example Spruce, Pine and Fir are softer and as such burn faster so these are not the best.
Types of wood and storage
Minimum of 2 years
The way in which you store your wood directly affects the way it burns and how your stove operates. Logs should be stored in an area where the air can circulate through the stocks and the logs should be covered to protect them from the rain. We recommend that your wood is stored for a minimum of 2 years before being burned by which time, it should have a moisture content of less than 20%.
We recommend that you purchase a moisture meter to allow you to check the moisture content is correct prior to burning the logs. Only burn wood which has a moisture content of less than 20% - burning wood with a higher moisture content will mean that your stove will not perform at it's best. Unseasoned wood will create tar and creosote which will at best, make the glass on your stove dirty and at worst, can cause a chimney fire. Also, depending on the amount of moisture in the wood, you could end up burning twice as many logs compared to seasoned logs making it far less cost effective. If purchasing bagged logs, please ensure these are labelled with the "Ready to Burn" logo - your assurance that you are buying a quality fuel which is less than 20% moisture content. A high efficiency stove needs to burn less than 20% moisture content wood otherwise the efficiency will be lessened.
Logs should ideally be less than 10 cm in diameter to aid drying. This also helps with the burning process as wood is a poor conductor of heat. The size of your stove will determine the length of the logs but guidelines on the maximum log size suitable for each stove are featured on each product page and in our brochures.
Sustainable Woodland Sources
Sustainable forestry benefits biodiversity by providing a supportive environment for many different species in their natural habitat. By carefully managing the felling and replanting of trees to ensure the forest remains at a steady level.
The benefits gained by burning wood require the usage of wood from sustainable sources to prevent deforestation. By purchasing wood from a sustainable source certified by the forest stewardship council you can be confident that you are using your stove responsibly. Local stockists that are FSC approved can be found on their website www.fsc-info.org.
Wood bought through sustainable forestry schemes assists with funding future forest management. Woodfuel also created businesses and employment in rural areas where jobs can often be scarce. By purchasing wood from sustainable sources you can do your bit to support the environment around you.
Another way to help with your quest on being kinder to the environment is to use the ash left over from the wood on your flower beds, it is an excellent fertilizer.
The increase in air pollution promoted the government and local authorities to create smoke control zones for certain urban areas in the UK. These zones mean that individuals within residential and commercial properties are prohibited from burning fuel that emits dark smoke for example wood and bituminous coal.
Smoke Control Zones
The smoke control zone section of the Clean Air Act 1993 reads as follows:-
Declaration of smoke control area by local authority
- (1) A local authority may by order declare the whole or any part of the district of the authority to be a smoke control area; and any order made under this section is referred to in this Act as a “smoke control order”.
- (2) A smoke control order—
- (a) may make different provision for different parts of the smoke control area;
- (b) may limit the operation of section 20 (prohibition of emissions of smoke) to specified classes of building in the area; and (c) may exempt specified buildings or classes of building or specified fireplaces or classes of fireplace in the area from the operation of that section, upon such conditions as may be specified in the order; and the reference in paragraph
- (c) to specified buildings or classes of building include a reference to any specified, or to any specified classes of, fixed boiler or industrial plant.
- (3) A smoke control order may be revoked or varied by a subsequent order.
- (4) The provisions of Schedule 1 apply to the coming into operation of smoke control orders.
These smoke control zones have meant an increase in the production of multifuel stoves that allow the user to burn either wood in rural areas or solid smokeless fuels in urban areas. These give a a great deal of versatility and enable a wide range of people to have a stove within their home. The entire ACR range of stoves have been DEFRA approved meaning that you can install and operate this stove within smoke control zones. Vermont DEFRA approved models include the Intrepid Woodburner, Encore 2n1 Woodburner, and Aspen Woodburner.
It is important to remember though that smokeless fuels can be burned in smoke controlled zones without needing to buy a DEFRA approved stove however you must only burn smokeless fuels.
If you wish to burn wood whilst being in a smoke controlled zones you will have to purchase a DEFRA approved model and some of these can also burn smokeless fuels so you are not limited to burning just one fuel type. Remember that if you are burning wood, this must have a moisture content of less than 20%.
ACR does not recommend that smokeless fuels with a petroleum content of more than 20% are used on their products as this will prematurely wear the components of the stove and lead to the warranty being invalidated.