Q1. I’ve heard wood burning stoves might be banned?
There are no proposals to ban wood burning stoves, despite what some media headlines may have portrayed. Defra has included wood burning stoves in their Clean Air Strategy published in 2019, and their advice is to install an SIA Ecodesign Ready stove and to use Ready to Burn wood fuel. The Mayor of London has also given the same advice. You can be confident buying an SIA Ecodesign Ready stove that you are buying the latest stove technology and an appliance that meets the government’s emission requirements.
Q2. I’ve heard that wood burning stoves give off a lot of air pollution and particles.
All wood combustion will give off some particles but a modern stove burning the right fuel has very low levels of emissions. Based on independent test results from an accredited laboratory, a modern SIA Ecodesign Ready stove will produce 90% less emissions than an open fire and 80% less emissions than an average 10 year old stove. Don’t forget that a wood burning stove is also a very low carbon heating solution using a renewable and sustainable fuel.
Q3. Is wood a sustainable resource?
There is enough home-grown wood to ensure it is sustainable and using wood for fuel is a sound environmental choice. Wood is plentiful, especially from one of today’s sustainable resources from managed or coppiced forests, and its price is stable unlike some of the other limited resources in the world such as gas and oil. Furthermore, new SIA Ecodesign Ready stoves are more efficient than either an open fire or a ten year old stove and therefore use less logs to generate the same heat output.
Q4. What is different about an SIA Ecodesign Ready stove?
SIA Ecodesign Ready stoves have been independently tested to verify that they meet the forthcoming Ecodesign test criteria that will be introduced as a legal requirement in 2022. These stoves have been tested to ensure low outputs of four different types of emissions, CO (carbon monoxide), OGCs (organic gaseous compounds), PM (particulate matter) & NOx (nitrogen oxides), whereas currently standard CE approved stoves only have to pass a far easier standard on CO and are not tested on the other emissions included in the Ecodesign testing.
SIA Ecodesign Ready stoves also have to have efficiency of at least 75% as opposed to the 65% requirement for a standard CE approved stove.
Q5. Are wood burning stoves at all “green”?
Yes, wood burning stoves are a genuine renewable very low carbon method of heating, and the modern stoves also have low levels of emissions. A key aspect here is the low carbon nature of wood burning, as the trees remove as much CO2 during their lives as they produce being burnt in a wood burning stove. A tree left to decompose in the forest will produce more CO than when it is burnt in an Ecodesign compliant stove or fireplace.
Q6. Does it matter what I burn in my stove?
Yes, this is critically important. Burning the wrong fuel can be bad for the environment and damage your stove. You should make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and only burn approved fuels. In particular wood should be dry, which means less than 20% moisture content. This can be easily achieved by either seasoning your own wood for 2 years before burning, buying kiln dried wood or buying wood that has been certified to be “dry”, such as looking for the Ready to Burn logo on the fuel packaging. For more details, please see importance of using dry wood.
Ecodesign Ready Stoves
Available today, SIA Ecodesign Ready Appliances follow the European-wide programme to lower emissions due to come into force in the UK in 2022.