Saturday 5 September 2015

Cosmetic wood burning stoves increase UK carbon emissions : A light bulb moment

Domestic users can hire this log splitter
I haven't been to many conferences since I retired and have realised that if I come away with one good idea then it was probably worth attending.

Yesterday I attended a , "Wood fuel summit" organised by Lochaber Environmental Group; the delegates and speakers were trying to find out what was needed to boost domestic wood fuel usage in Lochaber. The consensus seemed to be, " a reliable supply of competitively priced firewood sourced locally".

The UK is bottom of the European league for domestic energy use from bio-fuel sources at less than fifteen per cent. The Swedes are top at over 70 per cent. As usual the Scandinavians are best at  doing the right thing; everything from reducing CO2 emissions to welcoming Syrian refugees.

There is potential for more wood burning in homes in Scotland we are more or less self-sufficient in timber but the UK as a whole imports 80 to 85 per cent of its needs..... according to one speaker.

The " light bulb moment" was when I realised  that currently most firewood is going into wood burning stoves in sitting rooms around the country to provide a centre piece to the room; this is in addition to electric, gas or oil fired central heating. Rather than reducing CO" emissions. We are adding to the problem by cosmetic wood burning.

Effective CO2 reduction by domestic wood burning doesn't just need a better, more reliable  locally grown and competitively priced source of  wood fuel. Better strategic and tactical thinking about how wood fuel is used in homes is needed so that it heats water, fuels central heating and even cooking.

One last observation; forestry and wood fuel meetings attract a high proportion of delegates with beards......over 50 percent yesterday, perhaps we have the highest percentage of bearded wood fuel enthusiasts in Europe?

No comments: