Wood: the renewable fuel

These pages are designed as a best practice guide on how to use a stove using wood as a fuel.

These pages have been developed to give advice on how to use your stove, burn firewood efficiently, buy or season wood, and help to get the best out of your log burner.

There is also guidance on where to purchase firewood, how to build log stores, storage and technical advice on how to use a moisture meter.

Much of this information was developed through research during a wood stove project in 2012-13. The project looked at ways of helping people who had stoves in their homes. One hundred volunteers were involved and the project looked at differing ways in which to influence behaviourial change, using current best practice information and finding ways to help people in Mid Wales and Shropshire to get the most from their stoves.

You can download the results of our findings during the project here.

Why wood burning stoves?

Modern wood burners are very efficient. Typically, if the stove is used correctly you may attain over 90% efficiency. So, with rising domestic fuel prices more people are turning to a highly efficient, cleaner and cheaper source of heating – the wood stove.

Wood is low carbon heating fuel. When 1 cubic metre of wood grows, it takes 1 tonne of CO2 out of the air. The growing of trees for woodfuel is carbon neutral, with industry standards in the UK making it one of the only sustainable and truly renewable heat energies available. If all the production costs (energy used in planting, harvesting, production and delivery) are considered woodfuel is still no less than 90-95% renewable (greenhouse gas savings) if the woodfuel is sourced within 30 miles according to Rural Development Initiatives, and approx 99.9% for logs before delivery.

Compare this to coal or smokeless fuel where the carbon released is not reabsorbed which has a huge impact as a greenhouse gas, add to this the large amount of energy needed to extract and process the coal or smokeless fuel can be 100 times the amount than that of your local log producer and that’s before its delivered!

What are the benefits?

We all use energy to heat and power our homes and can all therefore benefit from woodfuel. Here are some of the advantages:-

• Net CO2 emissions can be significantly reduced compared to fossil fuels.

• Modern woodfuel combustion technologies are clean and efficient.

• Given rising prices of fossil fuels, switching to woodfuel can actually reduce fuel bills.

• So long as forests are sustainably managed woodfuel provides a renewable source of energy.

• Incorporating reclaimed clean wood into woodfuel systems helps to reduce the burden on landfill.

• Managing forests for woodfuel benefits a wide range of other forest functions such as biodiversity.

• Financial returns from woodfuel can fund further woodland management.

• Using woodfuel contributes to UK renewable energy targets.

• Woodfuel businesses create and sustain rural jobs.

Further reading:-