The never ending rise in heating costs has brought about interest in alternative methods for heating. There are many modern methods to extract energy from nature, but many new technologies such as solar (photovoltaic) panels are far from affordable for the average person. Today’s high efficiency fireplaces are very efficient, producing very little emissions. The upfront cost to the homeowner is affordable, and the benefit received is well worth the investment.
Similar to woodstoves, wood burning fireplaces can provide enough heat on a single load of wood to heat entire homes for the night. Many fireplaces are capable of 6-10 hour burn times, allowing the homeowner to add wood in the morning to a fireplace that is still hot.
The beautiful thing about installing a high efficiency fireplace is that not only will heat your home, but it can be built into the wall for a beautiful finished look. Some new fireplace companies have even given the option to cover the metallic grills that traditionally appear above and below the average built-in fireplace. Watching a real wood fire in your living room has never been more popular.
The carbon cycle is at the heart of why wood burning is so popular and practical. Using energy from the sun, nature’s carbon cycle goes around, from the atmosphere to the forest and back. Here is how it works; trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air as they grow. In fact, about half their dry weight is this absorbed carbon. As old trees die and decay, or are consumed in a forest fire, their carbon is again released to their as carbon dioxide. This nature’s carbon cycle.
Wood heat is also renewable heat. When firewood is used as an energy source, part of the natural carbon cycle is brought into your home to heat it. A fire in a high efficiency fireplace releases the solar energy stored by the tree as it grew. If the entire fuel cycle is considered, a clean burning fireplace will heat your home more efficiently and with lower environmental impact than any other fuel option. The other fuel options oil, gas and coal are fossil fuels and when they are burned, old carbon that was buried deep within the earth is released to the atmosphere. The rising concentration of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use is linked to global warming, climate change and the unusual weather we have seen in recent years.
High efficiency fireplaces do not contribute to global warming because no more carbon dioxide is released than the natural forest would release if left untouched. Using wood for heat means less fossil fuels burned, less greenhouse gas emissions, and a healthier environment.
Ultimately, a high efficiency wood burning fireplace is not only an excellent investment for your home, but for the environment as well.