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Environmental Benefits of Wood Burning

We have compiled below a few facts on the environmental benefits of using a wood stove in order to help alleviate any misconceptions or apprehensions...

The wood burning stove has been an unsung hero for many centuries in many homes the world over. Its ability to not only be a key heating source but also cooking facility at the heart of the home has made it one of the top choices in some of the coldest countries. Wood stoves have the ability to heat any size home, and yet some people still remain apprehensive about the concept and ‘greenness’ of wood burning. There is so much information regarding human affects on the environment and so it is no wonder why some people still remain uncertain of the wood burning process and effects. We have compiled below a few facts on the environmental benefits of using a wood stove in order to help alleviate any misconceptions or apprehensions;

Isn’t cutting down trees a bad thing

This no one can deny, it’s a true statement, clearly if everyone who owned a wood stove across the world were to cut down all the trees to feed their stoves then of course the wood stove industry would be a drain on our natural resources. However, this is pretty unlikely, and the best news is that most trees which are cut down are promptly replaced with new seedlings in a responsible manner. Wood providers for both wood stoves as well as construction companies actually purchase large areas of forest solely for the purpose of felling timber.  However, the cutting process is undertaken to a responsible level in which part of the forest is allowed to grow to maturity whilst already matured areas are harvested. This process maintains wood as an important natural resource while also providing necessary fuel for wood stoves. It is this balancing act that wood providers have learned to utilise to the benefit of both humans and protection of the planet we love.

Is Clean Burning a contradiction of terms

It’s hard to consider smoke anything except as grimy, unpleasant and having a negative effect on the environment. In real terms though the modern wood burning stove produces a ‘cleaner fire’ without an overabundance of smoke. Standard fire boxes from older design stoves have long since been redesigned and technically developed with combustion which is now ‘Clean Burn’ technology. Rulings are now in place with stringent regulations and new stoves from responsible manufacturers only producing stoves with DEFRA certified clear exhaust materials which surpass current UK emission standards by up to 60%. Gone are the days of draughty, outdated stoves and standard smoke billowing fireplaces. Most have now happily been replaced by clean burning units that warm the home efficiently and satisfying all environmental concerns.

What about CO2 Emissions

Another key argument against wood burning is the production of CO2 from the process is a major negative for the environmental. Well of course it’s true that an overabundance of CO2 emissions is a huge concern, but modern wood burning techniques and stoves are not the main problem for this type of emission concern. CO2 is naturally emitted when a trees decay in the forest, but this process is so slow that most environmentalists are unconcerned. Burning wood produces roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide emissions as allowing that wood to naturally decay in the forest. Wood burning simply speeds up the process, but these emissions should not be a huge concern as the quantity of remaining healthy and new growth trees continue to counteract and emit necessary oxygen to the environment. Provided the balance is kept in check by planting replacement trees, wood burning is truly not harmful to the environment.

Wood Use

Environmentalists also have concerns that trees and wood in general would be better used on building projects rather than burning as a fuel resource. This may well be a valid argument to raise but it also should be noted that certain species of wood are not suitable to be used as building materials. Equally, there are some wood species that are ideal not suitable for wood stove burning, but ideal for building projects. A prime example of this one-sided wood variety is pine, an excellent resource for building projects as an inexpensive material yet strong and perfect for furniture. However, pine is not a good choice for burning as fuel in a wood stove as it is known to be a corrosive species. This means that burning pine in your wood burning stove will produce creosote, which will coat the flue, cloud the glass and is known for causing potential fires. Ash, oak, birch, beech, and fruit woods such as apple make for much better choices for wood burning in the home.  

Wood Sure


This is the UK’s only wood fuel quality assurance scheme which launched a Ready to Burn initiative to help homeowners look after their stoves and improve air quality.

Air quality and wood fuel has become a hot topic and stove owners are being asked to think about the impact of burning poor quality firewood has on the environment. A stove is only as good as the wood it burns and so the Ready to Burn stamp of approval will reassure those who purchase firewood/briquettes with its logo that they are dry enough and immediately ready to burn.

Keep a look out for the Ready to Burn label on any wood you purchase for peace of mind on its quality.

Heat Efficiency

Another concerns which has been raised is the efficiency of burning wood as a fuel source. Traditionally this has been a problem caused by standard open fireplaces and bad interior wood burning practices. Home owners have chosen to utilise central heating systems or air source heat pumps as opposed to wood burning stoves for this reason. In essence though, central heating systems are prone to breaking down with costly bills to repair and maintain, and as they work by radiating heat the loss is far more inefficient than efficient. Heat source pumps have also been proven to be far less efficient than wood burning stoves. Overall the lack of efficiency in heat source pumps is largely due to how a they pump heat; coils are heated up and that heat is blown into the home through a series of vents. The movement of that heat naturally diminishes its affect leading to an inefficient unit.

Wood burning stoves and the process of burning wood with correctly seasoned and dried wood in general produces a more efficient heat. Once positioned and installed centrally within a home, a wood stove has been known to heat up to 60% more efficiently than a standard central heating system unit. The added benefit to wood burning stoves is that heat produced is warm and radiant for a more comfortable heat quality and ambient temperature.

Compared to other heating fuels wood burning is the best way to heat a home and in no way negatively affects the environment. If you have been unsure and harbored doubts about installing a new wood burning stove in your home simply due to environmental concerns, we hope we have alleviated your concerns.