The UK Government’s latest figures for particulate matter emissions was updated on 22 February 2022.
It reveals that indoor wood burning is responsible for less than half the emissions previously speculated (17% rather than 38%). This is based on the latest data which now recognises errors in the previous data set.
17% is still significant, however, this figure includes all wood burning from open fires and old closed faced stoves. This suggests there is significant room for improvement as we know that Ecodesign stoves are 90% more efficient than open fires and 80% more efficient than stoves 10 or more years old. The SIA has established that Ecodesign stoves are in fact currently contributing just 2.7% to emissions.
A government study in 2016 reports 40% of domestic burning is from open fires, while we know that Ecodesign regulations only just came into force this year. Therefore, there is real potential for significantly reducing the PM output of domestic wood-burning by encouraging open fire users and those with an old stove to upgrade to an Ecodesign stove.
Commenting on the latest data Andy Hill, chair of the Stove Industry Alliance, said:
“We welcome the revisions to the government’s statistics on PM2.5 from domestic combustion sources that have been announced. The SIA has long maintained that the volume of wood fuel used to calculate the previous figure had been significantly overestimated, and this has now been officially acknowledged.”
“There is huge potential to lower PM2.5 emissions from domestic combustion even further by encouraging homeowners to upgrade their open fires to an Ecodesign stove, such as a clearSkies certified appliance. These stoves produce up to 90% less particulate matter emissions than an open fire so the further reduction in emissions levels that could be achieved is significant. A professionally installed, regularly serviced modern Ecodesign stove used with correctly seasoned wood fuel* is a very low carbon, low emission, sustainable and cost-effective way to heat our homes.”
It is important to remember that a world without any PM emissions is not a realistic goal – certainly not with the current technology available and so it is right to pursue a strategy that seeks to minimise PM levels while maximizing the benefits of various heating solutions. With oil and gas prices rising and with the existing limitations of wind and solar power, there is absolutely a need for an efficient domestic combustion solution which Ecodesign stoves provide.
Ecodesign woodburning stove benefits:
- Woodburning stoves can produce heat for long periods
- Allowing them to work in conjunction with wind, solar and other energies helps make these great technologies more viable – they are not in competition with each other.
- They are an ideal emergency/low-frequency heat source.
- Wood is a carbon-neutral fuel as it gives off the same amount of carbon whether it is burnt or decays naturally. The carbon released from burning wood is balanced out by the carbon absorbed by the tree during its lifetime.
- Ability to source fuel locally and without fracking and deep-sea oil drilling.
- A good quality stove can last many decades and provide an affordable source of heat for low-income households.
- Significant well-being benefits as a result of owning a wood-burning stove