[Greenbuilding] Wood is the #1 domestic renewable energy source in the U.S., by far

Norbert Senf mheat at mha-net.org
Wed Sep 25 19:44:34 MDT 2013

At 04:23 PM 9/25/2013 -0400, Gennaro Brooks-Church - Eco Brooklyn wrote:
>I don't know what to think about wood for 
>heating. Apart from the fancy combustion stoves, 
>burning wood lets off massive amounts of gases no?
>On Wednesday, September 25, 2013, Norbert Senf wrote:

Hi Gennaro:
Wood gives off CO2, like any fuel other than 
uranium and hydrogen. However, it absorbs CO2 via 
photosynthesis when it grows, so is close to 
carbon neutral. That makes it renewable.

The main issue with burning wood is air pollution 
from incomplete combustion, and the associated 
health issues. Actually, you  can achieve 
virtually complete combustion with wood these 
days, and there are lots of new stoves that can 
do it. Unfortunately, there is also some 
unbelievably bad crap out there, such as the 
outdoor boilers. It is important to be able to 
distinguish between the two, since the bad actors 
have given woodburning a bad name in the public's 
mind. Also, it is a "hands on" technology that 
requires getting off the couch, and also a bit of learning.

In Germany, biomass combustion including domestic 
wood heating is an important component of the 
government's greenhouse gas reduction strategy 
(note that the US and Canada don't even have a 
strategy other than PR BS). As such, they 
recognize that emissions are a serious concern. 
To address this, they have developed an advanced 
program to minimize emissions. A new regulation 
kicks in this year requiring every stove in the 
country to get an on-site emissions test, using 
new technology samplers that were developed for 
that specific purpose. In fact, the regulation 
was contingent on the development of the 
samplers. We will use one of the new samplers for 
testing the entries in the Woodstove Decathlon, 
on The National Mall in DC this November.

For a large part of the US and Canada, heating 
with wood is the lowest hanging fruit in terms of 
reducing your personal carbon footprint.


Norbert Senf---------- mheat(at)heatkit.com
Masonry Stove Builders
25 Brouse Rd.
RR 5, Shawville------- www.heatkit.com
Québec J0X 2Y0-------- fax:-----819.647.6082
---------------------- voice:---819.647.5092

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