Sustainable heating in the US is of growing importance to both the economy and of course the environment. We can’t continue to consume resources in the same way we currently do. Below are a few facts and figures around renewable energy in the US:

  • Renewable energy could provide 80% of the U.S electricity by 2050
  • The above can only be achieved with the right policies in place
  • American investment in renewable energy reached $44 billion last year
  • Half of the $44 billion went on solar and wind projects
  • Renewable energy accounted for44% of all the domestically produced electricity in 2015 in the U.S.

There are certainly significant advancements in renewable energy being made on a national and international basis. Apart from these developments, there are things you can do, which can help save the environment, and to save you money too.

Despite the various high technology renewables around, the ancient art of burning wood is a simple, yet highly effective way you can save money and live a cleaner, more environmentally friendly, sustainable life.

Charlton & Jenrick, based over in England, is one of a number of companies who manufacture electric fires and wood burning stoves. According to their website, their best stoves produce a heat efficiency of over 80% – this figure is not exclusive to them, but they are one of a number of companies, who are looking more towards the environmental benefits of stoves and burning wood.

What Does Efficiency Mean?

80% of the total heat a fire makes goes directly on heating a room when a stove has an efficiency of 80%. The remaining 20% is lost – usually disappearing up the chimney. This is an impressive figure by any means. It means even more when you compare it to a traditional open fire, which has a heat efficiency of only around 25%. This means 75% of the heat it produces is wasted. The design problem with open fires, is that they draw heat from a room, as the flames don’t sit behind a glass front, unlike with a high efficiency stove.

An open fire will be less environmentally friendly and use a great deal more fuel for the same heat output, when compared to a high efficiency stove. It will also cost you more in firewood too – so generally a lose-lose situation.

Best Types of Wood:

Knowing what type of wood to burn will help

Oak – It is a popular wood for furniture but also it makes great firewood. It burns very slowly and produces a small flame. It burns best when seasoned for over two years.

Ash – Ash is thought to be one of the very best woods for burning. Ash creates a steady flame and a good heat output. Unlike other wood, ash can be burnt when green, but like with most wood burns at it’s very best when it is dry.

Beech – Like ash, beech burns very well. However, it does not burn well when green due to it’s much higher moisture content when live. Beech can be identified by it’s pale cream colour with a pink or brown hue.

Hawthorn – This type of wood has a slow burn rate, and a good heat output.

Mountain Ash– Similar to hawthorn, Mountain Ash has a very good heat output that burns slowly. Mountain Ash is also know as Rowan.

Thorn – Thorn produces little smoke, which makes it an ideal wood where excessive smoke could be an issue. It also is considered a very good wood as it has a slow burn and produces a good level of heat.

Yew – Slow burn and produces a great, intense heat. Burning yew also produces a pleasant scent, which makes it stand out a little more over other woods.

The Importance of Seasoning Wood.

If you want to burn wood and enjoy the financial and environmental benefits of such, it is vital that you ensure the wood is correctly seasoned. Wood, which has a moisture content over 25% is generally considered “wet” or “unseasoned” which will produce a poor flame output, and also increase the chances of a chimney fire, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

You should always look for wood, which has a moisture content below 25%. This will ensure the most efficient flame and heat output possible. Investing in a moisture metre will allow you to see the exact moisture content. Having wood, which is too dry is equally not good. Overly dry wood will produce an intense flame and burn out too quickly – far from ideal where the conservation of energy is the general idea.

So in conclusion – although wood is a superb way to save money and live a more sustainable life, you do need to be aware of the types of wood available to ensure the highest level of efficiency possible. Taking the time to ensure your burning the right wood, and that it is correctly seasoned will always pay off in the long run.