Have you ever wondered about nature’s own version of a solar panel and battery system? Well, trees are just that! Through photosynthesis trees take in sunlight (just like a solar panel) along with water and CO2 to feed themselves, this allows them to grow and as a result store some of that solar energy as chemical energy (like a battery) in biomass.
When we burn wood, through the combustion process we are harvesting that stored energy and transforming it to heat, thus utilizing nature’s own solar powered storage system for our benefit. So easy to take for granted, but certainly an amazing process.
But burning wood produces CO2, isn’t that bad for the environment? The simple answer is: It shouldn’t be, in fact, burning wood should be a carbon neutral process and here is where each one of us, as consumers, make all the difference.
There is nothing inherently bad with CO2 emissions, many natural processes produce carbon-dioxide, it is vital to our ecosystem and nature has cycles in place adsorb it from our atmosphere and use it where it’s needed (such as trees). However, when it comes to wood, sadly many suppliers around the world tend to overuse earth’s resources by having unsustainable forestry practices, where not enough trees are plated to replace the ones we consume.
Here is where we, the consumer, come in. When purchasing logs it is very important to ensure that your supplier can demonstrate to you that the wood you are purchasing is from a sustainable source.
For those of us based in the UK, a good sign, although not a requirement, is to look for providers in the Woodsure scheme (https://woodsure.co.uk/). Members of Woodsure need to have sustainable forestry practices, thus helping you make sure that your using your wood burning stove is carbon neutral and friendly to the environment.
Another good source of wood is your local tree surgeon, although tree surgeons are not necessarily planting new trees, their wood is from your local area and from trees that needed to be cut for none-burning reasons, so they are a great option that reduces the need to utilize forests and also cuts out emissions from transporting costs. Just remember, a log burner stove really is a “seasoned log” burner, so please make sure that your logs have a moisture content of 20% or less before using them in your fireplace.
So what are you waiting for? Join the renewable energy revolution by keeping your home warm with a wood burning stove and responsibly sourced logs.