Responsible wood-burning means that while you are enjoying the heat from a fire in your home, you are contributing a very small amount of emissions to the atmosphere.
As recently as the 1980s, it was common for a wood-burning appliance to emit 42 grams of particulate matter per hour. Today’s approved wood burning stoves and fireplaces, on the other hand, emit a maximum of 7.5 grams per hour. Burning wood responsibly involves a bit more than buying the right kind of appliance, but it is an easy goal to reach.
Burn the Right Fuel
The type of firewood you burn has a lot to do with how efficient your fires are. There are many different types of trees that can be burned, each with their own unique attributes. When it comes to efficiency, the important thing to remember is the difference between seasoned wood and unseasoned wood.
No matter what type of wood you burn, it needs to be seasoned or properly dried. It typically takes about six to nine months for firewood to dry out when stacked properly. The wood should be off the ground, stacked neatly, and covered at the top, to keep the rain off. Wood that is properly seasoned is darker in color than green logs, has cracks in the end grain, and has a hollow sound when tossed against another log.
The goal in drying out wood is to achieve a moisture content of less than 20%. Wood moisture meters are available that you can use to test your wood’s moisture content before you burn it. The moisture content in our firewood is between 17 and 22 %.
Burn Efficient Fires
Another way to be responsible in your wood-burning practices is to burn efficient fires. Start fires with dry kindling and newspaper; never use a combustible liquid in your wood-burning appliance. An efficient fire is never slow and smouldering; instead it is hot and achieves complete combustion. Do not burn a fire that is larger than what is needed for the space ou intend to warm up. Routinely remove ashes from the appliance, to maintain proper airflow that gives fires the oxygen essential for efficient combustion. (Be sure to use safe practices for ash removal, storage, and disposal, to prevent hazardous fires.)
Practice Proper Chimney Maintenance
A well-maintained chimney is another component necessary to achieve efficient wood-burning. If the chimney is obstructed by an excess buildup of creosote or by debris caused by lack of maintenance, fires will not have an adequate draft to burn efficiently. If you schedule an annual chimney cleaning and inspection and address needed repairs, the chimney will help to achieve responsible wood-burning.
How can you help save the environment, save money and still heat your home completely all winter long? Wood burning stoves use a replenishable and inexpensive fuel that is extremely efficient especially when modern appliances are used. Wood burning stoves may seem old fashioned, but the rustic, old fashioned look and feel comes with modern efficiency and capabilities these days. You do not have to choose one over the other, the romantic blaze from a wood burning stove or fireplace insert can also heat your home and save you money.
Is burning wood really a “greener” way to heat or supplement the heating of your home? Well, to begin with
- burning wood for heat does not add to your individual carbon footprint.
- wood gives off the same amount of carbon whether it is burned up or decays naturally and is considered Carbon Neutral
- wood is a “renewable” resource; unlike oil, coal, or gas – when we run out of those fuel sources, they’ll be gone for good. Wood harvesting techniques are based on a sustainable model, so wood will be there for us in the future.
- we cannot grow oil, but we can (and do) grow more trees
- the cost of production and transportation associated with the non-renewables.
- from a “green” perspective, wood comes out just great
As compared with fossil fuels and other energy sources, the benefits of wood far surpass its competition. New wood burning stoves and fireplace inserts are engineered with fuel economy in mind and health and environmental concerns kept as the highest priority. While fossil fuels contaminate the environment and then are used up and cannot be replaced, wood burning has made drastic improvements in burning efficiency and without emissions and can be easily used sustainably.
Still need more convincing?
Low Cost – Wood burning stoves and fireplace inserts are the most cost effective source of energy. Wood costs roughly a third the cost of natural gas, electricity or oil. Coal, gas and oil are fossil-based, non-renewable resources. And in the last year, costs for these commodities have soared along with the electricity prices. Don’t get caught in these traps. A wood burning stove is your way out.
Emissions – Today, high efficiency wood burning stoves and fireplace inserts can maximize the heat dispersed from a burning log and these stoves leave behind little evidence of the wood burning as it is almost completely burned besides minor amounts of ash. The new stoves produce only about 2-5 grams of smoke per hour of burning. And even less ash. For this reason, some modern stoves are so completely clean burning that they are approved for use in smokeless areas indoors. A wood burning stove is designed to burn at much higher temperatures. This means gases present in the smoke are fully burned and not released back into the atmosphere. This results in a thermal efficiency of around 80%. Which means that a log burnt in a modern wood stove can get around 4 times more heat than one log in an open fire.
Carbon Neutral – Again, the process of burning wood also does not emit any additional carbon dioxide than the natural biodegradation of the wood if it were left to rot on the forest floor. Over the course of a tree’s life it absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then releases this carbon dioxide when it either decomposes naturally or is burned. For this reason, no CO2 is added to the atmosphere, it simply releases the carbon dioxide that was previously accumulated back into the environment. Wood is a very environmentally friendly source of fuel because it is carbon neutral. Fossil fuels on the other hand, are not carbon neutral. Fossil fuels have stored and accumulated carbon over hundreds of years and then, all at once, this carbon is released in its entirety when the fossil fuels are burned. This process adds substantial amounts of carbon dioxide to the environment.
Sustainable – Wood is an abundant resource and unlike many of the alternatives, a renewable one too. Today we have more wooded acres than we did 100 years ago and the balance is carefully managed to preserve our wooded lands. The days where clear cutting was acceptable are over and the concept of planting more than you harvest is alive and well.
In the case of olive wood things get even better: since olive trees need to be pruned regularly, the offcuts make a perfect, eco- friendly material. And this is precisely how we work: we never cut down trees.
You want your firewood to have a moisture content of approximately 20%. If the moisture content is lower than 15%, such wood might be too dry to use in wood fired ovens since overly dry wood converts heat energy to smoke. One of the ways to check the condition of the firewood is to see if the cut ends are dark or have small cracks- if that is the case, it means the wood is too dry. Wet or damp wood on the other hand will not burn well and additionally will produce lots of smoke. If the wood is still greenish, most likely it has not been cured properly or at all and you will end up with clouds of smoke.
If your wood has been rained on and you are now stuck with wet firewood, there is a way to dry it out. A day before you are planning to use your wood, place the pile in a recently used, still warm oven. This method will help you to literally bake all the dampness out by using the retained heat. Keep in mind to leave the oven door slightly open.
Why olive wood
Olive trees grow under the Mediterranean sun, benefiting from its climate. The trees tend to grow to be even centuries old, allowing the wood to mature and strengthen for maximum durability which is why olive wood is so hard, heavy and strong with a high overall density.
Since olive trees need to be pruned regularly, the offcuts make a perfect, eco- friendly material. And this is precisely how we work: we never cut down trees.
Olive wood burns longer than other types of wood due to high density and constant burning rate, with a specific gravity on average of 0.70 (ovendry weight/ green volume). Burning olive wood emits less carbon dioxide in comparison with other firewood. Moreover, the fire last up to 12 hrs.
Burning olive wood creates a unique scent and is characterized by an abundance of long- lasting flames comparing to other types of wood.
Olive wood’s quality is unmatched: so versatile, so different and it can be used in fireplaces, wood ovens, Argentinian grills, you name it.