5 Ways to use Woodfuel Responsibly

2nd Dec 2020

With those chilly winter evenings setting in, it won't be long till we think about firing up our wood burners for the first time this year. Now you’ve swept your hearths and cleaned your chimneys, it’s time to make sure you turn to the most efficient and sustainable solutions when using your wood burners. When burning woodfuel responsibly you will help to minimise carbon emissions and when sourced sustainably you will also be supporting a by-product of good woodland management. This in turn creates improved habitats for wildlife, helps to make our woodlands healthier and more resilient,  and provides great places for people to enjoy the outdoors and connect with nature. Here are our top tips to help you use your wood burner more responsibly this winter…

1. Be Frugal

By far the simplest way to use wood fuel more sustainably is to have a frugal approach when using your burner! Ask yourself whether your house is warm enough already, or if there are other ways you can keep warm. Adequate draft exclusion around doors and windows can increase energy efficiency. But there’s also much to be said for a big woolly jumper or thick blanket on those winter nights to keep the chills at bay.

2. Source Locally

If you do choose to light your burner, think local. By sourcing wood locally, you will be supporting local woodland industries as well as saving carbon miles. By local, we mean wood felled within 30 miles of your stove and ideally delivered no more than 10 miles from the wood merchant. That said, purchasing from a well-managed woodland in the UK is a better alternative to wood that has been imported from other countries. Imported wood is not only heavy on carbon miles but the provenance can sometimes be uncertain.. It’s important that the logs you use for fuel are a product of good woodland management. If you live within the National Forest, by purchasing local, sustainably sourced wood you will be reducing your carbon footprint and helping to support the Forest too. Or better still, you could join a local community group and earn your logs while helping to maintain the Forest!

Find out more here

3. Used Seasoned Dry Wood

When those chilly nights kick in and you come to light your burner, make sure you use seasoned wood with a moisture content of less than 20%. When purchasing wood ask your merchant about the moisture content and how it has been seasoned; ideally it should have been split in the previous spring and dried throughout the summer. If storing it yourself, make sure you keep the wood dry, stacked in rows, with adequate spacing, in an airy, well-covered wood store, with as much direct sunlight as possible. Wood with peeling bark and splits and cracks at the ends are all signs that the wood is dry enough and ready to use. Burning wet wood is inefficient and releases polluting emissions, whereas switching to dry wood can halve particulates released into the air, keeping your chimney clean and the fire working more effectively. Even more of a reason to rekindle our love of wood this winter!

4. Sweep Your Chimney

This is the perfect time to make sure your chimney is swept and ready to go. Having your chimney swept by a certified sweep helps reduce the tar that builds up on the inside of the chimney over time, which can reduce efficiency and fire temperatures, increasing smoke and emissions. Sweeping your chimney once a year is considered best practice, ensuring maximum efficiency and minimises risk of chimney fires.

5. Purchase an Eco Stove

Last year the Clean Air Strategy cast a shadow of doubt over the future of log burners and wood fuel due to fears over increased air pollution, particularly in cities. However, purchasing an eco stove can help to lower your emissions. Our partners, Capital Fireplaces, are one of a number of suppliers who stock a range of Eco 2022 stoves. The benefits of upgrading your stove to an eco-design compliant model, mean you will be burning wood more cleanly and efficiently. If you purchase a burner with Capital Fireplaces, you will also be helping to support the National Forest, as each one sold helps to grow the Forest. If you follow all these tips, when you do light your stove you can toast your toes with a clear conscience!

You can find out more about the partnership here!