With continued innovation in the energy sector and government regulation being put in place in the fight against climate change, Canadians are becoming more aware of the ways we can help to reduce emissions and improve air quality.
Wood is Good
Choosing to burn locally-sourced, seasoned wood as a source of heat in an efficient appliance can be a great way to both reduce your dependence on the power grid and to reduce your home’s emissions. The Canadian hearth industry has continued to develop innovative products that substantially reduce particulate matter emissions which contribute to air quality concerns. Advanced technology, certified wood stoves can require 1/3 less wood to generate the same amount of heat as an old uncertified stove, saving homeowners both fuel and money. If you’re interested in learning more about best wood burning practices, visit the EPA’s Burn Wise website for all the information you need!
The fact is that localized air quality issues associated with wood burning are almost always caused by old, outdated wood stoves or older technology outdoor wood boilers. New technology wood stoves are a world apart from their older counterparts.
HPBAC promotes wood stove changeout programs across Canada. These programs help retire old, uncertified stoves and replace them with cleaner-burning, more efficient EPA/CSA-certified stoves by offering incentives. Wood stove changeouts are hugely beneficial, especially when replacing stoves made prior to 1992, when wood stoves had limited control on smoke emissions. By changing out an old unit for a new certified stove and using good wood burning practices, homeowners can reduce particulate emissions by over 90%.
Heating With Gas
Using natural gas as a fuel source can be a cozy and convenient option for space heating. Natural gas freestanding stoves, inserts and fireplaces are easy to use and there are units designed to be excellent supplementary heaters within a home. Zone heating can reduce your fuel consumption which saves money on your heating bill and reduces your carbon footprint.
A central furnace cycles on and off several times an hour and heats your entire house – even unoccupied rooms – wasting money and energy. Turn on your supplemental gas hearth appliance and turn down the thermostat for the central furnace and save. Studies show that zone heating solutions can provide energy savings of 20-40%.
To ensure you are operating your hearth appliance to best serve the environment be sure to schedule annual maintenance. Seasonal inspection and cleaning is crucial to ensure clean operation and safety. No matter what fuel source you are using, having your unit serviced and cleaned at least once a year will reduce its emissions and give you peace of mind knowing you are being environmentally responsible and safe.
Take Advantage of Savings
Within Canada there are currently several jurisdictions with rebate incentive programs for hearth products. Follow HPBAC on Facebook or visit our Woodstove Changeouts page for alerts and information of new programs that could benefit you.
Wood Burning Is Virtually Carbon Neutral
There are other tangible benefits that we as Canadians should recognize as being derived from residential wood heating. Wood is a renewable resource that does not contribute to global warming. The major cause of global warming is the increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide that has been trapped far beneath the surface of the earth for millions of years is now being released through our use of fossil fuels (natural gas, oil). As we increase the efficiency of the products we use, we reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, lessening the impact. The carbon dioxide released through combustion of wood is equal to the amount the tree has absorbed as it grows. Providing forests are managed in a sustainable way, which is almost always the case in our country, the amount of carbon locked up in the forests remains the same. Wisely managed, this represents a huge and immensely valuable fuel resource for Canada in perpetuity. It is completely renewable, virtually carbon neutral and is independent from the whims of foreign governments. While wood and other biomass cannot fulfill all of our future energy requirements, it would be wise to consider them as important components in our future energy mix. Not only is this energy source independent, it also represents tens of millions of dollars in local, largely rural economies.