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Low cost wood runs rings around gas and electricity

Have a look at the latest News Release from the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) of which Certainly Wood is one of the founding members.

As escalating energy tariffs spark concern amongst UK bill payers, the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) is urging homeowners to consider wood as a cheap alternative to electricity and gas. The SIA reports a price rise in wood fuel of just 1% this year, compared with the dramatic 9.1% hikes announced by leading electricity and gas suppliers.

With figures from SIA manufacturers estimating 200,000 stoves were fitted in the last year alone, representing a 20% year-on-year increase, it seems consumers are already catching on to the advantages offered by wood burning.

Wood offers significantly reduced costs when compared with other fuels – a wood burning stove is an impressive 77% cheaper to run than an electric fire, 29% cheaper per kWh than a gas effect fire, and 43%/50% cheaper than an oil and LPG fire respectively.

A stove can make a noticeable difference to fuel economy and warmth in the house - on average, wood burning stoves operate with a 70% efficiency (with more efficient models achieving 80%) compared to an open fire at 32%, and a room open gas effect fire at 20 to 55% efficiency.

Phil Wood, Stove Industry Alliance Chairman, comments: “In the face of increasing energy prices, consumers are turning to wood burning stoves as a secondary heating system, and reaping the rewards with significantly reduced heating bills. The considerable environmental advantage to using wood as a fuel really seems to be striking a chord with homeowners too - many consumers are citing their desire to reduce their carbon emission as a key factor in their decision to install a stove.”

Wood is also one of the most environmentally friendly fuels that can be used - it is a renewable energy and virtually carbon neutral.  Statistics from Kiwa GASTEC at CRE, the energy management and low carbon consultancy, training and product testing facility, confirm that replacing a decorative gas fire with a wood burning stove will reduce the carbon footprint of the house by 22%, a figure that rises to 36% when replacing an LPG decorative gas fire with a wood burning stove.  The reduction in carbon, when replacing an open fire is 14%.

The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) was formed in 2008 to promote the benefits of wood burning stoves. With more than 35 member organisations, including manufacturers and distributors of stove equipment, the SIA’s objectives are in support of government initiatives to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and to lower carbon dioxide emissions. For more information about the benefits of a wood burning stove, visit www.stoveindustryalliance.com. 

Notes to Editors

-  The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) is an alliance of manufacturers, distributors, advisory/test house bodies and other interested parties who sell stoves, both space heaters and boiler stoves, and also flue and chimney products and fuel.

-   The SIA works closely with HETAS which is a government recognised body for the testing and approval of biomass and solid fuel domestic heating appliances, fuels and services, including the registration of competent stove installers and servicing businesses.

-   The cost comparisons we have made are based on government approved figures published in SAP 2009.

Co2 emissions from wood, electricity and gas

Top tips

  • Installing a stove is not a DIY job.  It should only be undertaken by a competent person.  Most stove retailers will work with properly trained installer
  • Recommend the use of a HETAS registered installer
  • The chimney should also be checked to ensure that it has no cracks or leaks.  A competent installer will do this as part of the installation procedure.  The chimney may need to be relined.
  • It is important to ‘size’ the heat output to match the size of the room.
  • It is also important that the correct amount of combustion air is supplied to the appliance.
  • Decide if you want the stove to heat a room or be linked to the central heating system.
  • If your house is in a smoke control area, a DEFRA exempt stove must be used.  A DEFRA exempt stove has been deemed suitable to burn wood in a smoke control area.  Most urban areas are smoke control areas.
  • Ensure that the wood is properly seasoned (ideally less than 20% moisture content).
  • Check the standards to which the stove has been manufactured:
    • CE mark
    • HETAS approved

What is wood biomass and how does it differ from fossil fuel?

The vital difference is one of timescale.

Wood is a carbon based biological material derived from living or recently living organisms.  In the context of wood biomass for fuel this is often used to mean plant based material such as trees or crops.  Wood biomass can be harvested on a sustainable basis as part of a constantly replenished crop; CO₂ is taken out of the atmosphere at the same time as it is released by combustion of the previous harvest.  This process is often referred to as being CO₂ Neutral – it maintains a closed CO₂ cycle with no net increase in atmospheric CO₂ levels.

Fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas are also derived from biological material, but material that absorbed CO₂ from the atmosphere millions of years ago.  As fuels they offer high energy density, but making use of that energy involves releasing CO₂ during the burn period, resulting in increased atmospheric concentrations.

Comments

4 thoughts on “Low cost wood runs rings around gas and electricity”

  • citywidegas

    Thanks for sharing an excellent article! That is certainly very worthwhile I adore reading that i'm always searching for informative information such as this.

    Reply
  • mr d turiccki

    sir i am interested in a wood burner as
    costs from the other things are getting out
    of hand

    Reply
    • nicsnell

      Mr Turiccki
      I suggest that your best place to start is to look at the Stove Industry Alliance website and of course visit your local wood burner stockists and chat it through with them http://www.stoveindustryalliance.com/

      Reply
  • Andy

    Nice article, I was always under the assumption that gas was the cheapest fuel option, but with the price of wood not really increasing dramatically it does make sense!

    Reply