There are several different schools of thought regarding how “green” a wood burning fireplace actually is. When compared to electric heating, advocates will cite that fact that most electricity is actually created through the burning of coal, creating far more greenhouse gases than burning wood. Detractors will state more heat escapes the home when using a fireplace, creating the need to burn far more wood and create more greenhouse gases than are necessary. If you would like to continue to enjoy your fireplace but make it “green”, here are a few ideas:
- Consider updating your fireplace with an insert that is up to EPA standards. You many also consider changing your fireplace over to a wood burning stove to make use of more “green” heating sources.
- Schedule regular cleanings for your fireplace. If you the chimney and fireplace are not cleaned, you will more than likely create excessive creosote buildup. Not only is this harmful to the environment, but it is also extremely flammable and dangerous.
- Stoves can and should be equipped with a catalyst. This is a device that actually burns off the smoke emitted by the stove. It significantly reduces the environmental impact of the wood burning stove.
- If burning wood, use harder woods and woods that have been seasoned. Wood that has not been dried out properly (one year) will tend to smoke more and burn less effectively. Using harder woods, like oak, instead of softer wood, like pine, will allow you to burn less wood over a longer period of time. These woods also burn hotter, creating more heat for the home.
- If you are using a wood stove, consider burning wood pellets. These are actually made from recycled sawdust, lessening the overall impact of your fuel source on the environment.
- You may also consider using imitation logs, just as Duraflame or Java Log. The Java Log is becoming increasingly popular, as it is made out of recycled coffee grounds. Not only are you not burning wood, you are helping to alleviate the problem of over 10 million pounds of coffee grounds being dumped into landfills every year!
- Avoid burning trash in your stove or fireplace, especially plastics, which release harmful chemicals into the environment.