A recent study concluded that using wood burners for heating is more expensive than using gas boilers.
Studies have revealed that wood-burning systems are a costlier means of warming households compared to gas boilers or heat pumps.
Research discovered that utilizing a wood burner instead of a gas boiler to heat a home not only poses health and environmental risks to occupants and neighbors, but also results in at least 15% higher costs.
Rachel Pidgeon, from Impact on Urban Health charity, funded a study that focuses on disparities in health in cities. She stated that air pollution from wood burning has increased by two-fold in the UK in the last ten years, causing severe health consequences for individuals.
The study challenges the misconception that burning wood is a more affordable source of energy and highlights the harmful impact it has on our air quality,” stated the researcher. “It’s crucial for city dwellers to recognize the correlation between burning wood and the resulting air pollution.”
The sales of wood burners saw a 40% rise between 2021 and 2022. Studies indicate that the rise is being driven by wealthier individuals who are drawn to the visual appeal of a fire.
Nevertheless, an increasing amount of proof emphasizes the harm to the environment and human health caused by burning wood. Scientists assert that individuals who engage in this practice are exposing themselves and their communities to hazardous levels of PM2.5, a type of fine particulate pollution that can penetrate deep into the body and lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, strokes, asthma, and cancer.
In a study conducted by Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, it was discovered that wood burning stoves labeled as “eco-friendly” emit 450 times more harmful air pollution compared to gas central heating. The older stoves, which are now prohibited from being sold, were found to produce a staggering 3,700 times more pollution.
A different research discovered that the use of wood burning in households resulted in higher levels of fine particulate matter pollution compared to all vehicular traffic in the UK.
According to the newest study conducted by Global Action Plan for Impact on Urban Health, the general perception is that wood burners are a cost-effective option for energy.
The research discovered that this was only accurate in cases where wood was obtained at no cost. Specialists state that using scrap wood and improperly dried or seasoned wood is even more hazardous and damaging to the health of those who burn it and their nearby residents.
According to Lucy Anderson, who leads the research team at Global Action Plan, economic strains on households may be leading more individuals to turn to burning wood as a cost-effective option. However, recent studies show that using wood as a heating source is typically more costly compared to other methods in the UK.
According to the research, households using a recently installed wood burner that meets Defra standards for 20% of their heating needs would have a yearly cost of £2,028-£2,204, including installation. This is 24% higher than the cost of running a standard gas boiler. However, if a household relies on the newly installed wood burner for 80% of its heat, the cost would increase to nearly 50% more expensive.
Although the wood burner was previously installed and 80% of the heat was generated by a gas boiler, the annual expenses remained 15% higher than gas. In every situation, air source heat pumps were a more costly option compared to wood burners.
As winter draws near, several organizations such as Global Action Plan, Impact on Urban Health, and Mums for Lungs are advocating for increased recognition of the financial, ecological, and health consequences of using wood for fuel.
Jemima Hartshorn, the creator and leader of Mums for Lungs, stated that during the fall and winter seasons, individuals in urban areas are subjected to high levels of harmful fumes from burning wood. She emphasized that children are particularly affected by this issue. It is crucial for people to recognize the direct link between wood burning and the resulting air pollution, which can have long-term detrimental effects on their well-being.
The Stove Industry Alliance’s chair, Andy Hill, stated that maintaining warmth is crucial for human well-being. Buying wood fuel in large quantities allows consumers to have a set cost for their fuel throughout the heating season. Modern stoves are not only highly efficient and low-emission, but they also provide a dependable and independent way to heat homes, unlike air source heat pumps and most gas boilers. In a time where energy security is crucial, the reassurance provided by this option is priceless.