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Greens want to clean up new wood heaters

By - 1 June 2012 49

The Greens are thin end of the wedging wood fired heater standards.

Today they’re putting out a discussion paper on improving standards on new heaters. (for now)

What’s Your opinion?


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49 Responses to
Greens want to clean up new wood heaters
CaresAboutHealth 8:56 am 02 Jun 12

Walker said :

Try this
http://the-riotact.com/wood-pellet-heating-in-canberra/52307
(Who should I mail that to? Such a good thing to look into)

There’s a group in Ballarat trying to do this – http://www.breaze.org.au/
And proposals for a similar scheme in Armidale. I’m told there was a successful demonstration by Parkwood Pellet Fires last year at Armidale’s Sustainable Living Expo and that Parkwood can now offer a pretty good deal for a bulk-buys – not much more money than the horribly polluting wood stoves you can buy here.

As noted in the gasman’s post, it’s now a pretty affordable and environmentally-friendly option, if you can bulk-buy the heaters and organize a truckload of pellets, which could heat about 20 homes for the winter.

The Greens want to improve health by expanding the subsidy to remove smoky wood heaters – no reason why pellet stoves shouldn’t qualify, as well as electric heat pumps and the current subsidies for gas.

wildturkeycanoe 7:54 am 02 Jun 12

For all you “Green” energy advocates, please consider the following.

Solar/concentrated solar is still too expensive, or we’d have it installed already. Also, unless you have the money and space to store it, doesn’t work at night time when you most need it.

Wood pellets – sawdust – How much electricity [coal fired] is used to create the sawdust, dry it and then compact it into these pellets? Probably worse in the big picture for the environment.

Heat pumps use the same coal fired electricity that column-oil, radiant, fan and bar heaters do.

Until we have enough solar power stations to eliminate the need for coal, there are no real alternatives to good ol’ fashioned wood burning, except maybe natural gas. But this too is very expensive to run and has bad health effects – persistent mould in the house from the moisture created from combustion [even in flued systems], headaches and a poor quality heat. The feel good green ideas will not warm up your house as well as some nice redgum or yellowbox. Incidentally, you can get it within 400km away, what a ridiculous statement!

If there was an efficient miracle cure for this problem, word would be out by now and it’d be mandatory on all new houses, BUT we have no decent affordable solution. And, until we stop people in countries such as China using coal for domestic cooking and heating, our little footprint’s reduction is negligible in reducing global emissions.

If firewood was a bit cheaper, maybe people wouldn’t use old pallets and green garden waste to heat their houses.

Diggety 2:27 am 02 Jun 12

CaresAboutHealth said :

Solar cells and concentrated solar thermal power, recommended by Beyond Zero Emissions, are great initiatives for renewable energy. The same can’t be said for the ACT’s firewood. It comes from dead standing paddock trees (that aren’t being renewed) and is now so scarce that it often has to be trucked from 400 km away.

According to Matthew Wright, executive director of Beyond Zero Emissions, heat pumps are one of the most environmentally friendly heating systems we have because they use a small amount of electricity to move heat from outside to inside the house. In other countries, they attract renewable energy subsidies. – http://the-riotact.com/greens-want-to-clean-up-new-wood-heaters/74239

They certainly seems a better option (at perhaps half the cost of buying firewood) and save us from the sad tales of ill health some Canberra residents are reporting in the Greens Woodsmoke Policy Launch document http://the-riotact.com/greens-want-to-clean-up-new-wood-heaters/74239

Quoting Beyond Zero Emissions raises eyebrows.

And quoting Matthew Wright draws an instant fail.

Walker 10:37 pm 01 Jun 12

We’ve been through the wood heater thing many times before here and in the papers. The pros the cons the this the that.

Try this
http://the-riotact.com/wood-pellet-heating-in-canberra/52307
(Who should I mail that to? Such a good thing to look into)

But any way you cut it, a resident of fresh-air-capital Canberra should not have to hold their breath. Or have their washing fumigated, for some there’s breathing problems, and the rest of it.

These issues aside, aceofspades, good question. In a nutshell, if you burn trees at the rate you’re regenerating trees, the accounting works out, also better than suddenly opening lots of ancient locked up fossils.

POK 8:45 pm 01 Jun 12

I think its one of those issues that even environmental types can’t agree on. I burn wood and consider it ‘green’ because its only releasing carbon that was captured in the last century or so.
It can’t be for everyone though. There is only so much wood, and it only grows so fast. By buying wood we contribute to the likelihood of some lumberjack company paying a politician money to cut down an otherwise nice bit of bushland.

There are real problems if you want to burn it in a city though. Health problems. Where I am there is plenty of space and wind, so no worries.

Sandman 8:25 pm 01 Jun 12

aceofspades said :

I don’t mean to appear naive here but I just fail to understand. As bush fires naturally occur in nature wouldn’t the burning of wood be more environmentally friendly then the burning of fossil fuels. Why is there a push away from fire places and pot belly stoves when I would have thought them to be the most natural and environmentally friendliest form of heating that there is?

Do you live upwind from someone using a wood heater? I do. She swears she’s only burning leftover wood from her garden and delivered firewood but the smoke that’s being blown in our yard is toxic enough to give everyone headaches and make the kids complain about feeling sick.

p1 6:39 pm 01 Jun 12

aceofspades said :

I don’t mean to appear naive here but I just fail to understand. As bush fires naturally occur in nature wouldn’t the burning of wood be more environmentally friendly then the burning of fossil fuels. Why is there a push away from fire places and pot belly stoves when I would have thought them to be the most natural and environmentally friendliest form of heating that there is?

I haven’t read this recent release, but usually the concern with wood fired heating is local pollution. Tuggeranong Valley is particularly good at developing an inversion layer and trapping smoke….

enrique 6:26 pm 01 Jun 12

aceofspades said :

I don’t mean to appear naive here but I just fail to understand. As bush fires naturally occur in nature wouldn’t the burning of wood be more environmentally friendly then the burning of fossil fuels. Why is there a push away from fire places and pot belly stoves when I would have thought them to be the most natural and environmentally friendliest form of heating that there is?

I think it has a lot to do with the adverse health effects of wood smoke…
http://www.lungfoundation.com.au/lung-information/patient-educational-material/fact-sheets/100
http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/environmental/wood_smoke_pub.html
http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Wood_fires_and_breathing_problems

And the wholesale pillaging/destruction of native woodlands for fuel – there is more demand for firewood every year then there is sustainable supply of firewood.
http://www.habitatadvocate.com.au/
http://www.environment.gov.au/land/publications/pubs/firewood-impacts.pdf

You only need to look at large swathes of Victoria or NSW countryside, the island of Madagascar or lost areas of the Amazon to see what can happen when large scale, uncontrolled looting of forests for fire fuel is allowed to take place.

Gungahlin Al 6:20 pm 01 Jun 12

aceofspades said :

I don’t mean to appear naive here but I just fail to understand. As bush fires naturally occur in nature wouldn’t the burning of wood be more environmentally friendly then the burning of fossil fuels. Why is there a push away from fire places and pot belly stoves when I would have thought them to be the most natural and environmentally friendliest form of heating that there is?

It’s a perfectly legitimate question. Lots of Canberra is laid out in valleys. Amanda’s initiative is about reducing the smoke that sits in these areas and causes quite significant air pollution and health problems.

dungfungus 6:16 pm 01 Jun 12

aceofspades said :

I don’t mean to appear naive here but I just fail to understand. As bush fires naturally occur in nature wouldn’t the burning of wood be more environmentally friendly then the burning of fossil fuels. Why is there a push away from fire places and pot belly stoves when I would have thought them to be the most natural and environmentally friendliest form of heating that there is?

The Greens will allow wood fires only in caves provided you live in them as well.

CaresAboutHealth 6:15 pm 01 Jun 12

Snake venom is natural, but it’s bad for our health.

Slow combustion stoves may seem natural, but a team of 50 scientists from the UN Environment program recommended phasing them out in developed countries to reduce global warming and improve health. Over 2,000 measures were whittled down to the best 16, one of which was to phase out wood heaters because of their methane and black carbon emissions.

With firewood now costing $250 a tonne, old smokey can burn up $1000 of wood a year, and add to your neighbours’ medical bills. One lady’s asthma was triggered when her neighbour installed a modern “clean burning” wood heater in 2010. She developed bronchitis and needed multiple treatments with antibiotics – http://woodsmoke.3sc.net/experien

Solar cells and concentrated solar thermal power, recommended by Beyond Zero Emissions, are great initiatives for renewable energy. The same can’t be said for the ACT’s firewood. It comes from dead standing paddock trees (that aren’t being renewed) and is now so scarce that it often has to be trucked from 400 km away.

According to Matthew Wright, executive director of Beyond Zero Emissions, heat pumps are one of the most environmentally friendly heating systems we have because they use a small amount of electricity to move heat from outside to inside the house. In other countries, they attract renewable energy subsidies. – http://the-riotact.com/greens-want-to-clean-up-new-wood-heaters/74239

They certainly seems a better option (at perhaps half the cost of buying firewood) and save us from the sad tales of ill health some Canberra residents are reporting in the Greens Woodsmoke Policy Launch document http://the-riotact.com/greens-want-to-clean-up-new-wood-heaters/74239

arescarti42 6:01 pm 01 Jun 12

aceofspades said :

As bush fires naturally occur in nature wouldn’t the burning of wood be more environmentally friendly then the burning of fossil fuels.

I think you’ll find the major objection with wood heaters is the particulate pollution/smoke they produce, which gets caught in valleys and is bad for public health, rather than Co2 emissions.

Depending on where you get the wood from, it can be a more sustainable fuel than gas/electricity.

gasman 5:30 pm 01 Jun 12

Fully support the phasing out of heaters that are damaging to the environment and to our health.

One way is to support the introduction of wood pellet stoves. Wood pellet stoves are common in Europe and Canada, but are almost unheard of in Australia. They are the most environmentally-friendly way of actively (i.e. excluding passive solar) heating a home.

Wood pellets are made from waste sawdust from sawmills, dried and compressed to a standard size. This is sawdust that would otherwise be burnt on-site at the sawmill as waste.

The pellets require a special wood pellet stove. Because of the extremely high surface area for combustion and high heat, they burn extremely well. Particulate emissions from a wood pellet heater are on par or better than for a gas heater and far better than a standard wood stove.

Ironically, most of Australia’s wood pellets are exported, as there is almost no support for these heaters in Australia.

Wood pellet stoves compare very favourably with other fuels for price, and better than other fuels for carbon emissions. Furthermore, the stoves themselves are not fugly – in fact rather stylish. They are push-button start, thermostat controllable and some can be remotely controlled via a phone app.

eg look up Thermorossi and Ravielli/Ecoteck

Madam Cholet 3:34 pm 01 Jun 12

I listened to A. Bresnan’s interview on 666 today and noted that she didn’t say anything about subsidies for renewable energy mechanisms – could be in the report but have yet to read it. No buy back scheme will work unless it’s loads of cash – and why would you trade in old smokey for something that is more expensive to run, i.e. electric or gas.

We have recently installed a system in our roof that pushes hot air down in winter and hot air out in Summer. Works really well, even when the sunshine is short lived like at the moment. Of course its not going to heat the house perfectly all the time – especially on a grey day, but it’s using a renewable energy source instead of whacking on the heater all the time.

aceofspades 3:01 pm 01 Jun 12

I don’t mean to appear naive here but I just fail to understand. As bush fires naturally occur in nature wouldn’t the burning of wood be more environmentally friendly then the burning of fossil fuels. Why is there a push away from fire places and pot belly stoves when I would have thought them to be the most natural and environmentally friendliest form of heating that there is?

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