Greens want to clean up new wood heaters

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)


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Bloodyjimbo Bloodyjimbo 2:58 pm 01 Jul 12

Whilst I admire the Greens conviction to improve air quality in Tuggeranong, it its misdirected. A public education program that us required to achieve what they desire. Mandating an emission standard of 1g/kg is all well and good, but if I add wood to my fire and close the flue straightaway then my ultra efficient 1g/kg fireplace will produce 10g/kg… Its all in how you use it.

The emission standard of 1g/kg is also questionable. Admittedly a lot of NZ jurisdictions use this as their standard, but in NZ they predominantly use softwood as fuel, which means that you will burn more wood, and therefore emit the same as what we experience in Canberra, with presumably more emissions of other varieties.

As a child I suffered from asthma in winter, which was attributable to the cold air and relative humidity levels. We did not have a fireplace, and the dampness of the house made it worse. When we bought a fireplace for the household my asthma went away. I am interested to hear the testimony of those who suffer asthma which they attribute to wood fireplaces, in relation to their experiences in relation to times of backburning or the summer bushfires. If they don’t suffer during these pros then I would presume that cold and humidity is the trigger not the smoke.

My family has heated our brand new second hand house in Tuggeranong using ducted gas: 18 degrees for a two hour window in the morning and evening, and for this privilege we pay $450 a quarter. Problem is that as soon as the thing gotta off the house feels cold. We also have a 1985 fireplace which we fired up for one day, used ten kilos of wood and were comfortable at 23 degrees all day long. This fireplace needs a new part which I can’t get, but rest assured that we will be today be buying from Melbourne an ultra efficient (70%) 1.5g/kg wood fireplace that will warm the house efficiently and economically from herein.

Regrettably gas and electricity just don’t cut it. Though I appreciate that I do need to be a considerate neighbour, I also have a responsibility to ensure that my wife and children are warm, and are boot exposed to conditions that would trigger asthma for them. A write fireplace is the best way of doing this. I an of the opinion that the vast majority of fireplace users are good citizens in that they are considerate of their neighbors. People who use fireplaces to heat their homes should not be the target of idealistic vitreole.

I hope that autocorrect has not had fun with this post…

GardeningGirl GardeningGirl 12:42 am 04 Jun 12

Nightshade said :

Sarni said :

1. Is it really necessary to have legislation on this issue? Is the air so bad that the government can’t just inform and encourage people to install use their heaters wisely?

If people were using their heaters wisely, there would be no need for this. Unfortunately, enough people are not using them wisely to create problems for others in their neighbourhood. If they don’t want legislation, perhaps they should try being more considerate of their own free will.

+1 Exactly! I’ve been waiting quarter of a century for the “education” approach to work.

Sarni said :

6. What will be the cost of these measures to the ratepayers?

Apart from the health and environmental benefits, there might be cost savings in being able to dry washing outside in winter the way I remember doing, with no fear of having to put away clothes stinking like a bushfire if I weren’t vigilant enough to bring them in as soon as it started getting smoky.

Nightshade Nightshade 11:49 pm 03 Jun 12

Sarni said :

1. Is it really necessary to have legislation on this issue? Is the air so bad that the government can’t just inform and encourage people to install use their heaters wisely?

If people were using their heaters wisely, there would be no need for this. Unfortunately, enough people are not using them wisely to create problems for others in their neighbourhood. If they don’t want legislation, perhaps they should try being more considerate of their own free will.

Sarni Sarni 10:46 pm 03 Jun 12

1. Is it really necessary to have legislation on this issue? Is the air so bad that the government can’t just inform and encourage people to install use their heaters wisely?
Do we have to have a perpetual criminal law amendment programme on every effing thing?

2. Why does the prohibition have to be a criminal offence? Is it really necessary for a builder who contravenes this trendy legislation to have a criminal record? Isn’t a
$1100 dollar penalty enough in these troubled economic times?

3. Why are residential premises singled out for these over zealous prohibitions and not business owners’ premises as well? Do the Greens have a particular motive or hidden agenda here?

4. When these amendments are passed a search warrant can be issued to enter a person’s home and examine the person’s wood heater under section 104 of the Environment Protection Act-
do we really want the Gestapo knocking on our doors and entering our homes against our will over such a trivial issue?

5. Watch out – this legislation could be the thin edge of the wedge. The next thing we will see is legislation making it a criminal offence for residents themselves to install the heaters.

6. What will be the cost of these measures to the ratepayers? Are we going to have well paid public servants inspecting Canberra wood heater shops when residents can buy them
in Queanbeyan or other States anyway? ( I assume they are permitted to be sold in NSW but have not researched it)

7. Can’t the Government and the opposition bang their heads together for once to resist this extremism?

Thumper Thumper 9:47 pm 03 Jun 12

Skidbladnir said :

I have just noticed this thread…
Seems our CanadaColoradoAlaskaOregonion friends are back to try and troll again.

May I please shoot down your astroturfing in exactly the same way as last time?

Please do. It’s all getting terribly boring.

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 9:09 pm 03 Jun 12

I have just noticed this thread…
Seems our CanadaColoradoAlaskaOregonion friends are back to try and troll again.

May I please shoot down your astroturfing in exactly the same way as last time?

GardeningGirl GardeningGirl 7:40 pm 03 Jun 12

steveu said :

Implement a licence system for wood fired heaters. Make sure people have their chimneys cleaned every year. Educate people on the most efficient use of them (and the do nots).
Rnadom inspections of wood stock to ensure licence holders are burning stuff that should be burnt. Have a phone number that neighbours can ring if they believe there is a problem witht he way a person is using their wood fired heater.
Thats a start. Might even give someone a job. If people dont like it, they can change over to something else to heat their house.

+1
I started thinking later perhaps licencing the use of wood heaters could help, interesting to see someone else had the same thought. It makes more sense than television licences (anybody remember those?).

wildturkeycanoe said :

http://www.environmentalhealth.ca/summer01gas.html – shows problems for asthma sufferers due to natural gas for cooking/heating.

That reminded me of reading advice that the window should be left open a crack while cooking with gas, but who would want to let the woodsmoke in?

dpm dpm 6:02 pm 03 Jun 12

Jim Jones said :

HenryBG said :

ra ra ra communists ra ra ra everyone who disagrees with me is crazy ra ra ra

Yes, grandpa. We know, grandpa.

It’s funny that this is your view of HBG, which you think is wrong. Yet, you’ve stated this exact same thing (‘everyone who disagrees with me is crazy’) in another topic and it is fine there – when you say it!?
Hahahaha! Too funny – again! Love your posts Jim!
I think we should arrange to get you and HBG in a room to debate something/anything. I’d pay to see that – and the proceeeds could go to the charity of your choice! 🙂

Mysteryman Mysteryman 5:45 pm 03 Jun 12

HenryBG said :

The Greens on this issue are as out-of-whack with reality as they are with the issue of fuel-efficient cars: cars with whacking great big batteries in them are responsible for far more emissions than cars without. And there are plenty of cars without batteries in them that use less fuel than the battery cars.

Care to provide some evidence of your claims, there? Not the Greens being out of whack – we all know that’s true – but the nonsense about the electric cars.

JC JC 5:26 pm 03 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?

Just because wood burning is a natural occurrence doesn’t make it environmentally friendly. It still produces a whole heap of shit and pollution, and more than other forms of heating, such as natural gas. You only need to drive into Tuggeranong Valley on a cold winters day to see the pollution effect of wood fire heaters, and try living next to someone who uses one day in day out, especially the stench that gets on your clothes if your trying to dry them au-natural.

wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 5:12 pm 03 Jun 12

CaresAboutHealth said :

You should read: http://www.enn.com/health/article/43574
“The second study uncovered a surprising link between prenatal maternal exposure to woodsmoke and poorer performance in markers for IQ among school-age children.”
By calling me nuts, instead of checking the facts, makes me wonder if the effect of woodsmoke exposure continues into adult life.

http://www.environmentalhealth.ca/summer01gas.html – shows problems for asthma sufferers due to natural gas for cooking/heating.
http://www.epa.gov/region1/eco/diesel/health_effects.html – shows health effects from diesel combustion
http://news.stanford.edu/news/2007/april18/ethanol-041807.html – describes the potential for more deaths/health related illness due to using ethanol as a fuel

And if that isn’t enough, there’s a tonne of information on the adverse effects of the electricity grid, upon which solar power will be fully reliant.

Doesn’t matter which technology you look at, some “expert” or team of them, will find a reason why it is bad for us.

steveu steveu 5:01 pm 03 Jun 12

Implement a licence system for wood fired heaters. Make sure people have their chimneys cleaned every year. Educate people on the most efficient use of them (and the do nots).
Rnadom inspections of wood stock to ensure licence holders are burning stuff that should be burnt. Have a phone number that neighbours can ring if they believe there is a problem witht he way a person is using their wood fired heater.
Thats a start. Might even give someone a job. If people dont like it, they can change over to something else to heat their house.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 2:46 pm 03 Jun 12

HenryBG said :

ra ra ra communists ra ra ra everyone who disagrees with me is crazy ra ra ra

Yes, grandpa. We know, grandpa.

CaresAboutHealth CaresAboutHealth 12:20 pm 03 Jun 12

wildturkeycanoe said :

I agree, I’ve got split A/Cs both ends of the house and they are cheaper to run than gas and probably firewood too. …
Then, I just did some research on your salt batteries….

I didn’t mean salt batteries for PV cells. I was trying to say that Australia should develop solar thermal power with molten salt storage – http://100percent.org.au/bigsolar

A solar thermal station uses the sun to superheat steam to drive turbines, instead of coal. The molten salt stores the heat so generate steam and drive the turbines when the sun isn’t shining. All technology takes a time and expertise to perfect, but the sun’s heat is free and the technology is a lot more viable than the coal industry’s claim of viable carbon sequestration and storage. This would seem to be our best bet for an affordable electricity supply.

Because they can’t be turned on an off, I’m told coal-fired power stations have surplus capacity except at times of peak demand. Therefore, as individuals, saving electricity at other times does nothing to reduce global warming. The best thing we can do as individuals is to reduce the emissions over which we have direct control. Using a pushbike for short distances avoids the emission of greenhouse gases. Wood heaters come into the same category. There’ll be less global warming if we instead lock the carbon up in Australian hardwoods, which can take a long, long time to decay – longer than it will might take for the world’s climate to reach a tipping point under the ‘business as usual’ scenario – http://www.unep.org/newscentre/Default.aspx?DocumentID=2659&ArticleID=8958&1=en

CaresAboutHealth CaresAboutHealth 11:38 am 03 Jun 12

HenryBG said :

Here’s a clue: methane is extremely combustible. My wood heater is not about to let anything combustible wander out my chimney.
I’m not entirely sure you aren’t just having a laugh….but I’m willing to bet you’ve spent time in a secure ward at Woden: you’re clearly nuts.

Why would it be nuts to believe the CSIRO scientists who bought Australian wood heaters and measured the methane that came out of them? Or the many other scientists in many countries who have also measured methane from wood heaters. Smoke is combustible too, and that also comes out chimneys. You are correct that hot hardwood fires produce less methane. The worst thing you can do is stoke the fire up for the night – something that is all too common here.

You should read: http://www.enn.com/health/article/43574
“The second study uncovered a surprising link between prenatal maternal exposure to woodsmoke and poorer performance in markers for IQ among school-age children.”

By calling me nuts, instead of checking the facts, makes me wonder if the effect of woodsmoke exposure continues into adult life.

GardeningGirl GardeningGirl 11:32 am 03 Jun 12

Nightshade said :

Aside from heater standards, the ACT could give more consideration to flue height and placement than it currently does.

+1

Chip said :

A lot of wood stove emission problems can be vastly reduced by good fuel and good fire management. Perhaps posties can have a pocket full of ‘how to’ booklets and pop them in the box when they notice a smokey fire.

+1

I remember discussion papers and improved emission standards going back quarter of a century. Canberra is still prone to cold air inversions, the geography of the place just doesn’t suit widespread use of wood heaters. People still pump out smoke from their new improved wood heaters, one obvious cause is wet wood as the problem is noticeably worse around here after rain, “education” was going to fix that but they’re still discussing and I’m still waiting.

Regardless of what form of heating is used, it’s going to have to work harder in houses with poor insulation and with orientation that doesn’t take advantage of the sun. That needs addressing too and I’m not convinced the energy rating scheme in its current form is doing that.

CaresAboutHealth CaresAboutHealth 8:24 am 03 Jun 12

Chaz said :

You do realise that the UN uses false data to push their programs forward. Much like most politicians all over the world do.

If you actually bothered to read the report, you’d see that the lead author is a respected NASA scientist who has spent his working life studying atmospheric chemistry and global warming. People study science because they want to know the truth. Using false data with a team of 50 scientists checking the work would be stupid. If found out, it would end his career.

Similarly, if you actually bothered to read the wood heater discussion document, you’d learn about the people who are affected by wood smoke, and the advice of health professionals.

I don’t think the government cares one way of the other about whether you go off into the bush and embrace self-sufficiency. The problem is the increased health costs of woodsmoke in urban areas, and neighbours who get sick from breathing the toxic pollution.

dungfungus dungfungus 9:17 pm 02 Jun 12

“……..I’m pretty sure whale farts are bad too…

Well, I would think they would be deadly. I am aware that the bubble in a spirit level is a captured fish fart but the mind boggles when one considers the potency of a “krill killer” from a whale.
Whales should be hunted to exstinkshun perhaps.

HenryBG HenryBG 8:16 pm 02 Jun 12

CaresAboutHealth said :

That’s why a team of 50 experts from the United Nations Environment Program recommended that developed countries phase out wood heaters. I’m surprised you haven’t heard of methane.

I’ve got a challenge for you: try putting some methane in my wood heater and see how much of it ends up in the atmosphere.
Here’s a clue: methane is extremely combustible. My wood heater is not about to let anything combustible wander out my chimney.

I’m not entirely sure you aren’t just having a laugh….but I’m willing to bet you’ve spent time in a secure ward at Woden: you’re clearly nuts.

Chaz said :

You do realise that the UN uses false data to push their programs forward. Much like most politicians all over the world do. As I said before, it is all about money. Plain and simple. The gov would much prefer you and your family be dependent on the state/private business and not to be self sufficient in anything that you do. That way you must go to work, get money & pay your bills/taxes.

Should we also ban back burning then? How about banning volcanoes? I’m pretty sure whale farts are bad too…

After reading the kind of crap “CaresAboutHealth” has to tell us, I’m starting to warm to you climate-change deniers…..

Bottom line is, humans have been burning stuff for millenia. And we’re still around. Breathing in a bit of campsmoke isn’t going to hurt you.
Oh, except there’s “one lady with Asthma” who supposedly can’t hack it. Boohoo.

Chaz is on the money when he says it’s all about money – they want us to be their bill-paying slaves.

Anything that smacks of genuine sustainability will be eliminated with maximum prejudice, whether it be wind farms, wood heaters or solar panels.

The Greens are just as bade as Rupert Murdoch – just remember, we would have had an ETS 2 years ago if it hadn’t been for the Greens voting against it.
Caring for the environment is pretty much a secondary concern for that amalgamation of power-hungry ex-communists these days…

switch switch 7:16 pm 02 Jun 12

CaresAboutHealth said :

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki has looked into this and claims that electricity would cost less within 10 years if we convert to concentrated solar power (with molten salt to store the heat and keep the generators going when the sun isn’t shining).

Let me get this straight. A somewhat desperate science entertainer (does he even have a real PhD?) knows what no other country in the world does, since they ALL insist on burning coal for just about all their electricity needs.

Get back to us when solar actually produces gigawatts of power day in, day out, just like coal (or nuclear). No solar thermal station has produced more than a few megawatts continuously for 24 hours.

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