The Science is Clear on Renewable Wood Energy
Humans have been burning wood for heating and cooking for more than one million years. Today, over two billion people use wood heating as their primary source of heat. Wood is a sustainable and renewable energy source powering 6% of global energy needs.
The Facts About Wood Energy
A report by The University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service found that wood fuel produces up to 99% lower carbon emissions than electricity that is dependent on coal. Also, there are ways to reduce indoor pollution when using a wood-burning fireplace. For instance, sourcing “seasoned” firewood produces significantly less smoke and pollution than fresh or “green” wood. Seasoned firewood is wood that has been dried for at least six months.
Wood is also a plentiful, sustainable, and renewable energy source. Researchers also discovered that using wood for bioenergy resulted in the plantings of more trees. The demand for wood supply gives forest owners an incentive to plant more trees. Why is planting more trees important? It is healthy for the environment. Trees produce oxygen, clean the air, benefit climate amelioration, preserve water, and support wildlife.
The State of Vermont, considered one of the most environmentally friendly states in the U.S., is counting on wood energy to meet its goal of achieving 90% renewable energy in the state by 2050. It expects wood energy to supply over 1/3 of its heating needs by 2030.
Wood fuel is a low-carbon alternative to heating with fossil fuels. Unlike other heating sources, a wood-burning stove or fireplace doesn’t require electricity to operate. It will also continue to heat the living space long after the flames burn out.
Sourcing wood and pellet fuel is carbon neutral and will not increase your carbon footprint. Trees release the same level of carbon dioxide, whether they burn or die naturally. Also, the level of heat can be adjusted by sourcing different wood types. Hardwoods, like Alder, Beech, and Oak, when you desire high heat on those very cold days. Softwoods, such as Douglas fir, Southern Pine, and Western Red Cedar, for low heat to take the chill out of the room.
Responsible wood-burning practices have stood the test of time. Homeowners can do their part by using their fireplaces and wood stoves responsibly. It includes having annual chimney inspections and cleanings and making necessary repairs timely. It will not only ensure your heating appliance and chimney are safe to use, but it will also improve its efficiency, and reduce pollution. Mother Nature has provided everything on the planet humankind needs to survive. Resources like trees, water, oceans, fish, and even cows that some take for granted or want to eliminate. Our survival and the survival of generations to come depends on our ability to use them responsibly without destroying the resources nature provides.