Wood stove reducing fossil fuels.

oldspark Posted By oldspark, Aug 26, 2013 at 12:20 PM

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  1. oldspark

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  2. Grisu

    Grisu
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    The other thing I worry about is that we just assume wood heat is carbon neutral. However, that is only true if the wood was harvested sustainable. Looking at most scrounges here, that wood comes from land clearings and development and is likely not coming back. I also vaguely remember one time reading that the US is importing more wood than it is exporting further suggesting we are consuming more than we are planting.
     
  3. Ashful

    Ashful
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    Well here's the problem...

    ... how many of these folks end up on hearth.com?
     
  4. jharkin

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    Thats the problem of course. For every one of us, there are 10 or 100 people belching black smoke burning green wood.

    And it gives all of us a bad name.
     
  5. Ashful

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    Exactly. I'd probably be one of 'em... if I hadn't found you guys to steer me straight.
     
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  6. oldspark

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    I hope the numbers are not that bad.:confused:
     
  7. teutonicking

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    Perhaps, but if that wood is being cleared for development, it would have been cut regardless of whether its used in a stove. And if the wood would be disposed of in a landfill regardless, its still "carbon neutral" to burn it because the wood would have decomposed anyway after it was dumped. May as well turn it into some useful fuel.
     
  8. Backwoods Savage

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    Thanks for posting that article oldspark. The only negative I saw is this: "only if state and federal governments lower emission standards" Not sure why we'd want to lower the standards. Perhaps he meant to force lower emissions from stoves.

    I will also add that all OWB are not bad. I remember when a neighbor put one in several years ago and the smoke was terrible. However, he cleaned up his act and I have seen very little smoke from his boiler in the past few years. Again the big key; burn dry wood. He didn't and it was a mess. Now he does and it is not a mess.
     
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  9. ScotO

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    The bottom line is that burning wood is much MUCH greener than burning fossil fuels when properly seasoned and burned in an efficient appliance. Trees (actually, ALL VEGETATION) that lays and rots in the forest eventually emits basically the same carbon footprint that burning it creates.....

    And as far as fuel from cleared land, it is mentioned above that, if nothing else, using that wood that was scrounged from someone else clearing the land is a GOOD THING. Its getting put to use versus being pushed to the side to rot, or being chipped into mulch (which eventually rots as well). I think the big thing to remember here is that wood is NOT a trapped carbon, natural gas and coal ARE trapped carbons (trapped inside the crust of the earth). Wood is renewable carbon, it gets recycled again and again.
     
  10. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd
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    Also to add to this point; when wood that is destined for the dump is instead burned for heat, there is a certain amount of oil, natural gas, propane etc. that is not burned to heat that space. So that is another aspect of wood heat is positively effecting the environment. I know it's not perfect, but I can only assume its better than burning oil.
     
  11. jharkin

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    Me too.
     
  12. NortheastAl

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    Wood burning stoves are getting better all the time. Most manufacturers tout the fact that their stoves are clean burning. The Lopi Cape Cod for instance. They wanted to have the lowest emissions in the industry. I think there will be a race for less particulates from wood stoves in the very near future.

    Of course, wood still has to be dried well to effectively lower emissions. This is where Hearth comes into play, big time. I never would have known about moisture content, drying times and other things important to wood burning unless I found this site. It was all of you who made me a better wood burner. I think this place educates more people on the proper ways to heat with wood than all the stove dealers, wood suppliers and so called experts combined. JMO.
     
  13. Seasoned Oak

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    Met a guy yesterday with huge OWB. Had a pile of fresh cut big rounds on a huge heap about 20 x 60 . I said arent you going to split and dry that before you try to smolder it? Nope was the reply, no need to .The whole thing goes right in there just like it is,burns just fine as he looked over about 20 cords of wood being only 1 seasons worth. I said(trying not to start a dispute) well thats about 5 years supply at my house cuz i split and dry it good.
     
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  14. ScotO

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    Very good analogy, SO.....
    That is one of the big things that irritates me about a lot of guys with OWB's. They take 5 years' worth of wood to heat their house for one year, mostly because they have no clue on the proper seasoning. We have a long way to go, keep preaching the program guys and gals!!
     
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  15. NortheastAl

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    Scott, a lot of these guys have been sold on the fact that the manufacturers tell them they can burn green wood. I've seen it in the ads. They tell you how cheap it is to buy unseasoned wood and logs.
     
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  16. Seasoned Oak

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    Dont try that in an inside wood stove unless you want a chimney fire to go with that wood guzzling green wood habit.
     
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  17. Grisu

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    That's certainly correct and I don't want to advocate against our beloved wood heat (I am an addict myself!). But for wood to be really "carbon-neutral" you need to allow a tree to grow in its place or you are net adding CO2 to the atmosphere. Otherwise, you could consider burning down the amazon rainforest to be "carbon-neutral".
     
  18. TradEddie

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    I have to disagree with this. Don't confuse sustainable with carbon-neutral. The carbon for the tree has already been removed from the atmosphere, and unless turned into furniture, will return to the atmosphere either way. Of course, releasing 90 years of sequestered carbon in one year is not sustainable, but when the tree is to be cut anyway, and the options are allowing it to rot as mulch or in a landfill, burning it saves fossil fuels from being used.

    TE
     
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  19. NortheastAl

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  20. Grisu

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    Please don't think that I advocate to let a tree rot away and heat my home with oil or gas instead. Compared with fossil fuels wood is certainly the better alternative. Nevertheless, when over time you cut down more trees than you let grow in their stead (what humankind has done for several centuries now) then carbon from biomass will also accumulate in the atmosphere. In order to be carbon-neutral you need to sequester in a certain time frame the same amount of CO2 that you released during that time in the atmosphere. Right now, we burn away in one or two months what took 50 and more years to retain.
     
  21. NW Walker

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    Good article, thanks for posting that.

    As for the two months/50 years, it doesn't take much land at all to provide a home with a sustainable source of fuel through coppicing. The Big Leaf Maples here produce an incredible amount of wood in just a few seasons off of a cut stump.
     
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  22. Huntindog1

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    I think the way they look at it being carbon neutral is that the carbon the tree did release during burning had already been taken out of the atmosphere by that tree. Then there are new trees sprouting all the time to regrow and the cycle repeats. Its not a perfect system but its more carbon neutral than fossil fuels that comes from way under ground and takes millions of years to recycle if it recycles at all.
     
  23. jharkin

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    Are we sure about this? We know that when the colonist arrived this continent was covered shore to shore with old growth forest, and by the time of the civil war it had been almost completely deforested for land clearing, construction and fuel. In the late 1800s they where even shipping firewood down from Canada. From the turn of the century on much of that has grown back as we moved to coal and then oi/gas and farming steadily consolidated. Sure, the new growth forest is nothing like the 150-250ft tall old growth trees that where here before, but in terms of land areas I thought Ive read that forested land has significantly increased since 1900.

    Anecdotally... Ive seen photos of my town in the 1880s and it looks like the great planes - open farmland for miles with patches of trees here and there around the houses. Today most of the town is densely wooded.


    Again, I have no hard data - just speculating.
     
  24. Seasoned Oak

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    Has anyone considered that burning all this fossil fuel just may lessen the severity of the next cooling period or mini ice age. IF we get that brutal winter that FA predicts, we wont hear too many complaints about global warming. 1200 low temp records for july may be a trend.
     
  25. Grisu

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    I am also not sure how it is here in the US. It is probably true that there was a low some time in the 19th century from which we have partially recovered. However, I think globally humankind has deforested large parts over the centuries. North Africa, Central Europe, Indonesia, Madagascar, South America (especially Brazil); all had been densely forested at some point and have now a lot of bare or developed land.

    What I want to say is not to stop burning wood but when we want to claim it is carbon-neutral we should plant at least one tree for each we take down.
    "Each man should build a house, plant a tree, father a son." ;)
     
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