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HPM November 2015

Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com CHIMNEYS,FLUES&FIREPLACES Changing the perception of stoves With increasingly negative media sentiment surrounding stove use and government pressure for stricter air pollution regulations, it is imperative that the UK stove industry promotes its credentials. Arada’s Mark Brettell discusses how the stove industry is working hard to remain a top home heating choice... Recently the push to reduce nitrous oxide (NO) and particulates levels from diesel engine cars has been high on the political and press agenda. The recurring debate about particulates, which, along with harmless water vapour, are contained in the smoke emitted from any wood burning stove combined with increasing concerns over global warming, may lead you to ask the question: ‘How do modern stoves fit into today’s eco lifestyle?’ It has long been acknowledged that particulates from diesel engines are a large cause of pollution in urban UK, however, recent reports on air quality and particulate emissions have claimed solid fuel stoves, particularly wood burning appliances, are pushing these limits. Stoves are actually in fact just a very small part of the UK’s total air pollution problem, and heavy investments alongside industry research is ensuring that clean burning is the top priority for stove manufacturers. Maintaining and reducing the negative impact on the environment through state-of-the-art British manufacturing and product improvement is still the main item on our agenda. TIGHTER GUIDELINES The European Union’s Ecodesign directive standards (2009/125/EC) have introduced new legislation and tighter guidelines on how to improve the current Clean Air Act standards in the UK. Due to come into force by 2022, the framework sets out requirements such as maximum particulate matters, NO and carbon monoxide emission levels. The Stove Industry Alliance has made a clear case in support of the obligation to reduce energy consumption and negative environmental impact. It estimated that wood burning stoves could account for ten per cent of the government’s carbon reduction targets by 2020, with the potential to produce 25% of our domestic renewable heat energy target. These industry improvement initiatives are further driving stove cleanliness, with UK stove manufacturers having already achieved Ecodesign status early, embracing dramatic changes in stove design with the introduction of impressive clean burning technology. Recent product developments already allow consumers to control the airflow in their closed appliance to suit their chosen fuel; with tertiary burn systems specifically for wood combustion WWW.HPMMAG.COM introducing hot oxygen into the airbox, reigniting unburnt gasses and reducing pollution. Design ‘tweaks’ such as these at the production stage of stove manufacturing largely determine a stove’s lifetime energy use, driving forward a need to constantly evolve a product for continued reduction of emissions. British stoves are designed to be stylish and offer an attractive heating solution for any home. However, when the media claim that stoves are just a ‘green-eco craze’, genuine fuel savings are the true counter-argument. More than three times as efficient as an open fire, stoves offer the ultimate in fuel efficiency. Figures suggest a wood fuelled stove costs as little as 4.85p per kW/h compared with other less-sustainable fuel types, such as electricity which comes in at 15.95p per kW/h. Cost efficient, a stove is the perfect choice for lower income households and rural communities. Multi fuel options give consumers a choice between solid fuel and wood while modern boiler stoves can be integrated into most traditional central heating systems, heating the home and domestic hot water. City dwellers can benefit too, with a wide range of DEFRA-approved wood burning stoves available for use in smoke control areas, all 92 NOVEMBER 2015 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY adhering to the strict restrictions of the Clean Air Act 1993. The accusation that wood burning and multi fuel stoves are just a ‘middle class fad’ can only be argued against with positive customer experiences and consumer feedback. A further criticism comes from Britain’s woodland supporters, who insist that increased stove ownership is leading to the depletion of UK forests, with nobody paying attention to the long-term effect on our trees. However, logs harvested for wood burning aid the health and well-being of the UK’s woodlands. Log fuel is obtained as a natural by-product from our forests, as part of a thinning process, aiding the conservation of our woodlands. Thinning allows sufficient light and space for the remaining trees to thrive, while sustainably managed felling ensures trees are replanted and replaced. This natural cycle of planting and harvesting aims to support a carbon neutral system; with kiln dried and season wood logs producing just 0.008kg of carbon per kW in comparison to 0.198kg for gas and 0.517kg for electricity. In fact, when wood is seasoned and burnt correctly in a clean burning stove appliance, it even produces less carbon dioxide than fallen branches which may decay on the forest floor. SMOKELESS SOLID FUEL This aside, it is up to the role of the consumer to choose their fuel options wisely, highlighting the importance of good quality fuel such as smokeless solid fuel, or well-seasoned local wood in comparison to the use of finite resources or fuel packed with impurities. Furthermore, the consumer must have a sound knowledge of how to operate their appliance in order to reach its optimum fuel efficiency and to meet the impressive technical ratings they are designed to achieve. Despite the pressure from lobbyists and the media about the use of closed heating appliances, UK manufacturers are still staying true to their roots, investing their resources in order to further reduce their environmental impact while focusing on skilled manufacturing in order to produce the very best stoves possible. Designed and built from start to finish with the British home in mind, the UK stove industry will continue to improve its products and reduce its carbon footprint, ensuring they remain the most popular form of home heating. enquiry number 148 UK manufacturers are constantly working on clean burning technology, already surpassing future EU regulations


HPM November 2015
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