A new standard called Ecodesign is now in effect which means you can only buy more efficient log burning stoves.
Stoves can provide warmth and character in any home, but their impact on the environment has led to new rules being introduced in the UK and across Europe to help reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants.
The rules are particularly important for homeowners exploring new fireplace ideas because the only stoves now available to buy must be environmentally-friendly and energy efficient, which have been independently tested to meet the new requirements.
Here’s what you need to know with the new rules in place, and what you can do to improve the efficiency of your current stove.
What is Ecodesign?
Ecodesign is a standard which was implemented across Europe on 1 January 2022. The legislation, introduced by the European Union, also forms part of the government’s Clean Air Strategy and means that all new stoves bought after this date will need to meet agreed emissions standards.
The emission standards include limits for toxic pollutants including particulate matter (PM), organic gaseous compounds (OGC), carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxides (NOx).
Why Has Ecodesign Been Introduced?
Air pollution is a significant environmental risk to public health, and burning at home is a major contributor to this.
When certain types of fuel are burnt, such as wet wood and house coal, stoves can emit small, harmful particles of air pollution called fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which can enter the body’s lungs and blood.
The new standard will raise the efficiency of log burners across the UK, improve air quality and be better for the environment.
In May 2021, the government implemented new rules on burning wet wood to crack down on emissions.
Is There a Ban on Log Burners?
No, you can still use an existing log burner or stove, but from 1 January 2022 new stoves must be Ecodesign-approved.
However, you may wish to update an older stove - particularly those over 10 years old - to a more efficient modern model that is Ecodesign Ready (more on this below), and consider burning wood that features the Ready to Burn mark.
What Does an Ecodesign Ready Stove Mean?
Under the Building Regulations, all Ecodesign Ready CE stoves must have a minimum seasonal efficiency of 65%, and Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) stoves must have a minimum requirement of 75%.
All Ecodesign Ready stoves will also have an SIA Ecodesign ready label (the Ecolabel rating ranges from A++ to G), which relates to the amount of energy used to generate heat.
The SIA introduced its Ecodesign Ready scheme last year to show homeowners which stoves are already compliant with the new rules.
What are the Benefits of Getting an Ecodesign Stove?
Ecodesign Ready stoves produce fewer particulate emissions, which is not only better for yours, and your family’s health, but it is better for the environment.
The SIA says that an Ecodesign Ready appliance used with properly seasoned wood fuel reduces particulate emissions by up to 90% compared to an open fire.
Moreover, you will need fewer logs to produce the same amount of heat compared to a stove which isn’t Ecodesign Ready, which will cut fuel costs.
I Live in a Smoke Control Area; Does This Affect Me?
The only woodburning domestic heating appliance you can install and use if you live in a smoke-controlled zone must be exempt by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). These stoves are independently tested to meet strict criteria on emissions.
From 1 January 2022, the Ecodesign rules mean that if you are buying a new stove to use in a smoke-controlled area, this must be DEFRA-exempt too.
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Jack has worked in journalism for 11 years and is the News Editor for Homebuilding & Renovating, a role he has had since 2019. He strives to break the most relevant and beneficial stories for self builders, extenders and renovators, including the latest news on the construction materials shortage and hydrogen heating. In 2021 he appeared on BBC's The World at One to discuss the government's planning reforms.
He enjoys testing new tools and gadgets, and having bought his first home in 2013, he has renovated every room and recently finished a garden renovation.