Opinion: Burning Wood isn't the Perfect Eco Solution, But What is?

opening up a fireplace
(Image credit: Garden Trading)

A woodburning stove is at the heart of many a fireplace idea wishlist for the home, but using wood as a heating fuel really highlights the importance and complexity of the question: ‘Is it green?’. 

In terms of sustainability, it arguably scores 10 out of 10; we can always grow more of it. But in terms of global warming, it may only score 3 or 4. 

Tim Pullen

Tim is an expert in sustainable building methods and energy efficiency in residential homes and writes on the subject for magazines and national newspapers. He is the author of The Sustainable Building Bible, Simply Sustainable Homes and Anaerobic Digestion - Making Biogas - Making Energy: The Earthscan Expert Guide.

His interest in renewable energy and sustainability was first inspired by visits to the Royal Festival Hall heat pump and the Edmonton heat-from-waste projects. In 1979

this initial burst of enthusiasm lead to him trying (and failing) to build a biogas digester to convert pig manure into fuel, at a Kent oast-house, his first conversion project.

Moving in 2002 to a small-holding in South Wales, providing as it did access to a wider range of natural resources, fanned his enthusiasm for sustainability. He went on to install renewable technology at the property, including biomass boiler and wind turbine.

He formally ran energy efficiency consultancy WeatherWorks and was a speaker and expert at the Homebuilding & Renovating Shows across the country.