Wooden burners are a costlier strategy to warmth properties than fuel boilers or warmth pumps, analysis exhibits.
A examine discovered that in addition to inflicting vital well being and environmental risks for the house’s occupants and their neighbours, it’s no less than 15% extra expensive to warmth a house utilizing a wooden burner somewhat than a fuel boiler.
Rachel Pidgeon, of the charity Influence on City Well being, which focuses on well being inequalities in cities and which funded the examine, mentioned air air pollution from wooden burning within the UK had doubled over the previous decade, with critical penalties for individuals’s well being.
“This analysis dispels the parable that wooden burning is a less expensive vitality various while shining a lightweight on the poisonous impact it has on the air we breathe,” she mentioned. “It’s very important that city communities perceive the connection between burning and the air air pollution it creates.”
There was a 40% enhance in gross sales of wooden burners between 2021 and 2022. Analysis exhibits that extra prosperous individuals, attracted by the aesthetic attraction of a fireplace, are driving that enhance.
Nevertheless, a rising physique of proof highlights the environmental and well being injury brought about, with scientists saying that individuals who burn wooden are subjecting themselves – and their neighbourhoods – to excessive ranges of probably the most harmful small particulate air pollution, PM2.5, which might work its manner deep into the physique, inflicting a spread of extreme well being points together with coronary heart illness, strokes, bronchial asthma and most cancers.
Final 12 months, a examine from Prof Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, discovered that even “eco design” wooden burning stoves produced 450 instances extra poisonous air air pollution than fuel central heating, whereas older stoves, now banned from sale, produced 3,700 instances extra.
One other examine discovered that wooden burning in properties produced extra small particle air pollution than all street visitors within the UK.
The most recent analysis, carried by International Motion Plan for Influence on City Well being, discovered that the notion among the many public was typically that wooden burners no less than supplied a less expensive supply of vitality.
Nevertheless, that was solely true when wooden was sourced without spending a dime, the examine discovered. Specialists say scrap wooden and wooden that has not been correctly dried or seasoned is much more poisonous and intensely dangerous to the well being of those that are burning it, in addition to to their neighbours.
Lucy Anderson, the pinnacle of analysis at International Motion Plan, mentioned: “Pressures on family funds could also be tempting extra individuals in the direction of burning wooden as a result of they consider it’s cheaper. However our new analysis demonstrates that wooden burning is sort of at all times costlier than different types of heating within the UK.”
The examine discovered that when a family used a newly put in, Defra-approved wooden burner for 20% of its warmth, the yearly price, together with set up, was £2,028-£2,204 – 24% greater than operating a typical fuel boiler. The associated fee elevated to nearly 50% costlier the place a family used newly put in wooden burners for 80% of its warmth.
Even the place the wooden burner was already put in and 80% of the warmth was offered by a fuel boiler, the annual prices have been nonetheless 15% greater than fuel. In all situations, wooden burners have been costlier than air supply warmth pumps.
With winter approaching, a spread of organisations together with International Motion Plan, Influence on City Well being and Mums for Lungs are calling for better consciousness of the financial, environmental and well being prices of wooden burning.
Jemima Hartshorn, the founder and director of Mums for Lungs, mentioned: “Each autumn and winter, individuals in cities and cities are uncovered to excessive ranges of poisonous fumes from wooden burning.” She mentioned youngsters have been typically the worst hit. “It’s very important persons are conscious of the sturdy connection between burning wooden and the air air pollution it causes, which has lasting, damaging results on individuals’s lives.”
Andy Hill, the chair of the Range Business Alliance, mentioned: “Maintaining heat is prime to human well being and wellbeing. When purchased in bulk, selecting wooden gas signifies that customers have a set gas price in the course of the heating season. A contemporary range, in addition to being extremely environment friendly and low-emission, gives a dependable and fully grid-independent manner of heating our properties, one thing an air supply warmth pump and plenty of fuel boilers merely can’t do. At a time when vitality safety has by no means been extra necessary, the peace of thoughts this offers is invaluable.”