Wood fuel has gained a lot of popularity in recent years as an affordable and reliable way to heat homes. As a result of this surge in popularity, there appeared many myths and misconceptions about wood fuel have led to increasing confusion and misinformation.
Among other things, people say it’s impossible to find quality wood fuels in Britain. Some say that wood fuels are bad for the environment. Others say that they’re inefficient, not cost-effective, and not clean.
In this blog post, we will debunk some of the top wood fuel myths and provide the facts about this renewable energy source.
Myth #1: Wood Fuel Is Bad for the Environment
One commonly-repeated myth about wood fuel, which you even sometimes hear repeated by national news media, is that it is harmful to the environment. However, once you do a bit of research, you’ll that this is simply not the case. On the contrary, the UN is actively promoting renewable wood fuels as a more sustainable alternative to coal and other highly-polluting fossil fuels.
Unlike coal, wood fuel is a renewable energy source, which means that it can be replenished over time. And the carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere when wood fuels are burned is offset by the amount of CO2 absorbed by the trees as they grow. Thus, if sustainability guidelines are adhered to, wood fuel can be a 100% carbon-neutral source of heat.
What’s more, and this is counterintuitive to most people who have never tended to a forest, cutting down trees is not harmful to the environment in any way. If sustainable forestry rules are adhered to, as is the case with Lekto Woodfuels, cutting down a certain number of trees every year helps increase the biodiversity of the ecosystem. This is because tall, leafy trees tend to soak up a lot of sunlight rays before they can reach the ground. If some of these trees are cut down (a practice called hinge cutting), more light reaches the ground, helping shrubs, flowers, and bushes flourish.
Myth #2: Quality Wood Fuel Is Difficult to Source
Another myth about wood fuel is that it is difficult to obtain in Britain. This belief is based in the fact that Britain is a heavily deforested country. Only 13.19% of British land area is occupied by forests, with most of it being located in Scotland. As a result, most people believe that the British market has a wood fuel supply that is incredibly limited, which would lead to poor overall product quality.
And while it is true that wood fuel is not as widely available as fossil fuels, the situation isn’t as bleak as it might seem. Especially if you know what you’re looking for. For example, the UK has a very healthy sawmill industry, which creates a lot of sawdust. This sawdust can be turned into high-quality wood pellets and wood briquettes that burn hotter and longer than any firewood could ever hope to burn. As for traditional firewood, the threat of inexpensive European-grown wood keeps local suppliers in check. UK-made firewood suppliers cannot let the quality of their wood fuels become too low, because consumers will simply turn to imports if this happens.
What’s more, Defra has recently introduced a national wood fuel quality standard called Ready to Burn. This standard introduces a set of minimal quality norms that all wood fuels sold in the UK need to adhere to. Find out more about Ready to Burn here.
Myth #3: Wood Fuel Is Not Efficient
Another myth about wood fuel is that it is not an efficient energy source. However, this is simply not true. If you purchase high-quality, kiln-dried firewood and briquettes that have been dried to extra low moisture levels and are using a modern, clearSkies (or EcoDesign) certified wood-burning stove, then you’ll be able to reach very high-efficiency values.
What’s more, modern wood fuels possess properties that can rival even those of highly-polluting coal. For example, Hardwood Heat Logs can beat coal in their heat output. And Night Briquettes burn for up to 8 hours, which is similar to the burn time of coal. By reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, we as a nation will have a positive impact on the environment.
Myth #4: Wood Fuel Is Not Cost-Effective
Some people believe that wood fuel is not cost-effective compared to other energy sources. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
When compared to the prices of gas and electric heating, especially at today’s prices, wood fuel is remarkably affordable. So much so that a record number of British households purchased new wood-burning stoves in 2022 just to save on heating.
Myth #5: Wood Fuel Is Not Clean
Some people believe that wood fuel is not clean because they believe it produces smoke when it is burned. This is quite simply wrong. Ready to Burn firewood logs and briquettes are dried to extra low moisture levels, which allows them to burn quickly and without producing smoke. And modern wood-burning appliances are designed to burn wood cleanly and efficiently, producing minimal smoke and other pollutants. What’s more, the use of wood fuel can also reduce the amount of air pollution caused by fossil fuels.