Ecodesign and the Clean Air Strategy
Schiedel Chimney Systems provide energy efficient flue systems and liners and always promote, within installation instructions and advice guides, that sweeping and maintaining stove systems is critical for reducing emissions as well as prolonging the life of the chimney system and the appliance.
In January 2019 the UK Clean Air Strategy suggested that the “increase in burning solid fuels (wood and coal) in our homes (domestic burning) is having an impact on our air quality and now makes up the single largest contributor to our national PM emissions at 38%”.
However, the headlines are misleading as the same document also states:
“What people burn and the appliance they use will have a significant impact on emissions.”
Which, within the industry which actively encourages regular maintenance, updating stoves to modern “Ecodesign” models is the way we are going. Something which is also mentioned in the report in the statement about stove/appliance efficiency, acknowledging that inefficient (old) stoves are not comparable in any way to newer stoves.
“Not all forms of domestic burning are equally polluting. The appliance (for example, stove or fireplace), how well it is used and maintained, and what fuels are burnt in it, all make a big difference to how much pollution is produced. Significant air quality benefits can be realised through a new efficient appliance as compared with an old stove or open fire.”
The report also emphasises what the stove and chimney industry have been stating for a number of years. In fact, burning non-standard wood, such as wood with high moisture and also contaminated wood such as old flat pack furniture would invalidate the stove and chimney system warranty, along with not having the chimney regularly swept by a professional.
“There are simple steps that households can take to limit emissions both indoors and out. Using cleaner fuels, in a cleaner appliance which is installed by a competent person, knowing how to operate it efficiently, and ensuring that chimneys are regularly swept, will all make a big difference.”
The true contribution of domestic burning to air pollution remains questionable and surveys and analysis done show that newer, Ecodesign stoves are drastically reducing the amount of particle emissions released within the atmosphere. And to clarify the results of the findings, HETAS, with support from the SIA, has commissioned a review of existing scientific research, literature and methodologies that focus on the contribution of domestic burning to UK air pollution.
SIA’s more comprehensive survey
In early 2019, in response to the BEIS survey, the SIA conducted its own user survey, which was far more comprehensive as 10,620 members of the public, who used wood stoves at home; using the same questions and methodology as applied to the BEIS survey.
The BEIS originally conducted a user survey of 1,206 members of the public, who used wood fuel to heat their homes in 2015 and a 38% particle matter figure quoted in the Clean Air Strategy is based on the assumption that 6m tonnes of wood fuel are burnt each year in the UK.
More accurate figures.
The results of the SIA survey have been independently reviewed and verified by Kiwa UK, who are a world leader in Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) in energy supply (as well as other industries).
According to the SIA Survey, the volume of wood burnt each year in the UK is closer to 1.85m tonnes rather than the 6m tonnes in the BEIS survey.
The less tonnage could be down to more education of stove users, who understand that by using low moisture content wood by Woodsure’s Ready to Burn scheme means less logs are needed within Ecodesign stoves.
Applying this more up to date and accurate figure to the calculation used within the Clean Air Strategy the percentage of PM2.5 attributable to domestic wood burning would fall to 14.9% from 38%
The review has been co-authored by:
- Edward J. S. Mitchell PhD
- Joshua Cottom PhD
- Douglas Phillips PhD
- Ben Dooley PhD
And has been subsequently peer reviewed by:
- Professor Alan Williams CBE, FREng University of Leeds
- Professor Jenny Jones FRSC, MEI University of Leeds.
Usage for heating
Stoves are always a focal point for any house and home and are instantly desirable. However, these are not for aesthetic purposes only. People who don’t have a wood burner, automatically assume the purpose if for aesthetics, however, in some cases firing up a stove tends to heat larger rooms far quicker than conventional radiators would.
Ecodesign is the European-wide programme to lower emissions from stoves. It comes into force in the UK in 2022. SIA Ecodesign Ready stoves have been sold for a number of years now and meet the Ecodesign requirements. The PM emissions limit for Ecodesign is 55% lower than for DEFRA exempt stoves.
Particle emissions reduced by up to 90%
Burning wood produces particulate matter (PM) but the amount produced depends on how the wood is burnt. Independent research conducted by Kiwa Gastec on behalf of the SIA has shown that SIA Ecodesign Ready stoves can reduce particulate emissions by 90% compared to an open fire and 80% compared to an old stove