These days, the eco footprint of our choices is growing in importance.
So, when it comes to heating your home, you may be wondering what the most environmentally friendly fireplace is.
Read on to find more about the energy efficiency and eco impact of open fires, gas fires and electric fires below…
Are Fireplaces Bad for the Environment?
- Open fires have most potential to damage the environment
- Poor quality solid fuels release the most smoke
- Sealed glass fronted appliances such as stoves are the best way to burn solid fuel
Whether your fireplace is bad for the environment depends on what type of fireplace you have and what fuel it uses. The least eco friendly combination is a solid fuel burning open fire.
Wood burning itself isn’t necessarily bad for the environment. In fact, if you are burning properly dried wood in an efficient appliance, such as a stove, it can be a carbon neutral way of heating your home.
However, fireplaces can be bad for the environment when they don’t take these up these measures. Open fires have an efficiency rating of just 30%, with most heat disappearing up the chimney. What’s more, burning wet wood or dirty coal also produces heavy levels of smoke, which contributes to air pollution, environmental damage and health problems.
What is the Most Environmentally Friendly Fireplace?
So, if open fireplaces aren’t the best option for the environment, then what is? Luckily, you don’t have to sacrifice the cosiness of a fire to help keep the air clean! The two best options for an eco friendly fire are gas and electric.
Find out about their pros and cons here…
Are Gas Fireplaces Environmentally Friendly?
- High efficiency gas fires are up to 86% energy efficient
- Flueless gas fires are 100% efficient
- They use little energy and are inexpensive to run
- No smoke is produced
- Burns a non-renewable fossil fuel
- Release an albeit small amount of carbon monoxide
- Has a more expensive installation cost
Gas is perhaps the most popular replacement for wood burning when it comes to heating a home. Most of us have gas powered boilers, while another good number of homes have replaced their open fire for a gas fire.
So, are gas fires environmentally friendly? Well, they are certainly a significant improvement on open fires! They are almost three times as efficient, meaning they convert a much higher level of their energy into heat for your room. Gas as a fuel is also generally cheap to use, so they are also friendly to your household heating budget.
What are the downsides? If you are particularly environmentally conscious, you should bear in mind that gas is still a fossil fuel. This means you are still releasing carbon dioxide into the air from a non-renewable energy source. While this is only a fraction of the amount produced by an open solid fuel fire, it does affect its eco-friendly credentials slightly.
High efficiency and flueless gas fires still use fossil fuels, so may not be 100% eco-friendly. However, they are still a huge improvement on a badly burning open fire and do not release harmful smoke into the air.
Are Electric Fireplaces Environmentally Friendly?
- Electric fires are 100% efficient
- No smoke or fumes are produced by the fireplace
- Can use renewable energy to run
- They are the least expensive to install
- Require more energy to run
- Electricity is usually more expensive than gas
Electric fires are sometimes seen as less desirable by those who want a real flame in their fireplace. However, for those looking for an eco-friendly fireplace, they are a very attractive option indeed!
Electric fires can boast an efficiency rating of 100% – this means that all of the electricity they use goes into producing heat. On the downside, electric fires require more energy to generate heat – and often comes at a slightly higher cost than gas.
Like gas fires, electric fires also produce no smoke. Furthermore, they don’t produce any fumes, either, so don’t require a chimney or any ventilation. In fact, if you use an energy provider who uses renewable power sources such as wind or solar, your electric fire can be totally environmentally friendly!
Electric fires may come in at a slightly higher running cost, though you may be able to offset this for a while thanks to their lower installation cost. They produce no smoke or fumes and can be powered by renewable energy, if you choose so.
Find just what you need at Direct Fireplaces today!
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Looking for more advice? Our fireplace blog has plenty of help and inspiration, including posts like these…