Economy How to reconcile savings and ecology with firewood

How to reconcile savings and ecology with firewood

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IStock / City Presse

France is the leading European country to use wood for energy, thanks to its plebiscite as a method of domestic heating. Despite its many advantages, this renewable resource still has some way to go to win over households.

According to the only figures available from the Ecological Transition Agency, only 7.8 million households have adopted it.

The cheapest energy

According to a survey of 50,000 people by the company specializing in energy renovation Effy, the French spent an average of 1,669 euros to heat their homes in 2019.

However, wood wins the title of the most economical energy source with an annual bill of 759 euros, below 1.913 euros for fuel oil, 1.802 euros for electricity and 1.446 euros for gas. When compared to the heated surface, these averages show that wood costs 5.80 euros per m2, against between 11.70 and 15.90 euros per m2 for other energy sources.

The right investment

While wood heating is inexpensive, not all appliances are created equal. Old models of stove, chimney or boiler have a much lower energy efficiency than recent installations. In short: they consume more and produce less energy, not to mention their ecological impact.

To maximize its heating potential, it is recommended to invest in the latest generation equipment, preferably with the Green Flame 7 stars stamp or equivalent. This quality label is a benchmark in the field and guarantees you not only maximum energy efficiency (over 70%), but also very low emissions of carbon monoxide and fine particles. These performances also make it possible to benefit from public aid to finance the installation. Find out more on the official Faire.gouv.fr platform or on 0 808 800 700.

Choose quality wood

Although wood heating makes it possible to limit the use of fossil fuels, and therefore to fight against climate change, it is also a source of pollution when used in bad conditions. As we said, it is first essential to invest in a recent and efficient device. In addition, you must size your installation well in relation to your needs. A stove or fireplace with too much heating capacity will operate at low speed, although it is not designed for this. Result: it will emit even more pollutants and clog faster.

It is then a question of choosing a suitable wood: it must be dry, untreated and come, preferably, from hard hardwoods such as oak, hornbeam, beech or ash, which all have a high calorific value and long combustion. Conversely, softwoods such as pine and fir are to be avoided, since they burn faster and clog the duct. When it’s time to buy your logs or pellets from a professional or DIY store, take a look at their labels. While the NF, ENplus and DINplus certifications guarantee quality biofuel, the PEFC and FSC labels assure you that the wood comes from responsibly managed forests.

What maintenance?

If the glass of your insert gets dirty quickly, the embers are too numerous or the walls tend to tar, it is because the combustion of your wood is not carried out correctly and therefore you are polluting a lot.

In case of concern, the good reflex is to have your call checked, especially if it is old. The flue must be in perfect working order and swept twice a year. In addition, certain tips make it possible to reduce polluting emissions. Unlike a campfire that ignites from below, you have to light the fireplace from the top by placing the kindling above the stack of logs. Likewise, reload as soon as there are no more flames, when the embers are still alive.

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