It’s an old saying that wood warms you twice – once when you chop it up and again when you burn it. But the evidence is strong now that it warms you three times.
We had a load of seasoned timber delivered the other day and moving it in a wheel barrow to a dry shed certainly kept me warm in the drizzly weather. And the other night watching the snooker on the TV with a log fire burning was a warming and comforting experience.
But maybe it shouldn’t be. I’ve always assumed that I was doing the right thing by burning wood rather than coal because, of course, wood is a renewable resource and provided somebody replants the timber that I have burned then the carbon released from my fire will be sucked back into another growing tree and so this is carbon recycling not just carbon release. Whereas with coal it will be millions of years before the carbon released quickly could be recaptured in new coal deposits – if at all.
But black carbon, soot to you and me, is an important cause of global warming. My wood fire isn’t the main cause but my diesel car won’t be helping and generally speaking wood burning is a big problem. Here are some links for more information (here, here, here).
Now what I don’t know, and I wonder whether anyone can tell me, is what the relative impacts of coal (which must be a bad thing to burn), wood (which it seems as if is nowhere near as good a thing as I had previously hoped) and putting on the central heating a bit more might be.
Like all other green decisions this one is more complicated than at first it seemed. An open fire is nice, it is sometimes where we can roast chestnuts and it does mean that the heating is low everywhere else in the house. I am, as almost always, confused about the right thing to do.