Firewood comes in many different types, but it remains one of the most eco-friendly ways to warm up a stove or a home. Science Focus mentions that wood-burning stoves offer a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels for heating the interior of your house. Even so, you’ll still need to find the fuel (provided you don’t get the firewood delivered). The choice of firewood is crucial since if your firewood isn’t eco-friendly, the impact on the environment may still be substantial. So how does one choose eco-friendly management?
Use Dry or Seasoned Wood
When you gather firewood on the outside, the smart thing would be to let it dry naturally in a covered area. Seasoned wood is also a good idea for eco-friendly wood burning. Dry wood is better because it takes less heat to get it lit. Moisture within the wood can make it more challenging to get an efficient burn going and may produce excessive amounts of smoke. Smoke from this moisture may be dangerous and suffocating.
Looking For the Right Type of Wood
When it comes to efficient burning, you want wood that generates the most amount of heat. In North America, several species offer high heat output values, including:
Ø Yellow Birch
Ø White Oak
Ø White Ash
Ø Sugar Maple
Ø Shagbark Hickory
Ø Red Oak
Ø American Beech
These types of wood have a high density, and if properly seasoned and treated, they can create significant amounts of heat output per cord. A cord of timber offers approximately 200 to 250 gallons of fuel output equivalent.
Choosing the Right Type of Wood
When searching for eco-friendly fuel, you should source it sustainably from managed forests. Ideally, it would help if you asked around the area you’re buying your firewood from. You shouldn’t just take the numbers from the side of trucks, but do a bit of research. If you’re looking for eco-friendly firewood, there are too many shady suppliers that don’t source their wood using environmentally friendly methods. The earlier you buy your wood, the better the quality tends to be. Later on, in the winter, the wood quality declines significantly from suppliers. If cutting your own, do so in winter, before the sap starts to rise. If you want to be extra eco-friendly, consider sourcing naturally dead wood in the forests. Doing so in winter is labor-intensive but also the most eco-friendly method.
Softwood or Hardwood?
The longstanding debate about whether softwood or hardwood is better for burning has different conclusions depending on the locale. Generally, it shouldn’t matter whether you burn hardwood or softwood, as long as you keep your stove maintained. Stove maintenance is the most critical part of owning an eco-friendly wood burner working efficiently. High-efficiency stoves make for better heat-to-fuel output. As The EPA notes, modern wood stoves are more efficient than their older counterparts, so you may want to consider replacing your older stove if you want to be sure you’re being environmentally friendly. The final choice is always yours, although the best idea is to stick with the most available fuel in most cases.