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SteamyTea

Wood Burners

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You all know I am a fan of a WBS, but there is a place for them and a place NOT for them.  You can get away with them somewhere like here with such a low population density, and a tendancy for more wind to disperse the polution, but even I would say a city, or even a town, is not really the place for them.

 

But the trouble is they are peddled as being "green" which I think is a load of hogwash, or even greenwash.
 

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27 minutes ago, ProDave said:

You all know I am a fan of a WBS, but there is a place for them and a place NOT for them.  You can get away with them somewhere like here with such a low population density, and a tendancy for more wind to disperse the polution, but even I would say a city, or even a town, is not really the place for them.

 

But the trouble is they are peddled as being "green" which I think is a load of hogwash, or even greenwash.
 

+1 to the above, and yes I am having one in our very rural location.

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I posted this a couple of days ago in another thread:

 

On 21/01/2017 at 08:20, JSHarris said:

Our ASHP makes less noise than the intake for the MVHR, or the externally wall-mounted PV inverter.  I think ST heard it running full pelt when he first visited, as I seem to remember me turning it on as a demo.  We both stood next to it chatting, and apart from the blast of cold air coming from the thing ai don't think anyone could describe a modern, inverter controlled, ASHP as noisy.

 

The same isn't true for the non-inverter controlled ones, though.  I've heard some of those (especially some of the re-branded Chinese imports) and they are a lot noisier, so I can see why the planners were concerned enough about the possible nuisance. 

 

Pity they don't show the same concern over the fitting of wood burning stoves, they are a bloody menace in weather like that last night and this morning, where, once more, our whole valley (and all the houses in it) is filled to ground level with thick wood smoke, from two or three houses in the village who have the things and don't give a damn about the nuisance they cause on cold, still, days.

 

I live in a small rural village.  There are three people who have woodburners who live here, and frankly they are a bloody nuisance.  When the weather is really cold, the air in the valley is almost always stationary.  We have a stream running through the valley, too, which creates a fair bit of fog/mist in cold weather.  The wood smoke cools and sinks to the valley floor, then gradually fills the whole valley and all the houses in it with thick, choking, smog.

 

The parish council have tried to intervene, to no avail.

 

Thankfully the place we're moving to is a bit more enlightened.  the topography is similar - small village in a valley with a stream, and the problem used to be the same.  They kept "naming and shaming" the culprits, with photos of their smoke falling to the valley floor and filling it, until eventually peer pressure stopped them using wood stoves altogether.  They did the same with bonfires too.

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Despite me having a wood stove in our new build I still think the council should have power, for the greater good, to control any kind of pollution like this. It's like the thread on the other place that's been running for years about a chap who's health is seriously affected by a neighbours wood stove. It's nuisance and should be controlled.

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Isn't this what a "smokeless zone" is all about? surely most cities will be smokeless zones?
 

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Not exactly. Smokeless zones were introduced in order to reduce the smogs and poor air quality produced in the days when most people burnt coal.

 

They don't stop you burning coal, but it must be "smokeless" coal, good quality anthracite, coke, or other manufactured coal. It doesn't stop you burning wood either. I think if you do burn wood in a smokeless zone it has to be in an approved wood burner. Of course that doesn't stop the smoke if you burn wet wood slowly!

 

Quite a lot of the country, including many towns, isn't a smoke control area, so it wouldn't apply anyway.

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19 minutes ago, billt said:

Not exactly. Smokeless zones were introduced in order to reduce the smogs and poor air quality produced in the days when most people burnt coal.

 

They don't stop you burning coal, but it must be "smokeless" coal, good quality anthracite, coke, or other manufactured coal. It doesn't stop you burning wood either. I think if you do burn wood in a smokeless zone it has to be in an approved wood burner. Of course that doesn't stop the smoke if you burn wet wood slowly!

 

Quite a lot of the country, including many towns, isn't a smoke control area, so it wouldn't apply anyway.

 

Yes you are right about exempt stoves in smokeless zones but it does not stop burning bad quality wood ( the exempt stoves as far as I gave gathered simply don't have control to slow burn like some do, and as we know fast burns at high temps are the best way to use such a stove.) as I said above I believe councils should have powers ( and use them) to stop nuisance.

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Just for a laugh, but connected to a conversation over at the other place, if there was a tax introduced on domestic solid fuel burners, say something like the TV license i.e. fixed amount per household with them, how much should it be?

There is an alternative, taxing the fuel at source, if so, how much should that be per kWh.  This could be an assumed amount based on size of a home with a burner i.e. £/(kWh.m2).

So if a house had a deemed usage of 50 kWh/(m2.y) and it was set at 2p/kWh and the house was 100 m2, then the annual tax would be:

 

50 kWh/(m2.y) x 2p/kWh x 100 m2 = £100/year.

 

So think on it and give me two prices:

 

Fixed fee

 

Usage and Size price

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I'm paying 5% VAT on my lorry load on wood. To be honest I don't see any problem with using it as a fuel. We don't really get 'calm days' here, and my nearest neighbour to leeward is about five miles away. Plenty people burn peat or coal which I believe are considerably worse for air quality- based on what I see and smell coming out their chimneys.

 

In my 76% efficiency log stove, the fuel works out at 2p/kWh which massively undercuts my other heating option, direct electric, at more than four times that price, even on cheap rate. No mains gas option up here, obviously. By contrast, the wood is grown here on the island so me buying it actually saves it being trucked hundreds of miles somewhere else.

 

In an ideal world, I would live in a better insulated, draught-proofed home with low energy consumption. But I don't.

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Yes bit of a rant I admit. Just wanting to counter the starting point that use of wood burners should be cut down, penalised, etc.

 

I don't deny that there is a problem in more densely populated places, but I would not support any kind of action that failed to recognise the geographical differences.

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The issue as always is enforcement. 

 

Council EHOs were cut back to the bone (non essential service) and they are the ones you need for stat nuisance.  The second is fuel - you can have the best defra approved stove in the world but unless you burn the defra specified fuel it will not be smokeless. We have "forgotten" how to cut and season wood, and these are a lifestyle choice these days for a majority. I've already cut and stacked the timber for next year (felled in September) yet the footings aren't even in ..!! Most likely that will get burned in Feb 2018 so 18 months to season. 

 

Understanding moisture in timber is one thing, finding a supplier who does is something else especially when it comes at a price ...

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The issue with many smoke control approved stoves are that they are often just the normal stove that has some kind of stop mechanism to avoid the air inlet being shut off to far. As you can imagine, a lot of people don't bother fitting these or take them off after installation so they can turn the stove down more.

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33 minutes ago, Crofter said:

Yes bit of a rant I admit

So that will be zero for both then ;)

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On your other points:

37 minutes ago, Crofter said:

Just wanting to counter the starting point that use of wood burners should be cut down, penalised, etc.

I said (over at the other place)

"I still fail to understand the argument that it is alright to burn timber in a low populations area. It is not acceptable to dump asbestos is a low population area, or kill a cat, or stop education of young people, so why should it be acceptable to allow a heating system to pollute the environment."

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So is it better for me to pay four times as much to heat my house electrically, burning coal hundreds of miles away and losing energy in transmission, rather than burn locally sourced wood in a DEFRA approved stove?

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Possibly is.

You are in Scotland, a country that is try hard to install renewables, mainly windpower, with some new hydro and experimental tide/wave.

 

The point about price is a valid one, if we put a price on emissions, and used it to equalise the kWh price for all fuels, while at the same time removing all subsidies, or in other words, pay the real price, then this sort of market and environmental skewing would not happen.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, SteamyTea said:

Possibly is.

You are in Scotland, a country that is try hard to install renewables, mainly windpower, with some new hydro and experimental tide/wave.

 

The point about price is a valid one, if we put a price on emissions, and used it to equalise the kWh price for all fuels, while at the same time removing all subsidies, or in other words, pay the real price, then this sort of market and environmental skewing would not happen.

 

 

 

Would be interesting to see the affect of that one on each fuel. I m guessing it would put a lot more people into fuel poverty.

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Fuel poverty is really a social construct to highlight low wage and earning gaps. 

I am not saying it is not real, but we do have many other ways to combat it i.e. minimum wage, tax credits, family allowances, pensioner allowances, unemployment benefits[1], moving, cheap loans, FiT, RHI (not that I really like those subsidies).

Part of the taxation to equalise fuel type prices could be used to pay for upgrades to property or wages.

 

 

[1] I lived on a student loan for 4 years, which is a lower amount of money than a single persons unemployment benefits

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Maybe, but you d still in effect be subsiding the fuel, it would just be dressed up in a different way.

 

I d be interested to see what pulling subsidies and taxing emissions does to the various fuels if anyone has the time or inclination to model it.

 

 

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1 hour ago, SteamyTea said:

Possibly is.

You are in Scotland, a country that is try hard to install renewables, mainly windpower, with some new hydro and experimental tide/wave.



 

The point about price is a valid one, if we put a price on emissions, and used it to equalise the kWh price for all fuels, while at the same time removing all subsidies, or in other words, pay the real price, then this sort of market and environmental skewing would not happen.



 



 

Ah but they tell us burning wood IS "renewable"  just about every school or public building up here now has a timber clad portacabin size building outside that contains it's new biomass boiler.


 

That's a whole different argument.

 

forget fuel poverty. "Council tax poverty" is my biggest gripe. Council tax is our second largest bill, second only to food.

 

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Transport fuel is my greatest single expense, but the fact that I did an discretionary journey to go walking and then anther one to have a coffee, shows it is really way too cheap.

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