Tag Archives: Wood Heat

A great source for all who want to learn more about wood heat

How Does Wood Burn in a Stove

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With an understanding of these basic characteristics of heat, we now turn to the phenomenon of combustion and observe what happens when we ignite a log of wood. It is important to understand combustion because the many types of woodstoves are made to take advan­tage of the various processes which occur in an actively […]

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Multi Fuels Stoves is a neat site with a lot of good information about all aspects of heating with wood. Mainly advice soft sell
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Time for a heat with wood strategy

PEI’s schools are very vulnerable to any increase in the price of oil. (Here is a link to the risk for schools) So of course is PEI itself.

How can we reduce this risk? How can be get ahead of the risk and create a whole new economy that regular Islanders can participate in?

Stop heating with oil!

One of the smartest things we did on PEI was to kick start wind energy by deliberately creating enough scale at the outset by the Provincial & Federal Governments taking their share of the power from wind. This guarantee of use, built the foundation.

We can do this with wood heat as well. All Public Buildings could shift from oil to wood.
energytaxcostspei2008chart003

This chart shows PEI’s Energy use and costs in the ramp up in 2008. Nearly $200 million, A THIRD OF PEI’S INCOME TAX REVENUES – is spent on heating oil. While prices are lower today (71 cents vs 1.09) we can be sure that in the future even $1.09 will look like a bargain.

What if we started to use this same model with PEI’s Public Buildings? What if we converted from oil to Wood?

This is easier than you might think. Here is Dick Arsenault taking us around the test of a new Pellet/Chip furnace at the Ecole Evangeline in Western PEI.

You will see that such a furnace

  • Can be easily installed
  • Can be fed easily
  • Has NO emissions
  • Is easy to clean
  • Can save a school about $100,000 a year

There are 2 new schools that will be built in the next year. There is federal money.

If we went full tilt in the public sector and went wood (pellet and Chip) we would create the support systems and the local businesses that we could then lever to help with the rest of PEI’s oil heating.

Lots of real jobs that are not going to go away will be created.

If we can pull this off, we would have to do a lot of work on conservation as well that also leads to many new jobs, then $200,000,000 at least will stay in the hands of Islanders.

The biggest tax break ever.
Energytaxcostspei2008002

PEI will also be on track to start to reduce its dependency on oil and the outside.

Oh but Rob there is not enough wood for that!

Yes there is. Here is a snip from Roy MacMullin’s great piece on this question:

Looking at a wood alternative, we would have to cut 2.8 million cords of wood to replace this volume of oil. (For all of Atlantic Canada) To compare, the existing residential usage of hardwood in New Brunswick is roughly 500,000 cords each year.

Using wood as a solution requires an additional 332 thousand cords to be harvested annually to displace the New Brunswick fuel oil requirement. (Roy lives in NB) This shouldn’t be a problem with mills shutting down. Pellets and briquettes can use softwood that is compressed to provide the same heat density of hardwood, with less moisture content.

Wood heat could very quickly meet the requirements of a conversion program. The reduction of oil purchases of 943,000 barrels would retain $137 million a year in the New Brunswick economy as opposed to sending it offshore. Over the years, this would be the equivalent of investing over a billion dollars in the local economy.

If Efficiency NB extended their offer of $2,250 to oil heat customers converting to wood, it would go a long way toward alleviating the problems of oil prices. The cost of the providing stoves would be $135 million (60,000 x $2,250), probably spent over a number of years.

The use of EPA rated stoves ensures an efficiency of 70% and emissions that are less than 10% of previous generation stoves. In urban areas, the use of pellet or briquettes may have to be mandatory with round wood as a rural option.

We are at the beginning of an emergency, perhaps a low intensity war. This change from low cost energy to high cost energy will sap our resources, leave us poor and eventually cold. If we fail to adapt to the heating oil challenge as well as the other aspects of peak oil, we lose.

This is surely the easiest political choice before us? There is no downside.

Heating with Wood – A Great Resource – Wood Stove Accessories

I have been heating with wood for several years now. Each year I learn more. For heating with wood is like baking. There is a recipe but in the end it is an art form with many variables – the wood itself, your stove, your chimney, the weather, the time of day, whether you need fast or slow heat etc.

As more of us heat with wood – wouldn’t be good to have a “cook book” that was designed for the yous and the mes?

Well one of our commentators is such a resource: The Wood Stove Accessories

It is a very complete site with a POV aimed at the newbie.

Could we heat sustainably with Wood in Atlantic Canada?

Some of you have asked whether we could rely on a regional wood strategy to heat Atlantic Canada.

Roy MacMullin is one of the people I follow – He brings deep understanding and knowledge to the practical aspects of what confronts us on the energy front.

In this important article he makes the case that with the decline of logging and paper, that Atlantic Canada has the wood supply to support all the regions heating needs. Even better he shows how, by keeping the money in the region and by creating a major business in this field builds our wealth as we contain all the money inside our own realm:

80% of homes in PEI, 25% in New Brunswick and roughly 65% of Nova Scotia use oil as the heat source. Approximately 1.3 billion liters of fuel oil are burned each year in Atlantic Canada. At last years price of 91 cents, that was $1.2 billion. At present day prices of $1.43 / liter, the new bill is $1.86 billion, a difference of $660 million. Next year, who knows? If families locked in a good price last fall, the sticker shock will only hit them later this year

To put our oil refugee’s plight into perspective, 1.3 billion liters of fuel oil is equivalent to 11.5 billion kWh’s or 11 times the annual usage of Saint John Energy. It is 61% of the output of NB Power’s system. The peak that it would create on the Atlantic grid would be 2500 MW or more, which is equivalent to four new Lepreau 1 units or 2.5 units of the new AECL 1000.

Looking at a wood alternative, we would have to cut 2.8 million cords of wood to replace this volume of oil. To compare, the existing residential usage of hardwood in New Brunswick is roughly 500,000 cords each year.

Using wood as a solution requires an additional 332 thousand cords to be harvested annually to displace the New Brunswick fuel oil requirement. This shouldn’t be a problem with mills shutting down. Pellets and briquettes can use softwood that is compressed to provide the same heat density of hardwood, with less moisture content.

Wood heat could very quickly meet the requirements of a conversion program. The reduction of oil purchases of 943,000 barrels would retain $137 million a year in the New Brunswick economy as opposed to sending it offshore. Over the years, this would be the equivalent of investing over a billion dollars in the local economy. If Efficiency NB extended their offer of $2,250 to oil heat customers converting to wood, it would go a long way toward alleviating the problems of oil prices. The cost of the providing stoves would be $135 million (60,000 x $2,250), probably spent over a number of years.

The use of EPA rated stoves ensures an efficiency of 70% and emissions that are less than 10% of previous generation stoves. In urban areas, the use of pellet or briquettes may have to be mandatory with round wood as a rural option.

We are at the beginning of an emergency, perhaps a low intensity war. This change from low cost energy to high cost energy will sap our resources, leave us poor and eventually cold. If we fail to adapt to the heating oil challenge as well as the other aspects of peak oil, we lose. Do you see the leadership that we need to ensure that we don’t freeze in the dark?

As we struggle to find our way in a world we cannot control – this is more than a ray of hope.

The best guide to heating with Wood

I called my cousin Johnny who is one of the top chimney men on PEI and asked him if he knew of a really good place on the web where we could go to find information about heating with wood.

He said that THE site is called Woodheat.org

I have put the link on the blogroll along with other good resources

Wood Stoves – Look for High Efficiency Stoves

The picture above is our neat little High Efficiency Wood Stove that heats the entire house. I pack it at night and always have a decent set of embers in the morning. Being high efficiency is burns less wood and burns it so well that there is very litle ash and very little risk of chimney problems.

One of my biggest mistakes was installing a conventional wood boiler that just could not cope with the load of our house and the granny flat. Being a simple box plus a water jacket, the high load meant that not only was the water never hot enough but nor was the fire and we had a lot of chimney issues. Plus I had to get up for the 4am “feed”.

My cousin has the same wood furnace – but his house is well below 2,000 square feet and it works just fine for him – except it does use a lot more wood. So I am not saying that Wood Furnaces are no good. I am saying that you need to do your homework better than I did to ensure you get a good match between demand and capacity. Also with a less efficient unit – a more secure and more local supply of wood would help too.

Here are the details of my new stove. Such stoves are now widely available and there are many makers. The greater challenge is in installing them well and in the wood supply and management. More on both later.