Wood is the oldest known fuel and was the only source for heating for thousands of years. It was largely replaced by fossil fuels during the Industrial Revolution and it was not until the 1970’s oil crisis when wood fuel briefly restored its popularity. However, the rise of oil, coal and gas prices in the recent years as well as the global warming problem which is closely related to fossil fuel burning have made wood once again a highly attractive source for heating.
Fossil fuels are not renewable sources of energy which means that we will eventually run out of both oil and gas as well as coal. Even more, some scientists estimate that we are dangerously approaching or according to some already reached the peak oil, the point when the global petroleum extraction will start to decline which means that oil prices most likely will not get any lower. Due to the fact that heating represents most of the energy used in buildings, a switch to more cost efficient source for heating significantly reduces the heating costs. There are several types of alternative sources for heating including solar power but the technology is very expensive which leaves wood fuel as the cheapest source of renewable energy. But perhaps even more import is the fact that wood fuel is environmentally friendly and does not contribute to carbon dioxide emissions.
Wood burning releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere just like fossil fuels but it is considered to be carbon neutral. When a tree grows, it absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releases pure oxygen through photosynthesis which is why carbon dioxide that is released into the air when that very same tree is burned equals zero in regard to the greenhouse effect. This process is known as carbon cycle because the carbon dioxide that released into the air by combustion is then absorbed by other plants. In addition, the amount of carbon dioxide produced by wood burning is not any larger than carbon dioxide that would be released during decomposition of that tree if it would not be burned. For that reason, wood fuel is considered environmentally friendly source for heating unlike fossil fuels where there is no carbon cycle which is why they increase the greenhouse effect.
You will reduce both your expenses for heating and release of carbon dioxide by using wood fuel instead of fossil fuels and even electricity. The latter is often claimed to be the cleanest source of energy but this is far from truth because over 50% of world’s electrical power is generated by burning fossil fuels. How much money you will save by switching to wood fuel depends on several factors including your home’s insulation and energy efficiency of the chosen wood burning stove as well as the type of wood fuel.
Source: Wood Fuel Resource