Using woodfuel - a clean, low carbon renewable energy source - offers many benefits:
Woodfuel can deliver significant cost savings because of lower fuel costs: woodfuel can be cheaper than fossil fuels when replacing electric, LPG, coal or heating oil. It can help to combat fuel poverty and increase business robustness by providing an alternative, competitively priced fuel.
Saving Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Woodfuel is carbon lean. Burning wood releases carbon dioxide but this is balanced by the carbon dioxide absorbed by the original trees and in the growth of new ones. The biggest savings of carbon dioxide occur when wood replaces carbon-intensive, fossil fuels, especially in areas that are off the gas grid.
The development of a robust woodfuel supply chain requires a skilled work force. Rapid uptake of renewable heating will contribute towards creating green jobs and the active management of woodlands presents significant opportunities for farm and rural diversification.
Encouraging Birds, Bees and Butterflies
Bringing woodlands back into management, as the market for wood heat expands, has a positive impact on wildlife. Opening up space allows sunlight in, which enables a wider range of plants, insects and animals to live in the woodland.
To encourage people to switch to green energy, government grants may be available for householders, businesses and communities. Woodfuel boilers are more expensive to buy, but the cost of running one is comparable to, or cheaper than, an oil boiler and the payback on capital can be less than five years.
Using woodfuel from well-managed woodlands provides market pull for forest products and gives land owners an incentive to manage their wood. Managing woods will also produce high quality products such as saw logs that could replace carbon intensive building materials.
Low risk / Security of supply
Woodfuel users can protect themselves from declining fossil fuel reserves and geopolitical instabilities. They are also shielded, in part, from the fluctuations of the international oil and gas markets.
Wood that could otherwise end up as waste (e.g. in landfill) can also be utilised as a resource. For example wood from tree surgery work can be used to fuel school boilers.
Improving air quality
Modern, wood-burning boilers and stoves can compete on ease of use, cleanliness, efficiency, and convenience with fossil-fuelled alternatives. This can potentially lead to an improvement in air quality if replacing coal or oil boilers. Early consultation with your local authority is recommended to determine if the building is in an air quality management area.
Air quality guidance for local authorities and developers.
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