Price vs principles – again
I don’t mind admitting, Mr Green and I are feeling a bit depressed at the moment. We made the decision 8 years ago to install a wood burner. We did a lot of research and figured this would be the most eco friendly way of heating our home.
As we live in an forest area we believed we would be able to get as much wood as we needed for next to nothing.
Wood around here is like gold dust. I think many people have thought the same as us; living in a forest provides plenty of wood. Also, with increased awareness of rising oil prices more and more people are switching to a more sustainable way of generating heat in their homes. Ironically, it’s illegal to go into the forest and take wood – you can apply for a brushwood permit, but you can only take wood as thick as your wrist. Anyone with a 12kw wood burner will know how ridiculous this is.
Last week we ordered a load of wood. It was beautiful wood – seasoned beech and it burned like a dream – it hardly produced any ash, produced lots of heat and stayed in overnight. The load costs us £65 and it lasted a week!
£65 to heat our home for ONE WEEK! We sat and did the maths and figured out it would cost us less to use electricity.
That’s so wrong isn’t it? I don’t mind backing up my principles with money, but we cannot afford to heat our home at that price on a long term basis.
So this week, we’re doing an experiment and I hate every moment of it. We’re putting an electric heater in our living area and ten minutes before we go to bed we’ll switch a heater on in our bedrooms for a while to take the chill off the room. I have no doubt that this will cost us less than burning wood, but the cost on the environment and our health – what will that be?
Over the past few months we’ve been drastically reducing our reliance on electricity. In fact I think we have halved it since last September. We were feeling really proud of this and believing we were making such a difference. Now I feel as though a hope has been dashed. Sometimes we strike lucky and we get free wood, but nowhere near enough to run the woodburner for an entire season.
According to the biomassenergycentre the CO2 emissions from materials such as wood are significantly less that other fossil fuels. Correctly managed, biomass is a sustainable fuel that can deliver a significant reduction in net carbon emissions. Figures of <0.00612kg CO2/kWh are typically quoted, well below gas, electricity, oil and coal.
But now we find ourselves in a situation where we have to compromise because of cost.
This post is part of Small Footprint’s “Change the World Wednesday” challenge. For the past month we’ve been looking at reducing our energy use. Until this week we’d been doing brilliantly; but that lookss set to change. Apart from buying a piece of land we can coppice I’m not sure what the answer is right now. What do you think? Have you found yourself unable to put environmentally friendly changes in place because of prohibitive costs? Have you found ways to cut your electricity consumption?
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