I wanted to reprint the following post by Susan Aiello on her green interior design solutions blog, http://www.idsgreen.com. She discusses why traditional wood-burning fireplaces are not necessarily green and why. Something that I had personally been wondering about for some time.
“Even an Expert Can be Wrong (H) An article in The New York Times on February 6, 2009 called “Staying Warm, Staying Green” contained a number of helpful hints, but it also contained a misstatement. Conventional wood-burning fireplaces are not “a green heating system, for the following reasons:
1. Trees are not a rapidly renewable resource.
2. While fireplaces have been used as a source of heat for centuries, using one in a modern, air-tight home can result in poor indoor air quality.
3. Most fireplaces actually drain heat from a home, both while they are burning and when they are not being used.
4. Burning wood does generate CO2 I personally love fireplaces, and delight in a crackling fire on a cold winter day. But their value lies in their beauty and their emotional impact. They are not a sustainable source of heat. The article also suggested using a geothermal system for heating and cooling. Geothermal systems can save a lot of energy, but won’t work properly unless the ground is suitable. So you should get expert advice and a soil test before deciding to use this technology.”
Susan Aiello, ASID, is a LEED Accredited Professional and New York State Certified Interior Designer who is committed to green design. Interior Design Solutions, her New York City based design firm, is a member of the United States Green Building Council.