Home Heating With Low or No Carbon Emissions
For our woodburner we chose the Encore stove by Vermont Castings. It can heat up to 2300 square feet, and it provides cozy warmth for most of our living space on the second level of our home. Once we installed insulation in our attic, our stove could heat the living space markedly faster, and we retained the heat much longer into the morning. Our half-buried lower level is not heated by this unit, and stays pretty cool, but the lower level has never gotten below 48 F even on the coldest nights.
Wood fuel itself can be carbon-free because trees absorb carbon as they grow, and then re-release it after they die and decompose. Since the carbon would be re-emitted anyway if the trees were left to decompose, by burning it, we add no net carbon to the atmosphere. Carbon emissions associated with burning wood fuel primarily come from petroleum used for transport and cutting of the wood. If trees are not sustainably harvested the carbon footprint can be much more, because you are removing carbon sinks (living trees) from the environment. Our Vermont Castings Encore stove has been certified as low emissions by EPA.
Though burning sustainably harvested or downed wood creates minimal carbon emissions, it can create localized air quality problems, especially with wood stoves built before 1988. Sitting around the stove is great fun. We don't have a television, so the wood stove is the centerpiece of our living area. We can spend hours around the wood stove, watching the fire through the glass doors as we read or do work.