These days it is getting harder and harder to ignore the effects of global climate change. Hurricane Sandy decimated the Northeast, with even the seemingly impenetrable New York City finding itself deep underwater. Many people do not even realize that many parts of Manhattan are still not fully rebuilt. The summer also saw record heat waves, killing corn crops all over the country and causing massive power outages all over the world. Even politicians that formerly denied the existence of global climate change are starting to admit that it is time for us to make some changes to our ways of living to combat the effects. Businesses with eco-friendly premises are popping up left and right and many are doing exceedingly well. Everyone is getting in on the eco-friendly action!
What are you doing to change your habits and lifestyle to be more environmentally conscious? Some people have started planting their own gardens, trying to eat locally and avoid contributing to the fossil fuel powered supply chains that get our food to the supermarkets. Other people have traded in their gas-guzzlers for hybrid vehicles, or even for bicycles. Still more people are cleaning their homes with only green, environmentally friendly products, choosing to keep toxins and chemicals out of their homes and the environment. There are seemingly countless ways to make your lifestyle and home more environmentally conscious.
If you are doing or are planning to do any major or even minor renovations on your home, you should consider doing it in an environmentally conscious way. Even though this sometimes costs a little extra upfront, you should think of it as an investment. If you are looking for a new stove or fireplace, make it an eco-friendly one!
The first question is whether you are looking for a fireplace that is decorative or meant to heat your home. Most people haven’t used fireplaces as primary means to hear their home for over a hundred years. So, it does not make a lot of sense as a heating device, even though it still serves decorative purposes. Here are some other options for fireplaces.
Option #1 – Bio-ethanol fireplaces: Because these use ethyl alcohol for biofuel, this is a good eco-friendly option. It is made from agricultural products, not fossil fuels. However these are simply decorative, and shouldn’t be relied upon for serious heat.
Option #2 – Gas logs: These gas logs can be used in existing fireplaces, and even though they use natural gas, they are more environmentally friendly than many other options. Gas logs can be vented but do not need to be. You won’t get a roaring fire, but you will get a lovely flame. Because they can be used in the fireplace you already have, these are a great option for people who do not want to spend the time and money installing a new fireplace.
Option #3 – Pellet stoves: Using pellets that look like rabbit food, the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy says that they are usually made from woodchips, bark, agricultural waste, and compressed sawdust. They produce very little air pollution and a single load can burn for as long as twenty-four hours.
Option #4 – Gas stoves: These stoves burn either natural gas or LP, but unlike gas logs, these are self-contained units. So, if you want to go this route, you will need to hire a professional to install a new unit. They emit very little pollution and require low amounts of maintenance. They can be installed in almost any place in your home and vented through a chimney or the wall behind the stove.
Option #5 – Wood-burning stoves and inserts: Firewood is usually grown local to your home in large quantities, and then sold at a low price. It mostly comes from the harvest of dead trees. It is an environmentally friendly option because burning firewood does not release more carbon into the environment than if the dead tree just decomposed on its own. You can use a wood stove to heat your entire home, as long as it is well built and your house is properly insulated. The big problem with wood-burning stoves: they create a lot of ash, and you have to empty the ashes more frequently.
Contributor Info: Richard Dobbins is a writer for Northshore Fireplace. Richard enjoys writing about eco friendly fireplaces and other eco friendly home living products.