Pros and Cons


Pros and Cons of a Wood/Pellet Heating Systems in the Adirondacks


EPA certified wood & pellet stoves emit less pollution than a traditional fireplace, coal, and oil. For instance, catalytic wood stoves burn much cleaner than non-EPA approved styles, emitting no more than 4.1 grams of particulate per hour. Wood/pellet heating systems releases         hazardous gas like nitrogen oxide,         carbon monoxide, and particulate matter,         which have similar greenhouse gas         effects as carbon dioxide in the         atmosphere.
Woodfuel can be produced on a large scale, commercial-grade system (ie The Wild Center) for heat. These are even more efficient than small-scale wood stoves. Larger-scale wood systems require a sizable investment that doesn’t have an immediate pay off. Savings are usually seen only after a couple of years.
Wood and pellets can be grown and purchased locally, supporting local economies. Logging restrictions on private lands in the Adirondacks makes it difficult to establish reliable woodfuel supplies.
Woodfuel, such as pellets, logs, wood scarps, and wood chips, is a renewable energy source. Storage of woodfuel is difficult because it requires a lot of space for the steady supply of wood this type of heating system requires.
The establishment of sustainable woodfuel farms can actually enhance biodiversity and soil fertility through reforestation and smart forest management. All types of logging, even for woodfuel, are currently restricted on the Forest Preserve in order to protect the “forever wild” clause of the state constitution.
In the Adirondacks, cleaning up forest scraps and waste to make wood pellets can improve the health of the forests and reestablish wilderness zones. Waste ash, the by-product of wood fuel, poses environmental threats because residual containments, such as paint, resins, preservatives, remain after combustion.
Biomass is carbon neutral; A tree absorbs as much carbon dioxide during its lifetime as when it is burnt. The same amount of carbon is released into the atmosphere when sustainably managed wood is burned as when it decays naturally in the forest. Even when harvested sustainably, woodfuel is not always carbon neutral if combustion is incomplete. This releases harmful gases such as nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, and methane.


BODY TEXT SOURCE: Atkins, Richard S., and Christine T. Donovan. "Wood Products in the Waste Stream: Characterization and Combustion Emissions." Control Technology Center 1 (1996): Ii. Print.

"Benefits of Woodfuel." Wood Fuel: Wood- Natural Fuel Resource. Wood Fuel Resource, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.

Forestry Department. "What Woodfuels Can Do to Mitigate Climate Change ." FAO Forestry Paper 162 (2010): 47-51. FAO Document Repository. Web. 03 Dec. 2014.