Choosing a Fireplace for an Environmentally Friendly Home
A fireplace brings an undeniable charm and warmth to a property, and is often the focal point of the living room, the dining room and even sometimes the bedroom!
It’s all about the fuel
For a fireplace to be in harmony with the planet, its fuel must be renewable. Natural gas or propane fireplaces are convenient, as they require no chimney sweeping and they shut off as soon as the gas supply is cut off. However, natural gas and propane are non-renewable energy sources that emit greenhouse gases.
Eco-friendly biofuel fireplaces first appeared in Europe about ten years ago. About twenty models have been available in Canada for about five years now. These fireplaces do not require a chimney, as they run on ethanol. They do not emit black smoke or any residue, as the combustion of ethanol turns into water vapour. They are even powerful enough to be used as a backup heater. They are safe and do not have an impact on insurance premiums. However, you must ensure that the clearance area is compliant as they emit heat.
Energy efficiency also has a role to play
While fuel is usually a key consideration when choosing an eco-friendly fireplace, the energy efficiency rating should not be overlooked. The higher the rating of the fireplace, the more efficient it is, another environmental argument that carries a lot of weight.
An electric fireplace is the type of appliance that meets both criteria. It is ecological and economical. It is easy to use and it creates a warm atmosphere while emitting very little heat. It is also a good compromise when the installation of a gas or wood fireplace is prohibited.
The great champion in terms of energy efficiency is without a doubt the pellet fireplace. Easy to use, this type of fireplace uses pellets made from compressed dry wood residue. Its built-in thermostat controls the heat. The pellet fireplace is less polluting than a traditional wood fireplace, and burns pellets consistently for more than 24 hours. Its ventilation system runs on electricity.
More and more environmentally friendly wood-burning fireplaces are appearing on the market. By reducing particulate emissions produced by a very high combustion temperature, these wood-burning fireplaces have succeeded in obtaining the EPA clean-burning rating. A beautiful high and vigorous flame is visible, in addition to offering greater energy efficiency than a traditional wood fireplace.
When it comes to environmentally friendly fireplaces, technologies are evolving rapidly. It’s best to speak to an expert and obtain proper advice before making your purchase.