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TUESDAY, JANUARY 04, 2011
That fireplace you plan on lighting up for the holidays may cost you a fine rather than bringing you coziness. Yes, the fireplace is a tradition and brings up nostalgia. But along with those old memories it also brings up an old way of polluting. Burning wood causes smog, insufficient heat and wastes wood. Burning wood, is just as guilty for causing global warming as any other fuel. Governments are starting to understand that we need to start preventing chimney fires to bring down smog. So strong is the call for such action that some cities have banned wood burning. San Francisco, that American beacon of progressive thought, is driving that point home by charging a $2000 fine on anyone who burns wood on certain days of the winter. In the Bay Area wood burning is the cause of about one-third of the particulate pollution during winter nights 1. The aim of the ban is to reduce the number of particulates created by smoke.

If you still just want that wood fire look, then just use this youtube video for a Merry Christmas on your monitor:

Along with chemical releases, the pollutants can effect both people inside the house or outside, such as neighbours. The government of Ontario warns its citizens, "Of particular concern is the release of fine particles, which can cause burning eyes, runny nose, and bronchitis. They can aggravate heart or respiratory problems, including asthma. All ages are affected, but the greatest risk is to the health of children, the elderly and people with chronic conditions." 2 Furthermore, if trees are cut down for the sole purpose of wood, they add to the overall effect of global warming.
Comments

Wallaceofspades

Wallaceofspades

Good thing I don't have a fireplace, am not going to get a fire place, and wouldn't use one if I did have one. :D

Sorrel

Sorrel

I'm a sucker for a cozy fireplace at xmas. I watched the shaw channel religiously last year noting the very moment the president guy's hand reappeared and marked the end of the loop. I have a fake fireplace now... whatever will I do to take the place of that weird obsession?

tophert

tophert

Burning wood is more environmentally friendly when you consider that any carbon-dioxide and other gasses that it releases is equal to the amount of greenhouse gasses that were absorbed by the tree when it was growing (as opposed to sources that are locked away in oil, coal and gas reserves.) Especially if it is recovered from naturally felled sources, burning firewood is one of the best (environmentally speaking) ways of heating your house. The main reason to make it illegal is to protect utility companies, not your health or the environment.
REPLIES: Lilian

Lilian

LILIAN

Replying to tophert:
The amount of soot and CO2 released from a tree is not equal to its intake, partly because of the lag time for a new tree to grow to replace the one being burnt. It can be burned effectively if the chimney is made hot enough, but many people don't do this. So wood is only renewable fuel if it comes from well-managed woodlands and forests, where more trees are grown each year than are harvested. But also wood requires more transportation, which adds to CO2, than a pipeline unless your cutting local trees but not everyone lives beside managed forests.
On top of that it can help your utility company if you burn wood because it's actually moving the warm air from around your house out of the chimney. So while your fire itself may warm you, it's requiring more oxygen and takes the warm air around your house, making the area around your walls colder. This obviously means your entire house will require more gas to heat up.

Jackson

Jackson

I lit a fire only when my power went out this season. Barring our fireplace shut and turning in the "Shaw Cable Log" is a proud family tradition! Isn't that way everywhere?



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