Home  5  Books  5  GBEzine  5  News  5  HelpDesk  5  Register  5  GreenBuilding.co.uk
Not signed in (Sign In)

Categories



Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

PLEASE NOTE: A download link for Volume 1 will be sent to you by email and Volume 2 will be sent to you by post as a book.

Buy individually or both books together. Delivery is free!


powered by Surfing Waves




Vanilla 1.0.3 is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

Welcome to new Forum Visitors
Join the forum now and benefit from discussions with thousands of other green building fans and discounts on Green Building Press publications: Apply now.




    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJan 1st 2021
     
    Avoid using wood burning stoves if possible, warn health experts:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/01/avoid-using-wood-burning-stoves-if-possible-warn-health-experts

    “Campaigners and health experts are calling on people who have alternative heating not to use their wood burning stoves this winter amid growing concern about their impact on public health.

    […]

    Now experts at the Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Partnership are asking people with wood burners only to use them if they have no alternative source of heat.

    “We know that burning wood and coal releases fine particulate matter (PM2.5) – the most worrying form of air pollution for human health,” said Sarah MacFadyen, head of policy at the charity. “It’s therefore important to consider less polluting fuel options to heat your home or cook with, especially if coal or wood is not your primary fuel source.” ”
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJan 1st 2021
     
    I have been saying this for 25 years, taken a lot of flack over it too.
  1.  
    Unfortunately much of their environment journalism is reduced to rehashing press releases from pressure groups (although very worthwhile pressure groups in this case).

    They could have examined the pros/cons of the upcoming EU 'ecodesign’ smoke reduction standard, supposedly intended to improve on the existing DEFRA smokeless certificates by 80%; or the upcoming ban on under-seasoned firewood and bagged coal; or compared SE England with other parts of UK in terms of smoke and traffic emissions. They could have discussed that a properly insulated house doesn't need a multi-kW room heating stove. They could have discussed that air pollution in the UK is now a small fraction of what it was a few decades ago, a huge success. They could have looked at whether the electric vehicle target will reduce pm2.5 or not. But that would have made their story too complicated!

    Here's a better one: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46823440
    • CommentAuthorbhommels
    • CommentTimeJan 1st 2021
     
    In our small village, many people have woodburners or fireplaces, meaning I have to turn off my MVHR to avoid it sucking in air that makes the whole place smell like a campfire.
    Even with these new standards I expect wood burning to rise to the top spot of domestic pollution generators pretty soon.
  2.  
    I was interested by this picture in the government clean air strategy. Wood burning is definitely a problem in the London area, which is well over the WHO target of 10ug/m3. (Don't understand why people burn wood in cities). Other parts of the country are more affected by wind-blown sea salt, such as where we are.

    (Edit for clarity: I strongly disapprove of people causing pollution from wood burners, cars, or anything else, but I think the public need to know it's more complicated than blaming just one source for air pollution and so not acting on others)
      Screenshot_20210101-235440.png
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2021
     
    Where are distant upwind vapours coming from, clearly they are massively increased in country
  3.  
    Haven't checked their references but I guess sources like deserts, forest fires, crop spraying and industry in central Europe, volcanoes, that kind of stuff.

    That graph is a cross section across the UK from Inverness-shire on the left to Kent on the right. SE England has more influence of continental weather and poor air quality, the rest of UK gets more weather off the Atlantic.

    Edit: also it's a year round average so won't show up acute problems at certain times of the year like woodsmoke or summer smog.
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2021
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenThey could have examined the pros/cons of the upcoming EU 'ecodesign’ smoke reduction standard, supposedly intended to improve on the existing DEFRA smokeless certificates by 80%; or the upcoming ban on under-seasoned firewood and bagged coal; or compared SE England with other parts of UK in terms of smoke and traffic emissions. They could have discussed that a properly insulated house doesn't need a multi-kW room heating stove. They could have discussed that air pollution in the UK is now a small fraction of what it was a few decades ago, a huge success. They could have looked at whether the electric vehicle target will reduce pm2.5 or not. But that would have made their story too complicated!


    Indeed! While this release has its 'heart in the right place' i.m.o. there's a distinct lack of big picture consideration here.

    How does well seasoned local wood compare to an old oil boiler? What happens when you look beyond direct particulates at the oil extraction (potentially from tarsands), building pipelines/infrastructure (though wilderness), shipping (than rinses it's pollution into the sea) and climate change...

    Coal is also relegated to the further down and there's no real differentiation between open-fires and stoves. There's a world of difference between an open coal fire (which is still depressingly common) and a modern wood burner with seasoned wood.

    There seems to be the potential here for single issue campaigners to prioritise the local health (of the relatively affluent from a global perspective) over world wide health.

    That said I'd agree that those in cities should be doing all they can to avoid burning wood and add in coal, diesel & petrol too.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2021
     
    Posted By: tonyI have been saying this for 25 years, taken a lot of flack over it too.
    Yep, but we still get loads of discussion of using wood burners here where, IMHO, it should be considered off topic. I'd agree with WiA that this isn't a great article, it just caught my eye straight after reading a couple of stove threads.

    Posted By: tonyWhere are distant upwind vapours coming from, clearly they are massively increased in country
    From the end of the BBC article WiA cites:

    But one irony: much of the UK's pollution originates in mainland Europe, so we really need neighbouring countries to join the effort.
    Of course prevailing winds are in the opposite direction.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2021 edited
     
    Posted By: tonyWhere are distant upwind vapours coming from, clearly they are massively increased in country

    Good question. Water vapour? What vapours are there that are not organic and also aren't dusts or aerosols etc?
    edit: CO2?

    What's the big gap in the graph at Edinburgh?
  4.  
    Ammonia? NOx?

    It's the Firth of Forth.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJan 2nd 2021
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenIt's the Firth of Forth.

    Ah, thanks. I had somehow got the idea that graphs were some kind of average perpendicular to the line of transection, but now I see they're just point measurements. I would expect sea salt to be at least as high over the Firth of Forth as it is over the land adjacent?

    I haven't found any Imperial source document to back up these graphs. Not giving references should be a crime.
  5.  
    The Guardian testers must have selected stoves and fireplaces with very poor chimneys.
    We don't get a rush of gases into the room when we open the Rayburn door to put more wood on - quite the opposite. The chimney draught sucks in more air.
    Likewise anyone who has ever used the newspaper against a shovel trick to get an open fire to go will be aware there is an enormous suction up the chimney. How are the particles supposed to get out into the room?

    Or were they testing a flueless woodburner in an open-plan iron age hut with just a hole in the roof to let the smoke out?
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2021
     
    Posted By: Cliff PopeThe Guardian testers must have selected stoves and fireplaces with very poor chimneys.
    We don't get a rush of gases into the room when we open the Rayburn door to put more wood on - quite the opposite. The chimney draught sucks in more air.


    Were the same- open the door or either air control and the fire takes off up the flue like a jet on afterburners. I cant for the life of me see how anything gets out of the fire when its burning. Maybe the problem is with dust from the ash tray??
    • CommentAuthorRobL
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2021
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: bhommels</cite>g I have to turn off my MVHR</blockquote>

    Particulate sensors are pretty cheap now - eg this one seems very capable. Is it worth automating turning mvhr down when the inlet particulates are high ?

    https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/pms5003-particulate-matter-sensor-with-cable?variant=29075640352851¤cy=GBP&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=google+shopping?utm_source=google&utm_medium=surfaces&utm_campaign=shopping&gclid=Cj0KCQiA88X_BRDUARIsACVMYD9CYwTQjfc5yd1r7KKtEQbrFe_pPDGiwMbccDUTr3RPl2pgsF5HIBIaArbkEALw_wcB
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2021
     
    Posted By: Cliff PopeThe Guardian testers must have selected stoves and fireplaces with very poor chimneys.


    Presume you mean this article:
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/18/wood-burners-triple-harmful-indoor-air-pollution-study-finds

    If so the tripling is quite believable. We sometimes smell wood smoke when refilling a stove (even with a good draw due to turbulence etc.) and that's before you get into starting it and dust burning off on the outside etc.

    The things to look deeper at would be the variability of the data (e.g. could it be down to a couple of poor performing stoves?), where the baseline came from and how 'tripling' compares to other sources in indoor air pollution, cooking on gas, frying food, burning a candle...
    • CommentAuthorbhommels
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2021 edited
     
    Posted By: RobL
    Particulate sensors are pretty cheap now - eg this one seems very capable. Is it worth automating turning mvhr down when the inlet particulates are high ?

    I was thinking along the same lines, and it would be worth buying one and measuring a few things - you never have too much data!
    It is probably the gases that cause some of the "camp fire experience" however, and filters do not help there. Our MVHR has G4 and F7 inlet filters so these should block >70% of PM 2.5.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2021
     
    If you can smell it then you have particulates too and the smaller they are the more dangerous.
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeJan 3rd 2021
     
    Posted By: tonyIf you can smell it then you have particulates too and the smaller they are the more dangerous.


    that was my point - i.e. that if you can smell smoke stuff has escaped into the room.
  6.  
    Slightly OT sorry, but I found the reduction in pm2.5 emissions in the UK is really impressive and encouraging:

    1970: 500 kt/a
    2018: 100 kt/a
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/864778/trends_in_air_emissions_2018.csv/preview

    The air is now much cleaner than it used to be, so it's surprising that the press coverage about air quality is mostly pretty negative.

    More generally, we tend to hear news reports mostly about environmental doom, and the cost and difficulty of cleaning up, but the tremendous success in cleaning up our air emissions should give people encouragement that we can actually improve on other emissions too. The decarbonisation of electricity is another encouragement.
    • CommentAuthorLF
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2021 edited
     
    Will,

    Is it not smaller particles than PM 2.5 that is the worry. A lot of gaps in knowledge when I last looked into this area. It stopped me looking at gas for cooking long term in the house though.

    The government historic data deals with larger particles (PM 2.5 and higher)

    Will the removal of these bigger particles (PM 2.5 and above) not mean there are more of these smaller ones. (Less larger particles to interact with and "knock out" the very fine particles. ) ?
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2021
     
    What would be interesting Will, would be an international comparison.
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeJan 4th 2021
     
    I wonder if any data been collected on pollution around airports generally, I know Heathrow has been subject to concerns w.r.t the 3rd runway. My wife worked as a Pharmacist in the Manchester area for 35 years and in that time worked in a considerable number of pharmacies around Ringway airport. She would often mention that the pharmacies under the flight path would dispense proportionally a higher number of prescription medications for asthma compared to the surrounding area not directly under the flight path. We lived about 10 mins drive from the terminal and not at all near to the flight path but would very occasionally if the wind was in the right direction smell aviation fuel.
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTime1 day ago
     
    It seems every so often there will be some article or other about the dangers of wood burning stoves that pops up in the press. Yes, there are problems with burning wood but if the wood is dry (below 20%) and the stove properly installed then maintained the negatives are very much reduced.

    The main problem that should be addressed but isn't is not the heat source but rather the need for one. If houses were properly built and maintained then the need for extra heating would be minimal. Of course this would mean proper control of the standard of construction which is not going to happen.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime1 day ago
     
    Posted By: jms452We sometimes smell wood smoke when refilling a stove (even with a good draw due to turbulence etc.)
    Lately been lazily lighting using cheap fire lighters. Curious that, ten mins after lighting but not before, when all is blazing and drawing merrily, the stink of paraffin wax in the room.
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTime1 day ago
     
    May not apply to all stoves but with ours theres definitely a right a wrong way to open the doors. Our stove has 2 doors with the outer door closing over the inner door so the inner door is held shut by the outer one. Open the outer door and nothing comes out of the stove so theres no smell when refuelling through just the one door. If we open the second door there is always a puff of smoke as the door is opened. Once its opened the draw up the flue resumes and nothing more spills out, that we can detect!
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTime1 day ago
     
    My 2 stoves have ducted air from outside so no draw air from the room. When loading logs after lighting I need to crack open the door first so stove equilibrates the "pressure" to the room otherwise there is a danger of smoke leakage and tiny glowing embers. It only takes a second or 2. It also happens to be what is recommended in the instructions. I believe best efficient combustion takes place at around 15 to 16 % moisture content. Air drying will take moisture down to 15% but one needs to allow 1 year per inch of thickness in a ventilated covered area to achieve this. Moisture meters are cheap enough so no excuse for burning damp wood.
    • CommentAuthorbhommels
    • CommentTime1 day ago
     
    Posted By: JontiIt seems every so often there will be some article or other about the dangers of wood burning stoves that pops up in the press. Yes, there are problems with burning wood but if the wood is dry (below 20%) and the stove properly installed then maintained the negatives are very much reduced.

    Even with the negatives very much reduced, domestic biomass stoves are major polluters as documented here:
    https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/library/reports?report_id=935
  7.  
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: Jonti</cite> but if the wood is dry (below 20%) and the stove properly installed then maintained the negatives are very much reduced.
    </blockquote>

    Personally I think there is an issue allowing installation of things that have such a potential for misuse. I'm in London. A neighbour used to collect scrap wood (pallets and the like) from the streets to burn in winter. I've seen people gathering fallen wood on Clapham Common. We sometimes smell woodsmoke thorough our MVHR (not often because the inlets are at ground floor roof level so well below chimneys) but I've also noticed tar like deposits on or wall cappings when cleaning the roof terrace after winter.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTime1 day ago
     
    Posted By: JontiIt seems every so often there will be some article or other about the dangers of wood burning stoves that pops up in the press. Yes, there are problems with burning wood but if the wood is dry (below 20%) and the stove properly installed then maintained the negatives are very much reduced.

    That's true but the difficulty is that only using dry unpainted untreated wood relies on all the users choosing to be responsible, and that never happens. Indeed getting all wood stoves propely installed and then maintained has exactly the same difficulty. Some people are good and try to look after the planet; others aren't and don't. Legislation can help sometimes but not everywhere, short of an outright ban.

    The main problem that should be addressed but isn't is not the heat source but rather the need for one. If houses were properly built and maintained then the need for extra heating would be minimal. Of course this would mean proper control of the standard of construction which is not going to happen.

    Agreed 100%, sadly.
   
The Ecobuilding Buzz
Site Map    |   Home    |   View Cart    |   Pressroom   |   Business   |   Links   
Logout    

© Green Building Press