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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
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  1.  
    As we discussed up the thread, there's a localised problem in Southern England, the rest of us have more problems with sea salt than with woodsmoke. Even in Southern England, most air pollution is blown in on the wind from central Europe rather than generated locally. So it makes sense for Simon in London to be restricted, and Jonti in Scotland less so, as with the 1970s clean air laws. At more local scale, woodsmoke would be problematic where houses are close together but in our rural area we have more issues with ammonia from organic farming. If you choose to live in a city, or near a farm, you know what you will expect the air to be like!

    The Scottish government hasn't yet adopted any restrictions on dryness of wood fuel afaics, but the EcoDesign standard derives from adopted EU law, so it will apply here.
  2.  
    Posted By: djhLegislation can help sometimes but not everywhere, short of an outright ban.

    Existing legislation is not enforced properly (lack of resources and the will to enforce. e.g at http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/newforum/comments.php?DiscussionID=9305&page=56#Item_7 ) so IMO proper enforcement of existing regs would help a lot
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2021
     
    Interesting comments in the last few posts. There are those who seem to think that all people with wood burners will be breaking the law and others who just the simple chance that something might be misused is grounds to ban them. But to take that attitude is also the road to banning everything from cars to breathing so is difficult to take seriously.

    Peter in Hungary has hit the main issue which needs solving in that governments are great at legislating but woeful at enforcing. The single biggest way in which to reduce emissions and improve air quality is through building houses that are energy efficient.
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeJan 19th 2021 edited
     
    .
    • CommentAuthorListysDad
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2021
     
    If you read the original report, it relates specifically to 'wet' wood being burned, so the stuff being collected off the ground on Clapham Common or off garage forecourts :sad:

    As far as I recall, it 'recommends' burning wood that's seasoned to a water content of 20% or less. They even talked of creating some kind of std / mark to daub the correct stuff with (one also suspect s a price hike for such a luxury) along with marketing to ensure Joe Pubic can understand what is appropriate.
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2021
     
    Posted By: ListysDadIf you read the original report, it relates specifically to 'wet' wood being burned


    Do you have a reference for this statement?

    In paragraph 5 the guardian article says:
    '... people in the study used only dry, seasoned wood.'

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/18/wood-burners-triple-harmful-indoor-air-pollution-study-finds
    • CommentAuthorbhommels
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th 2021
     
    Following up on this is a government report on the trends in the emission of air pollutants over the last 50 years:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/emissions-of-air-pollutants/emissions-of-air-pollutants-in-the-uk-1970-to-2018-summary

    My summary of the summary for particulate matter is that
    1) man-made UK emissions make up about half of the total for PM2.5, and
    2) UK emissions across all sectors are on a downward trend except for domestic solid fuel burning which is now the largest fraction, by far for PM2.5 in particular.
  3.  
    Interesting report! Good to see that pm2.5 emissions are now less than 20% of the 1970s levels and still falling a little.

    But as we discussed further up the thread, most PM2.5s floating around in the air of most of the UK are not actually due to those primary manmade emmissions from the UK, such as woodburning, which are covered by that report.

    Mostly they are
    -natural (seasalt, desert dust, volcanoes, forest fires etc)
    - manmade outside the UK (industrial and agricultural emmissions from Europe that drift over SE England)
    - photochemical (NOx and Ammonia emmissions that react in sunlight to make PMs)

    (Edit to add: I see this is completely lost on the Guardian environment reporters)


    This report shows actual air quality measurements including all the above sources. Good news that:
    "All [43 zones in the UK] met both limit values for annual mean concentration of PM2.5 particulate
    matter: the Stage 1 limit value, which came into force on 1st January 2015, and the
    indicative Stage 2 limit value which must be met by 2020.
    https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/library/annualreport/viewonline?year=2019_issue_1#report_pdf

    Graphs show that pm2.5 levels are improving in all the urban areas that are reported, and all are safely within the WHO health limit.

    Overall I think that air quality in the UK is in a pretty good state, which is a good news story so doesn't get reported much in the press. However people tend to talk about air quality as a distraction from other environmental issues, such as global warming and habitat loss, which need a lot more effort.
      Screenshot_20210216-171225.png
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2021 edited
     
    New article - https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/16/home-wood-burning-biggest-cause-particle-pollution-fires

    "Wood burners also triple the level of harmful pollution particles inside homes and should be sold with a health warning, scientists warned in December"
    • CommentAuthorRobL
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2021
     
    I bought a cheapie pm2.5 meter, and tried it in a few places. All numbers are in ug/m^3. The unit says that it excludes small particles and large ones, just shows the pm2.5:

    Indoor 0-2
    Indoor making nicely browned toast 0-2
    Wood burner gets a firing for science 0-2 indoor (dunno outdoor though)
    Indoor making slightly blackened toast, just at the edges (not as bad as when you scrape the black off) 50
    Indoor frying pan, oil, stirring continuously, just softening onions 10
    Indoor frying eggy bread a lot, extractor fan on, 100-200
    Quiet (1 car per 20 seconds) road in Cambridge 5
    Bus/truck passing on the other side of the road 10
    Active roadworks (cutting tool, diesel digger) 15

    It seems that anything that gets burned or looks blackened or smells a bit burnt makes the numbers shoot up. Frying with enough oil reduces the little blackened bits and keeps the numbers much lower. After the eggy toast experience, it took an hour to get down to normal background levels - even though we have MVHR.
  4.  
    Seems like eggy bread should have the health warning!
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2021
     
    I do love these home-grown experiments, however approximate, to give an order-of sense of scale to tech-based issues of the day.

    Just wish we could do simple tests on air permeability of OSB, vapour permeability of EPS etc - just as it's easy to try sucking air through a material, membrane etc, using the very strong vacuum that your mouth can create, and which is easily calibrated by the height of water column it can suck up a 'drinking straw' tube.
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2021
     
    Posted By: Dominic CooneySeems like eggy bread should have the health warning!


    Need to keep this discovery under wraps, or we'll be looking at an outright ban on the retail sale of damp eggs and bread in a fews years time
  5.  
    Nice one Rob!
    For context the WHO safe health limit is a daily average of 25ug/m3 and an annual average of 10ug/m3. So you can fry eggy bread continuously for a maximum of 3-6 hours a day before you should worry about your health...! But you can burn your woodburner continuously.


    Tom, that was the Graun article I meant when I said " as we discussed further up the thread, most PM2.5s floating around in the air of most of the UK are not actually due to primary manmade emmissions from the UK, such as woodburning....I see this is completely lost on the Guardian environment reporters”

    However their real agenda may have slipped out a little! ”half of those burning [wood] were affluent”
    • CommentAuthorLF
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2021
     
    Rob, great stuff.
    what was the baseline outside ?
    Is it gas or electric hob ?
    • CommentAuthorbhommels
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2021 edited
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeen
    Tom, that was the Graun article I meant when I said " as we discussed further up the thread, most PM2.5s floating around in the air of most of the UK are not actually due to primary manmade emmissions from the UK, such as woodburning....I see this is completely lost on the Guardian environment reporters”

    From the report:
    13% sea spray.
    about a third brought in from EU (and you can safely assume the UK "exports" a fair bit as well)
    Half of the total is man-made in the UK. The guardian article is roughly correct.
    Because all other sectors make serious efforts to reduce PM2.5, woodburners now are the single largest contributor, easily larger than the sea spray contribution.
    Of course I agree that habitat destruction etc need attention, but that is not to say we should not make an effort to reduce PM2.5 from burning wood. The more research is done on the subject, the more it turns out that PM2.5 and smaller are really harmful. In that light, I can imagine sea spray having far less nasty effects than the PM2.5 from wood burning.
  6.  
    Ref the picture in the fifth post of this thread (previous page)

    Edit: the interesting report Bhommels linked, links through to another interesting report https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/assets/documents/reports/cat11/1508060903_DEF-PB14161_Mitigation_of_UK_PM25.pdf

    Giving sources of PM2.5:
    - 19% primary UK emissions (of which woodburning is bit less than half, per the Graun, so about 8%, and half of that from "affluent" people)
    - 30% from UK NOx, ammonia, VOC,
    - 21% non-UK
    -15% natural dust, salt

    Further edit to say: totally agree that serious effort needed to reduce pollution wherever practical, the English ban on under-seasoned firewood will be a good step. And that it's an international problem so we should contribute to solving it with neighbours, the EcoDesign regulations will be EU wide. Together I read somewhere they reduce emissions by 80%. I do think it's unhelpful to focus blame on "somebody else" - all those "affluent" people with their woodburners - when other sources such as NOx and agricultural ammonia are more significant, and when air quality is already pretty good.
      Screenshot_20210217-134907.png
    • CommentAuthorRobL
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2021
     
    Our hob is induction.
    Outdoors in leafy Cambridge suburbs the meter just now claims 0-2ug/m^3 pm2.5
    It can clearly detect a match being lit, and it doesn't like candles (Mrs RobL not happy about that)

    This is what I have by the way (temp & RH on it are useless due to selfheating, I did say it was a bit cheap):
    https://www.banggood.com/PM2_5-Air-Quality-Monitor-Digital-Gas-Analyzer-Laser-Duty-Sensor-Air-Detector-Home-LED-Display-Temp-And-Humidity-Test-Equipment-p-1593795.html?utm_design=18&utm_email=1611019523_2324&utm_source=emarsys&utm_medium=Shipoutinform190813&utm_campaign=trigger-logistics&utm_content=leander&sc_src=email_2671705&sc_eh=980627074301d15b1&sc_llid=27252578&sc_lid=104858042&sc_uid=sEFTM2SqmW&cur_warehouse=CN
    • CommentAuthorbxman
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2021
     
    Never mind what the Guardian says

    Have a look at this and write to your Democratic Representative

    Biomass. Is it killing our forests?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ_5sLWhVyI
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