The key reason log burning is more environmentally friendly is due to the timescales it takes to create the fuel.
Trees take in carbon as they grow and release it to the atmosphere when they are burned, or die. Managed in a sustainable way, the trees that grow take up the carbon released when wood fuel is burnt. This is called a 'closed carbon cycle' and means there is no net increase in atmospheric CO2.
This is not true for fossil fuels as there is no replenishment of oil, gas or coal when these fuels are burnt. Plus it takes millions of years to produce fossil fuels.
Although wood burning is a 'green' choice, burning 'green' wood is not. When trees are freshly felled they are known as 'green'. The moisture content of freshly felled green wood varies by species but can account for as much as 67% of the total weight of the wood. Generally softwoods have a higher green moisture content than hardwoods. Ash has only around 33% moisture content when felled - making one of the best species for seasoning as it dries relatively quickly.
The heat generated when wood is burned is directly linked to the moisture content of the woodfuel. The higher the moisture content the lower the usable energy, or calorific value. This is simply because more energy is used to displace the water in the wood, through evaporation, before the wood generates heat.
For example burning high quality wood at around 20% moisture content generates more than twice as much heat as burning ‘wet’ firewood with a 50% moisture content. Looking at it another way... you would need to burn twice as many logs to get the same amount of heat.
Dry wood also gives off less smoke and emissions, making it a cleaner, greener fuel.
High canopy, mature woodlands may not be as 'healthy' as they look. The best woodlands for wildlife provide a wide variety of habitats that allow plants, animals and insects to successfully complete the various stages of their life cycles. This is particularly important for our native butterfly populations.
The natural forestry cycle of planting, thinning, felling and replanting provides the best conditions for a strong ecosystem with rich biodiversity. It is these thinnings from woodland management that can be used to produce sustainably sourced kiln dried wood.
Purchasing kiln dried firewood that has travelled as little distance as possible is the final part of the process. We work with Greaves Tree Services, professional tree surgeons, who manage local woodland enabling us to offer kiln dried logs that are chopped locally for us to sell locally. Imported timber is never used in our production processes and never will be because it increases our environmental footprint.