More and more people around the world today are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and be as environmentally friendly as possible. I’m often asked are pellet heaters environmentally friendly by people looking to move away from electric heaters or wood heaters. Staying warm is easy but for some it is important to stay warm efficiently and as clean as possible. The good news is pellet heaters are very environmentally friendly and burn a lot cleaner than wood heaters. Wood pellets are usually made from recycled wood waste or plantation timber, which means you aren’t chopping down native trees to stay warm like a wood heater. Read on to learn more about how green pellet heaters are.
Sustainable Heating: The Rise of Environmentally Friendly Pellet Heaters
One of the best things about pellet heaters is that the fuel they burn, wood pellets, can be made from sustainable wood sources. Many pellet mills use wood from plantation trees to make pellets (like EcoPellets in Tasmania), which means that no old or natural growth trees need to be cut down. Unlike firewood, pellets can be made from both hardwood and softwood, so plantation trees are the perfect candidates for making pellets due to how quickly they grow.
If you’re concerned about the environment, it’s a good idea to consider switching from or buy a pellet heater instead of the traditional wood heater. That way, you can burn pellets that come from a sustainable source and avoid using wood from a hundred-year-old forest that was cut down and turned into firewood. Pellet heaters are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and stay warm at the same time.
Plantation Trees to Recycled Waste: The Eco-Friendly Origins of Wood Pellets
In addition to pellets being made from plantation trees, wood pellets can also be made from waste material that is created during the processing of timber products. This typically consists of sawdust and other fine wood material that may have previously just been thrown away. Instead of dumping the wood waste, sawdust and other wood waste material it can be turned into wood pellets and used for heating. So, not only can pellets be made from plantation timber, but you could also recycle other wood waste material that would have normally been thrown away and turn it into heat.
There aren’t many ways to heat your house out there that can do this using recycled or left over waste material. Because of this, some people switch to pellet heaters because they like the idea that they are heating their house using a waste product that would have normally just been discarded and thrown away. In addition to being eco friendly and helping recycle wood waste, pellet heaters are very affordable to run and wood pellet prices very reasonable compared to other “green” products today. One concern people often have is that going green will cost more. This isn’t the case with pellet heaters.
Burning Cleaner: The Benefits of Pellet Heaters Over Traditional Wood Heaters
Unlike wood heaters, pellet heaters only emit smoke for a minute or so on startup but otherwise burn cleanly, efficiently and produce fewer emissions than wood heaters. You’ll see no smoke coming out of a pellet heater flue while it is running, something which can’t be said for wood heaters. How clean do pellet heaters burn? They produce a third of the emissions that wood heaters do. This may not sound like much if you live in a rural area that is sparsely populated, but a city full of wood heaters can cause serious health problems if every second or third house has a wood heater billowing out smoke all winter.
Launceston in Tasmania enacted a clean air program to encourage people to upgrade old wood heaters to more efficient ones or switch to cleaner heating options, such as pellet heaters, due to how poor the quality of air had become thanks to old, inefficient wood heaters. The results of this program dramatically reduced air pollution and improved the quality of the air, resulting in fewer respiratory and other medical issues during the winter months. Less smoke and emissions from pellet heaters helps keep the air clean.
Pellet Heaters vs. Other Heaters: Which is More Environmentally Friendly?
The most environmentally heater is one that is efficient and creates heat from a clean form of energy. I wrote an article that goes into depth about what makes a heater efficient and compared pellet heaters with other types of heating. Pellet heaters are very efficient and eco friendly when compared to alternative heaters. Electric heaters are expensive to run and their source of energy is usually coal or nuclear power. Wood heaters are terribly inefficient and heavy polluters, plus many people burn native timber. Diesel heaters might be efficient but obviously are heavy polluters as they burn diesel.
The only really efficient and clean heating options left are pellet heaters, gas heaters and heat pumps. Heat pumps are the most efficient beating any other form of heating but many people don’t like the type of heat they put out. This leaves gas and pellet heaters. Both have very similar levels of efficiency (90%+) and both burn extremely clean. However, unless you live somewhere that has natural gas, running a gas heater from LPG is very expensive. Also, you may find that natural gas is also more expensive than a pellet heater. If you like real heat, want an efficient heater that burns clean and uses a recyclable source of energy, pellet heaters are the best option.
Summary of Environmentally Friendly Pellet Heaters
So, are pellet heaters environmentally friendly? Yes, they are. If eco friendly, clean heating is important to you then take a look at how green pellet heaters are and whether one will work for your heating needs. They produce far fewer emissions and smoke than wood heaters and turn a waste product, sawdust and other wood waste, into a recycled product, wood pellets, that is used for heating. Check out the what is a pellet heater post to learn more about how the heat. The most eco friendly aspects of pellet heaters is just how clean they burn, there’s very little visible smoke, and the fact that wood pellets can be made from waste material.