Wood is the natural sustainable choice of fuel for domestic fires – in use since the first fire many millennia ago. When we warm our homes with wood, we participate in a natural cycle and an ongoing continuum of activity that we share with ancient ancestors.
When we burn wood we are releasing solar energy, in the form of heat, that has been stored in the wood as chemical energy. The process of photosynthesis converted solar energy, water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and the organic molecules that form the wood, half the weight of which is carbon. So burning wood is just the quick reversal of this process, liberating the sun’s heat when we need it most.
Unlike the burning of fossil fuels like coal, gas or oil, burning firewood releases no more greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide) than would be produced were the wood to simply rot on the forest floor. If we are responsible in the ways we grow, cut, and burn our firewood, wood burning can actually be a good choice for the environment.