Posted by: Matthew | December 24, 2009

More industry propaganda countered

The Australia Home Heating Association is the litigious industry body of wood heater manufacturers and retailers. Their members’ profit margins are all maintained at the expense of air quality of Australian and New Zealand towns and suburbs.

From their web site in black, and my response in red, here is what I think of what they think. And I have a right to say what I think. The AHHA should not try to bully me to shut up.

FACT: Wood heating emits less Greenhouse Gases than other forms of home heating.
That isn’t true. Firstly when cutting down a native forest for wood there  is a carbon deficit that the regrowing forest must pay. So all the carbon is borrowed from the environment. It’s always paying off the debt. The same with plantation forests, it’s all about repaying the original debt that cutting down the forest involved.
Secondly hydro, solar and wind powered electricity running any form of heater has a zero emission. How much diesel gets burnt to deliver those tonnes of wood to the firewood yard that is then again trucked to the domestic polluters?

FACT: Wood heaters deliver the lowest cost energy for home heating.
Wrong again. Warm socks are the cheapest cost. Next comes home insulation. Then comes an efficient heat pump, called a split system air conditioner in Australia. Wood delivered is $150 a tonne or more, and 5 tonnes a year is $750, which is more than my annual electricity bill in my warm enough house, and I have all the standard electrical items going all the time like everyone else. I put the low cost of heating my house down to the fact I bought a beautiful 8000W Mitsubishi Heat Pump. It’s a brilliant machine that harvests heat from outside and brings it inside. In this region it runs on wind and hydro power, so it’s CO2 output is negligible.

You’ve also got to factor in external costs into the equation. These are the environmental costs paid by the polluter’s neighbours and they can be astronomical. In terms of reduced health, reduced mental health, not being able to live in your own home, the cost of childhood asthma to the community, and the costs of increased morbidity that the wood smoke pollution causes. i.e. it kills people and they have to be buried. Are those costs factored in?

FACT: Over 1.1 million Australian families use wood heating.
And assuming their smoke invades the breathing space of 5 other houses then over 5.5 million families wish they wouldn’t.

FACT: Firewood is a renewable source and the AHHA recommends reputable firewood suppliers and runs education campaigns on the correct use of wood heaters.
There is no correct use of a wood heater, in most towns and suburban locations, other than not burning it in the first place. This is not the information that the AHHA provides. Even following their advice still leads to high levels of woodsmoke pollution, and people can’t be trusted to burn. They’ll burn treated pine. they’ll burn plastic. People burn wet wood, newspapers, rubbish and who knows what? There are no clean solid fuels due to incomplete combustion. Liquid fuels like kerosene are cleaner, but still dirty. Natural gas burns clean. Wood does not.

The Australian Home Heating Association Inc (AHHA) is the peak industry body in Australia and New Zealand representing over 250 manufacturers, retailers, installers, maintenance companies and the firewood sector of the home heating industry which employs over 10,000 Australians nationwide.
This is actually true, they do represent them, and they will put those peoples’ interests above the common good and well being of the community. Don’t try to stand in their way or you know what will happen.

A wood burning heater bathes your room with a rich, soothing warmth that no other energy source can equal. The fire’s radiance gives a welcome embrace as you come in from the cold. With its all-natural ingredients, a real wood fire is a hearty tonic for winter chill. When you warm your life with wood, you participate in a natural cycle and an ancient human ritual. The simple act of stirring coals and placing logs on the hearth is one we share with ancestors who lived at the dawn of human history. Burning wood for warmth is still satisfying. True, it takes a little extra effort, but like tending a garden or home cooking a meal, you are always rewarded.
A wood burner has no thermostat so it will warm a house unevenly and some parts of a room will be too hot, and some parts will still be cold.  The all-natural ingredients when burnt produce toxic smoke. That is all-natural toxic smoke and lung damaging particulates, except for all the plastic and creosote and arsenic soaked treated timber, and all the painted wood that people burn.
Wood burners, like black and white TVs, lynching witches and horse drawn milk floats are antiquated technologies. They no longer have a legitimate place in the life of our towns and suburbs.



  1. […] More Industry Propaganda countered. […]

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