Here on the urban homestead we don’t have central heat, instead we heat our home (well, only three out of the nine rooms) using a small compact (EPA certified) Jotul wood stove. I’ve written many a times before about how we combat the cold by dressing in layers and well, just getting used to a cold and drafty old house.
Construction is still ongoing next door (and also a few town homes being built on our street) so there’s loads of scrap (free) to feed our very efficient Jotul wood stove. They’ve allowed us to take what scrap wood we need, so this winter we are heating our home for free!
Like any other human endeavor, wood heating can be done badly or well. Wood can be harvested poorly, burned dirty and its heat wasted. Or, wood can be harvested sustainably, burned cleanly and efficiently, and its energy used to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.
Whatever energy source you choose, its use will have an impact on the environment. The best energy sources are renewable and the best of those are solar power and wind power because their environmental impacts tend to be low. As good as they are, though, they do have their problems and limitations. Wood is another renewable energy source with its own problems and limitations, some of which can be managed and minimized, others of which cannot. But when it is used effectively, wood is a fine fuel compared to the fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal, whose consumption leads to global warming.