Episode 102: My friend heats her house with a renewable – wood. Should we all be doing that?

Wood is renewable, so does that mean we should all use it to heat our homes? In this episode of Energy Bite, we talk with Granger Morgan about how to decide whether burning wood is the right heat source for us. Morgan is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Co-Director of the Center for Climate and Energy Decision Making and Co-Director of the Electricity Industry Center.

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Mentioned in this episode:

FAO about wood energy

EIA/Energy Kids – Biomass http://ei.lehigh.edu/eli/energy/resources/readings/biomass.pdf

Learn before you burn http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/


Transcript

HOST INTRO: My friend in New England heats her house with a renewable fuel – wood. Should we all be doing that? On this week’s Energy Bite, Granger Morgan, a Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has some answers.

DR. GRANGER MORGAN: I grew up in New Hampshire, and a lot of my friends and relatives heat their house with wood. It’s both renewable and it’s cheaper than fuel oil. If you live out in the country where there aren’t lots of people but lots of trees, burning wood is a great strategy to heat your home. Wood use has been increasing in the Northeast and middle-Atlantic – as have exports of wood pellets from the U.S. to Europe.

HOST: So, why don’t we burn wood everywhere since it is renewable?

DR. GRANGER MORGAN: While modern wood stoves and furnaces are efficient and clean burning, in dense urban settings heating with wood can still cause air pollution problems.

HOST: What is the best way to heat your home with wood if you don’t live in the city and it is an option for you?

DR. GRANGER MORGAN: Use a modern stove or furnace that carefully controls combustion and make sure the system is properly maintained so that there’s not a risk of fire or carbon monoxide.

HOST: Is a wood burning stove a good option for your home heating needs? Take our poll, see the results, and ask your energy questions at EnergyBite.org. Energy Bite is a co-production between 90.5 WESA and Carnegie Mellon’s’ Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.

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