Going back to firewood


Our heat pump reached the end of its life last year: it was 25 years old, which is better than expected.  It will cost £15,000 to replace. At our age, in our 80s, it’s not worth doing.

So, we are using electric radiators in the kitchen and bedroom and an open fire (Baxi) in the lounge, at weekends.

We are burning dried wood and are pleased with the result.  We had forgotten the homeliness and warmth of an open fire.

We can feel the flaming radiant heat of the fire 15ft away.

It reminds me of my childhood in the 1940s – when we sat around an open fire in a cold drafty room with single glazed ill-fitting windows.  And were comfortable.

We have forgotten firewood as an alternative to gas and electricity.  It may be the only source of domestic heating eventually.

The opening chapters of Thomas Hardy’s novel The Woodlanders provides an insight into a 19th century wood-based local economy.

It now makes sense to heat ourselves instead of our homes.  And it is better for the planet.

The peaksurfer blog makes the point that:

Going back to firewood for heating and cooking may seem like the wrong direction, but it is sustainable into the indefinite future in ways that energy-intensive steel, aluminium and rare earth devices are not. Managed as mixed-age, mixed-species ecologies at a village scale, forests are full employment industries. They make their own replacement parts and clean up their own waste. They sequester carbon deep in their root zones over millennial time periods. Perhaps most importantly, they make sunlight reflective aerosol clouds…”

Thank goodness we have two chimneys. We nearly didn’t because, when the house was designed 25 years ago, our energy consultant tried to persuade us not to have them.  Chimneys were then infra dig.  And they still are.

If I had to brief an architect now – to design a house to last 25 years. – goodness knows what I would ask for.

It is probably best to live in rented accommodation for the time being.

This blog posr first appeared at Orcop,com

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