Friday, January 4, 2013

Fuel Switching: Oil to Wood Has Biggest Carbon Benefit

Alliance for Green Heat, January 4, 2013 - Switching to wood heating is an effective and inexpensive way to reduce a family's carbon footprint. One wood stove can reduce as much carbon as a typical solar PV system for less than 1/6th of the cost. Below are estimated carbon emissions savings for a typical Mid-Atlantic household switching to 60% wood heat, using EIA and EPA figures:

Switching From...
Metric Tons CO2 Saved/Yr Per Wood Stove
Natural Gas

Current fuel oil users benefit the most from switching to wood heat, saving almost 4 tons of carbon dioxide each year – that's the equivalent to taking a car off the road for 9 months! Homeowners who use wood to cover all of their home's heating needs – high-efficiency pellet stove users, for example – can save even more: up to 6.5 tons of carbon dioxide a year.


  1. What's the source for these numbers?

    1. The calculations are our own using data from the EPA, EIA and other sources. I'm happy to send anyone who is interested a copy of our draft report that explains the calculations step by step. Please email melissa at

  2. Sounds good to me. Another reason to ditch oil heating

  3. All wood burning in residential areas should be ended. Is there any explanation sent to the public regarding pollution factors of burning wood?
    Also, wood smoke has been proven to be cancer causing.
    I really think people should do some research before believing that wood smoke is good because it is not. Climate change is already telling us that what goes up into the air is causing all these weather change patterns.
    How long before Green Heat comes out with more than hype to promote wood burning? To hide the dangers of wood smoke is really class-less.

  4. Oilheat Manufacturers Association has calculated the costs to society of using the various fuels. They include such things as the impact of air pollution, crop failures, and the impact on fishing grounds. When all factors are considered, low-sulfur Oilheat comes out as the least damaging heating source available.

    It is 1% better than natural gas or propane. Oilheat is 136% better for the environment than geothermal heat pumps, and 208% better than air-to-air heat pumps. It is 516% better than electric resistance heat and electric water heaters, and Oilheat is an amazing 2,437% better for the environment than wood heat!