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greenliving
out the need to load wood or pellets
or dispose of ash. Gas inserts are up to
80 percent efficient and generate low
Fabulous Fireplace
levels of pollution.
Other options also exist for enhanc-
Keep Heating Dollars from Going Up in Smoke
ing the operation of an existing fireplace
and preventing excessive heat loss:
A
crackling fire in the fireplace
grams per hour from a conventional
feels warm and cozy, but
fireplace. Current units operate at 80
■ Tempered glass doors. Installation
traditional wood-burning is a
percent efficiency—similar to other
of airtight hearth doors enables the fam-
major energy waste. According to the
home heating sources. They come as
ily to keep both the doors and flue shut
U.S. Department of Energy, a blazing
either a freestanding model or a unit
when the fireplace is not in use.
hearth sends as much as 24,000 cubic
that inserts into an existing fireplace;
feet of air per hour up the chimney,
many come with blowers to direct
■ Heat-air exchange system. This
along with about 90 percent of the
heated air into the living space.
improvement blows warm air back into
heat produced by the fire and some
the room, minus the smoke.
of the heat produced by the home’s
■ Pellet stoves. Instead of wood logs,
furnace.
these stoves burn small pellets made
Fireplaces also generate a lot of
from compressed wood and other
air pollution. Wood smoke contains
plant waste, and produce so little
carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and
pollution that they do not require EPA
fine particulates that can aggravate
certification. Pellet stoves do require
Cool Tips for
asthma, allergies and other health
electricity to feed pellets into the com-
conditions.
bustion chamber (about 100 kilowatt-
Hearthside
Several options are available for
hours per month under normal usage),
upgrading the family fireplace, both
so they will not work during a power
Heat
energy- and pollution-wise, without
outage, unless powered by a separate
sacrificing coziness:
generator. Like wood stoves, pellet
stoves are available as freestanding
units or fireplace inserts.
■ Wood stoves. Units certified by
the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) generate only two to five
■ Gas fireplace inserts. Natural gas
grams of particulate matter per hour
or propane-fueled inserts offer the
of operation, compared with 40 to 60
warmth and ambiance of a fire with-
Stay cozy—and green—by follow-
ing these suggestions for wintertime
warmth.
■ Stay informed: The Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) is a compre-
hensive source of information and
advice on the cleaner-burning wood
stoves and fireplaces (epa.gov/wood-
stoves) and their efficient and safe
operation (epa.gov/woodstoves/ef-
ficiently.html).
■ Shop eco-friendly firelogs: A
recent EPA study comparing emis-
sions from real logs and brand-name
artificial logs found that the firelogs
emitted about 75 percent less carbon
monoxide, 80 percent fewer particu-
lates and lower chemical emissions
36 Oakland, Macomb, Livingston & St. Clair, MI
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