Wood heating a source of security

Cobble Hill – In regards to the recent letter written by the Fogel family concerning heating one’s home by wood heat. I couldn’t agree more about having the security of heat, as well as cooking, drying or whatever other means of utilizing wood fibre as an energy source instead of the sole reliance on electricity or gas – two sources that will let you down during storms or looming catastrophes that could hit us at any time, or so we are constantly being warned of.

Since high school, and further on into my university education, we learned in biology about the all-important carbon cycle, so let me recap it here in a nutshell: sun’s energy allows growth of plants, plants store carbon and then die or rot, and carbon is released back to the environment and regrowth happens. When we burn wood, we release the sun’s stored energy and reap the byproduct as heat. A clean burning fireplace will provide energy far more efficiently, and with lower environmental impact than any other fuel option. Other fuel options include oil, gas and coal, and when these sources are used, a vast amount of stored energy is released very quickly relative to fibre use, and along with it comes a heavy dose of carbon dioxide, hence our concern when it comes to climate change. Burning wood essentially is on par with what a naturally left forest would release as it dies and rots, and wood fire doesn’t contribute to global warming and has a significantly reduced level of greenhouse gas emissions.

When I lived on the Gulf Islands, we often went into days that we could count on one hand that we had no electricity due to storms, hence pretty much everyone had a source of heat that used wood fibre. Those that suffered during the ice storm that hit Montreal in 1998 had no other source of heat, but those that had fireplaces and wood stoves were popular households for many of their neighbours! We in the Cowichan Valley are not far from the Gulf Islanders in number of days each year without power, as well as the duration of each power outage during these storms.

Those of us, and I mean the silent majority of Cowichan Valley residents that live outside of Duncan and have wood heat as an option, have probably done things this way for several years, and feel that much more connected with our environment. Telling them to get off wood heat and rely solely on the corporate options of electricity or gas, is to me, a foolhardy option. I’d like not to put all my eggs in one basket.

If you buy property next to a farm, airport or race track, know that that operation has already been going on before you decided to move in next door and wanted to shut it down because it bothers you. Moving in to rural and suburban parts of the Cowichan Valley will probably bring you in contact with wood smoke. This is due to clearing up after downed branches and debris after a storm, or a house being heated by wood. It’s the smell of good living and the normal continuation of the carbon cycle.

Gord Hutchings

Cobble Hill

Just Posted

Furstenau introduces bill to prevent solid waste in quarries

Cowichan Valley’s MLA says water safety a priority

Check out ‘Kim’s Convenience’ to cash in on family humour

Originally a play and then a TV show, immigrant story features much more in store

Encore! Women’s Choir is celebrating their 10th anniversary with a show April 28

It’s been a great decade and they’re happy to share their music with you

Open houses to talk Motorsport expansion

The Circuit has applied to North Cowichan for rezoning to accommodate the expansion

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Coming up in Cowichan: Earth Day Weekend, plant sale

Every Wednesday morning a group of 18 volunteer gardeners arrives at Cairnsmore Place

Trump says North Korea agreed to denuclearize. It hasn’t.

Trump is claiming that North Korea has agreed to “denuclearization” before his potential meeting with Kim, but that’s not the case.

Suspect in deadly Waffle House shooting still being sought

Police say Travis Reinking is the suspect in a shooting at a Waffle House restaurant Sunday in Nashville that left four people dead.

G7 warned of Russian threats to western democracy

Ukraine foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin warns G7 of Russian war against Western democracy

Royal baby: It’s a boy for Kate and William

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to her third child, a boy weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces.

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Most Read