Every day we hear something about climate change, whether it’s politics, on the news, or shared on Facebook. Every day we hear about things getting worse: straws are killing turtles, water levels are rising, and not to mention the ridiculous weather patterns!
In 2014, Ireland introduced new building regulations that hold buildings to a higher standard of energy efficiency. This rating considers insulation, ventilation, and efficiency to determine the rating (on a scale of A to G). Unfortunately, this has led to the decline of chimneys on new buildings; developers would rather eliminate this traditional feature, than install expensive measures to balance the rating. Some places, such as Kilkenny and Limerick, have gone even further and announced that council built homes will not have chimneys. They have done this in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint.
It is understandable why people are phasing out chimneys—in the grand scheme of things, it’s one of the easiest things to do. Using anther heating alternative will have the same or better results for less money. But when we look at Ireland as a whole, residential only accounts for 9.5% of all emissions. The leading emission categories are: Industry 36.3%, and Transport 19.8%. To make a real difference in Ireland’s emissions, it’ll take more effort than just getting rid of chimneys. Unfortunately impactful actions are more along the lines of walking or biking instead of driving and recycling more.
Another misconception about emissions relating to stoves and fires is about smoke pollution. Smoke is harmful when it comes from coal or turf, but the simple alternative of smokeless coal produces up to 25% less emissions. Our most used fuel, wood, is actually a carbon-neutral resource. This means that burning wood produces the same amount of carbon as if the wood decomposed naturally. Another sustainable form of wood fuel are pellets, these are made from recycled materials such as sawdust and shavings.
Fire is Part of Ireland’s Culture
The notion behind this shift makes sense, why not save money while trying to save the planet. However, what doesn’t make sense is taking something away that has played a large cultural role in Ireland. Many times we can find ourselves around a fire enjoying the company of family and friends, or listening to stories from nan. Enjoying a fire is in our psyche, born out of evolution; our blood pressure will actually drop while enjoying a fire with a group of individuals. Is having a stove in the home an experience you would want your children missing out on? Think of all the days you ran in from a wet day on the pitch to a roasting fire and dried your wet clothes and boots.
Stoves are Reliable
Every year, the world continues to have more “freak” weather events—and Ireland is no exception. In 2018, we saw heavy snowfall, record wind speeds, and hail. Now, a fire at times like these is always comforting, but even more so when the power is out. Climate change and other factors contributed towards over 700 power outages in 2017. A power outage will have the whole family running to our stove to warm up, talk by the light, and maybe even dig up cards or a board game. Sitting there, one can only feel proud and happy toughing it out with family—and when you look back on the memory, it has a fondness of an old Charles Dickens novel.
After the nostalgia has worn off, one has to come to terms with the length of a power outage. Nearly half of these outages last from 1-6 days and will leave you without many things we take for granted. The phone you were going to plug in now only has 30% battery to use for light, communication, and entertainment. Even with a phone, the wi-fi is off and service in areas is limited. Hungry? Looks like you’ll be running to the shop for a pan of bread like everyone else because your microwave, kettle, cooker, oven, and hob are all OFF. In a few years, who knows, you might not even have transportation if you have an electric car that needs charging.
So when you go home buying or building, get any new efficient heating system, but don’t leave out a chimney and trusty stove. Henley has a great variety of boilers and stoves: electric, pellet or traditional. Every home has a stove the suits perfectly. Contact one of our stockists today to help you choose the perfect Henley stove for your home because… Every Home Deserves a Henley.