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ERIC Number: EJ839502
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 20
ISSN: ISSN-1059-9053
An Integrated Analysis of the Use of Woodstoves to Supplement Fossil Fuel-Fired Domestic Heating
Barto, D.; Cziraky, J.; Geerts, S.; Hack, J.; Langford, S.; Nesbitt, R.; Park, S.; Willie, N.; Xu, J.; Grogan, P.
Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, v38 p87-92 2009
Consumers are constantly being presented with choices that have economic, environmental, and lifestyle/social dimensions. For example, is an energy-efficient hybrid car (with regenerative braking) a better choice than a regular petroleum-only vehicle when considered from all three dimensions? Surprisingly, although each and all of these dimensions is clearly important to optimal long-term choices, integrated analyses are rare, and there is a great need for better education on how best to approach such consumer decisions. Here, we present a case study by a small class of primarily final-year undergraduate students on renewable vs. fossil-fuel based options for domestic heating to explore the actual economic and environmental advantages and disadvantages of each option. We analyzed 4 years of fuel consumption data for a household in Kingston, ON, Canada that installed a wood stove to supplement (i.e., reduce their reliance on) natural gas for domestic heating. Furthermore, we conducted a survey of local householders to identify those factors that are most important to consumers in deciding on future heating options. Supplemental use of the woodstove for home heating reduced natural gas consumption by 60%. Total annual operating costs before and after installation were similar because woodfuel costs matched the savings from lowered natural gas consumption. Consideration of projected fuel price rises and ongoing maintenance and replacement costs, however, strongly suggests that substantial overall cost savings would accrue, especially after the first decade of woodstove installation. Since wood can be a renewable resource, annual net CO[subscript 2] emissions associated with domestic heating were also reduced by 60%. Survey respondents consistently ranked heating effectiveness, operating costs, and environmental issues among the most important factors in choosing a replacement heating system, but those who do not currently have a woodstove ranked safety as the primary concern. Together, these results suggest that promotion of eco-friendly options for consumers could be greatly enhanced by supplying clearly focused information on the critical economic, environmental, and lifestyle/social dimensions of that choice. (Contains 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada