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Wood burning my way towards a low carbon future

Environmentally friendly and a genuine alternative to the car as a conversation topic for blokes. NCE editor Antony Oliver enters the world of wood burning stoves.
After much internet research, I have at last found and ordered my Norwegian fantasy.
She's very hot, very efficient and very dependable. And she's quite expensive - but I've done the research, I know the payback and most important I know where I'm going to find the energy to keep her happy.
Yes, you guessed it, I have ordered my ticket to a low carbon, low cost, high heat and cosy future. In a few weeks I'll be stoking up my new wood burning stove.
Getting this far has been a fascinating courtship. And to be honest, I had no idea that so many chaps of my age carry a torch, so as to speak, for wood burning stoves.
Whereas in days gone by it would be possible to build small talk solely around sport, music and cars, nowadays it seems that blokes are just as likely to have conversational knowledge of wood burning stoves.
It's easy to understand why. For a start there is just so much tantalising technical specification to get stuck into. And the variety, choice and performance is seemingly limitless.
In fact, while I haven't actually seen them yet, I wouldn't at all rule out the possibility that Top Trumps do actually have a wood burning stove edition.
For example, mine is technically actually a multi-fuel rather than wood burner and it has clean heat and air-wash technology, preheated combustion, external riddling, 9kW output, 72% efficiency and a 48cm log capacity. But you can get so much more - back boilers, convectors, after burners for greater efficiency and insulated chimneys. As I'm sure that most of you know well.
It's all very exciting - not least as I have a ready source of scrap wood. Rather than being left to decay and combust naturally it will now be the fuel for my hanging, dancing - and carbon neutral - flames.
And, of course, being carbon neutral is going to be increasingly important over the next few decades. The government was this week urged by its own climate change committee to ramp up the nation's assault on carbon emissions and fossil fuel burning and alternatives gas and electric heating will be vital.
OK. I know. Wood burning stoves alone aren't going to get the UK's emissions down by 21% by 2020. For that it is going to take a heap more investment and lot more emphasis of proper engineering choices.
But what they will do - perhaps even are doing - is turn people's minds towards the issue of carbon reduction, toward renewable energy and away from the notion that we can continue to burn fossil fuel for ever.
And if nothing else, in the week that we celebrate the birth of the motorway (while simultaneous being urged to reduce our speed while driving on them and being told that 40% of cars will be electric by 2020) anything that takes blokes minds off fast cars can only be good.

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