Whoever heats his flat or house with a fireplace or tiled stove is heating sustainably and environment-friendly. Because he relies on a CO2-neutral energy source. But what does CO2-neutral actually mean?
CO2-neutral means that the use of a fuel - or also a human activity such as locomotion or travelling - has no influence on the carbon dioxide concentration of the atmosphere and is therefore not harmful to the climate. This is why people often speak of climate neutrality. However, it is not the case that a CO2-neutral fuel contains no carbon and therefore releases no CO2 when burnt. Wood does contain CO2.
In a biochemical process, trees and plants constantly convert the energy of sunlight into biomass. For this process, called photosynthesis, the plant takes CO2 directly from the atmosphere. It uses the carbon (C) to grow and releases the oxygen (O2) again. Also wood is nothing more than stored solar energy.
When it is burnt, however, in contrast to fossil fuels, only as much CO2 is produced as the tree has previously absorbed from the atmosphere.
The environment takes up the components of the tree again, a natural cycle is created. The tree would also have released the CO2 back into the environment in the natural decay process, but the stored energy would have remained unused.
In addition, wood is a renewable raw material. According to the German Forest Farmers Association, in this country the growth is even greater than the consumption. However, the prerequisite for CO2-neutral heating with wood is correct heating, i.e. an appropriate system, proper operation as well as correct fuel.
In contrast, oil, coal and natural gas are formed by chemical processes. It is biomass that could not rot after it died under air lock. These fossil fuels store CO2 in the earth over the long term.
When they are burnt, the cycle is disrupted and additional carbon enters the air. It combines with oxygen during combustion, accumulates as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and is largely responsible for global climate change.
Over 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Germany can be traced back to the combustion of fossil fuels, for the most part in the form of carbon dioxide (source Federal Environment Agency). Moreover, fossil fuels such as coal, oil or gas will gradually be exhausted.
In addition to the familiar cosy warm fireplace and stove effects in the installation room, with water-bearing devices, part of the wood combustion energy is also supplied to the heating system.
Particularly in the transitional period, water-carrying appliances are a real benefit for the heat supply. With one or two burn-offs per day, hot water and the heating system can be powered without having to start the main heating system. Hot water is not only expensive, but also one of the largest energy consumers and CO2 emitters in private households after heating and cars.