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Biomass a Burning Issue

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Biomass a Burning Issue
by Sune Nightingale
20 September 2010

The AECB recently released a paper titled Biomass a Burning Issue which, surprisingly, effectively promotes the use of gas as a fuel over wood, and also indirectly encourages the use of electricity to provide heating and domestic hot water.

There is a lively debate picking up on the Green Building Forum about the AECB paper "Biomass a Burning Issue" in which the authors argue that burning wood results in higher CO2 emissions than using a gas boiler, if the wood is used to build a house with as then it acts as a carbon store. In Biomass a Burning Issue they argue their case in somewhat black and white, blinkered way, but perhaps this is to encourage this lively debate. A more measured approach would have been to publish a paper which stated that along with its other uses, that wood is also a fantastic building material (which it is) and at the same time acts as a carbon store when you build from it, that it is also in many instances a very useful fuel, and the other bonus is that one can make insulation from it.
I personally think that this very surprising paper may end up being harmful to the AECB's reputation. Fair play to them for having the courage to start a debate like this though.

The debate about Biomass a Burning Issue can be found on the fantastic Green Building Forum. You will be able to read my rather tongue in cheek response on the Biomass - a Burning Issue thread, and a more targeted response with examples on Why biomass is better than gas thread

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