Electric avenues

Following the announcement of the Government’s Clean Air Strategy in 2019, Andy Hitchman of Solution Fires discusses how the new legislation supports the positive environmental benefits of electric fires

New restrictions, forming part of the Government’s Clean Air Strategy, mean bagged coal and wet wood of less than two cubic metres cannot be sold, and wet wood in larger volumes must be sold with advice on how to dry it, prior to burning. These changes also mean all manufactured solid fuels must now have a low sulphur content and only emit a small amount of smoke.

These restrictions come on the back of the Future Homes Standard announced in 2019. Part of the standard, which launches fully in 2025, is the introduction of a minimum environmental standard for all new housing, including a commitment to removing traditional fossil fuel heating systems.

There are a variety of alternatives to wood and coal fires, and in the light of the above challenges there are key environmental benefits to be gained from installing electric fires.

Electric fireplaces are considered one of the most eco-friendly fireplace options as they cause almost no direct environmental impact and indirect impact is low-to-moderate for most areas.

Electric fireplaces are set to have a secure future in relation to the Future Homes Standard. Even though this regulation places greater scrutiny on traditional fireplaces, it helps demonstrate that the electric fireplace is going to likely be the eco-friendly option going forward, especially in the hindsight of an electric fireplace being considered more efficient than an average home’s main heating system.

Additionally, people with open fires will be required to purchase cleaner fuels, although this is subject to change, as with every source of fuel being burnt causing air pollution, it can be detrimental and harmful to human health. The use of open fires raises health and safety concerns, most notably to people with asthma who have a higher chance of having an asthma attack from breathing in the toxic fumes.

The government’s Clean Air Strategy commits them to put their ambition into action, supported by the words of Environment Minister Rebecca Pow, who said “cleaner fuels are not only beneficial for the environment but also consumers, as they create less smoke and soot and more heat”.

The Minister also recognised however that there is still a huge amount of work to be done to tackle pollution from all sources, but this is certainly a positive step in making sure future generations can breathe cleaner air.

Reasons to go electric
An electric fireplace can go in any home and work with every style from ‘country chic,’ to Victorian or modern. Electric fireplaces can be put almost anywhere since they do not require venting, gas lines or wood storage. They are a welcome alternative to installing wood or gas fireplaces, and today, many flats and newer builds often have restrictions on installing traditional fireplaces.

Using an electric fireplace is one of the greenest ways of providing heat for your home. No fuel is burned using this method of heating and they can thus offer zero emissions, reducing carbon and other air pollution.

The latest technology for electric fireplaces can help create the right type of mood or feel. Many offer a variety of different lighting combinations, realistic logs and flame effects for impressive displays in any room.

Electric fireplaces are designed to be the easiest type of fireplace to install and maintain. It’s as simple as ‘plug and go.’ As fireplaces do not burn wood or emit any kind of smoke or fumes, homeowners can enjoy the benefits of a safer fire, at a fraction of the cost.

One of the key benefits of electric fireplaces for owners is their long life, because they are not subject to any problems like rust or corrosion. They can even look as good as the day they were installed, years later, and require minimum maintenance to keep them looking in mint condition.

Electric fireplaces also allow for plenty of design creativity. You can install an electric fireplace almost anywhere you can imagine in a home. This kind of flexibility provides the opportunity to add a touch of elegance and warmth to a bedroom, den, playroom, bathroom, on an inside or outside wall – sometimes, even in the middle of a room.

Andy Hitchman is managing director of Solution Fires