Green living with a wood fire - Lifestyle NZ
Green living with a wood fire

Green living with a wood fire

Gone are the days when choosing sustainably meant sacrificing on style. Today there are ultra-low emission wood fires and clean-burning gas fires that fit seamlessly into a range of contemporary interiors – and you can even turn your existing traditional fireplace into one that’s eco-friendly.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

With the country’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, many homeowners, manufacturers and suppliers have been exploring what it means to be sustainable and honing in on cleaner alternatives.

For Envirosolve, this has been the focus since day one. The company’s goal is to clean New Zealand’s air, one fire at a time – providing solutions to keep Kiwis warm, while keeping the planet cool.

Searching for an ultra-low emission burner (ULEB) that would meet the country’s strictest home burning regulations set by Environment Canterbury (ECAN), Dr Rene Haeberli looked to Denmark’s bionic wood fires by Rais. After a lengthy process to obtain the resource consent to enable the Scandinavian technology to meet all of New Zealand’s clean air standards, the state-of-the-art products can be used nationwide.

“Wood as a heating source is the future because wood is renewable and virtually carbon neutral, and this will help to lead New Zealand to its 2025 carbon neutral goal,” says Rene.

Fully automatic, the Rais bionic wood fires are double combustion; the upper chamber operates as a traditional wood fire, while the lower chamber receives exhaust gas from the wood burning above. This process burns any excess emissions in a down-draft flame, radiating further heat – with 96% of the generated heat dispersed into the surrounding area.

“The bionic fire is ideal for passive or air-tight houses using the provided external air intake, either through the floor, or through the wall with special air intake kits,” explains Rene.

“We’ve been building up with different models, and the latest ones are the T-ART and the T-SKY. They are a totally different concept to anything else on the market in New Zealand.”

Boasting 84% efficiency, T-ART’s fully automated air intake system controls fuel combustion and means a steady supply of heat is radiated for hours after the fire is extinguished. Its elegant glass front and sleek body offers a perfect blend of retro and modern aesthetics, and its performance also ticks the box for low-energy and passive house construction. Design and functionality also combine in the curved T-SKY ultra-low emission wood fire by Tiba, which can keep a room warm for more than 11-12 hours after operation.

These fireplaces are certainly sustainable, functional pieces of art in the home.

The Bionic Wood Fire from EnviroSolve can be customised to your decor.

Transforming existing fires to be clean burning

If you don’t have the good fortune of having one of Envirosolve’s ultra-low emission wood fires, EnviroSolve’s award-winning OekoTube smoke filter is a smart solution to lower the emissions your home sends into the environment. Simply attaching to an existing chimney flue, Rene explains that the OekoTube “is the fire equivalent of going from a petrol guzzling car to an electric one”.

“The problem with normal non-ULEB wood and coal burning fires is that they create micro-dust which has not been burned. This is released into the atmosphere and when breathed in affects our health. Some of the smaller particles can pass straight into our bloodstream. This situation is even worse for towns in a geographical situation where they suffer from so-called weather inversion, where the particles cannot escape and increase in density under a blanket of clouds.

“Fortunately, the addition of the OekoTube to your existing fire will significantly reduce emissions. If homeowners want to keep their NES 2004 wood burners, EnviroSolve’s award-winning OekoTube smoke filter is a smart solution that will transform these burners to ULEBs.”

The OekoTube can be installed to any chimney flue.
There are things each of us can do to still live in comfort, but help the planet too.

The good news is that tests show that the OekoTube reduces micro-dust emissions by up to 95% – improving the surrounding air quality.

“This electrostatic filter has resource consent from ECAN and this means that we can actually clip it onto every single chimney in New Zealand.”

So how exactly does it work? The OekoTube is a ‘metal wand’ that is installed in the chimney flue. The fine dust particles are drawn to the wand and the sides of the chimney, stopping them from escaping into the atmosphere – instead, clustering and either dropping back into the fire to be burned, or are big enough to go out of the flue and drop to the ground.

EnviroSolve’s mission is to continue providing New Zealand homeowners with state-of-the-art technology such as this, and fires that are both stunning and good for the environment.

As Rene says: “There are things each of us can do to still live in comfort, but help the planet too.”

Explore EnviroSolve’s Ultra Low Emission bionic or Tiba wood fires, its range of premium gas fires, or learn about more the OekoTube, so you can enjoy the comfort of world-class heating solutions for your home while contributing to the 2050 zero emission goal.

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