Eco Design

ISH 2017 – the Trends in Stoves

Cosy warmth in the living room with CO2-neutral wood heating systems

The fascination for heating with wood is as strong as ever. In prehistoric times, people warmed themselves together around the campfire. On cold days today, the occupants of a house gather together comfortably in front of a modern, more contained version of an open fire – a traditional tiled stove, enclosed fire, or wood burner that radiates cosy warmth. The rustling, crackling, flickering and smouldering of the fire helps them to relax after a stressful day. Furthermore, the gentle heat of a stove, for example, contains a good dose of long-wave radiation, which penetrates deep beneath the skin in a soothing way. Tests and measurements carried out by Austrian research institutes have shown that heat from stoves and burners encourages not only our mental relaxation but also our resilience.

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Wood heating systems contribute to climate protection and sustainability

Modern standalone domestic stoves contribute positively to climate protection. This is because, in general, wood burns in a CO2-neutral way, that is, only as much carbon dioxide is released in burning, as was absorbed by the tree when it was still growing. In addition, wood burning conserves the supply of fossil energy sources. According to the German Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt), Germany succeeded in 2013 in avoiding greenhouse gas emissions, to the tune of about 38 million tons of CO2-equivalents, by using renewable energies for generating heat. This means that CO2-neutral heating that uses wood contributes substantially towards achieving the German government’s climate protection targets.

In addition, wood is a renewable fuel that is available in all regions. This means that, on the one hand, the reliability of supply for consumers in Germany is increased. On the other, both the environmental footprint and the domestic economy profit from short transport routes and regional added value and employment.

Another point is that more wood grows in Germany than is felled. According to the third National Forest Inventory (April 2016), timber stocks have reached a record high: in the last ten years they have increased by a further 7 percent. And with a total supply of 3.7 billion m³, there is more wood in German forests than in any other country of the EU.

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Reducing emissions by replacing old stoves

Modern stoves to heat one room are low on emissions, even though, in purely technical terms, it is impossible to burn firewood and wood pellets without any emissions at all. The sector is fully aware of this and has therefore expressly supported the introduction of standards for solid-fuel fires as part of the revised first Federal Emissions Control Act (1. Bundesimmissionsschutzverordnung – 1. BImSchV). A second version of the Act, with tighter restrictions, came into force on 1.1.2015. This stipulated that, for heaters with flat firing systems (typical wood-burning stoves) for example, carbon emission limits should be lowered from 2.00 to 1.25 g/m³ and dust emission limits from 0.075 to 0.04 g/m³. In addition, stoves have to achieve a minimum efficiency rating of 73 percent. New pellet-burning stoves function with even lower emissions. In models without water tanks, current limits are 0.25 g/m³ (carbon) und 0.03 g/m³ (dust), and an efficiency rating of at least 85 percent must be achieved. A type test is run to ensure that the stoves comply with these figures.

The HKI industrial association (Industrieverband Haus-, Heiz- und Küchentechnik e.V.) thinks that current emissions could be drastically lowered to 69 percent, if all appliances over 20 years old were replaced. This is because a modern wood burner produces only about a seventh of the carbon and dust emissions, as compared with a similar wood-burning stove from 1980. The HKI estimates that, of the 10 to 11 million single room stoves in Germany, about 4 to 5 million are outdated (all dating from before the first version of the first Federal Emissions Control Act (1. BImSchV). They say that these need to be decommisioned, upgraded or replaced, in accordance with the Act. They also say that a further 4 to 4.5 million heaters no longer comply with the latest technology because they only meet the requirements specified in the first (not the second) version of the Act.

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The right kind of comfortable warmth for every house and every taste

Modern, low-emission and energy-efficient single room stoves are very versatile and flexible. In terms of both appearance and heating technology, they can fit into every living environment, be it a classic, puristic, timeless or modern home, a low-energy house or an old building. An individually tailored comfortable ambience can be achieved with a wide range stoves in different sizes, shapes, designs and surface materials, and with appropriate heating technology.

Large, panoramic glass panels (in some cases, sliding doors) are very popular on stoves and burners, because they make it possible to view the flames from several sides. Small tiled stoves that can be customised in a variety of ways are becoming popular in new builds. They make it possible to enjoy a fire in a compact space and they give off a gentle radiant heat.

When tiled stoves, enclosed fires, wood-burning stoves and pellet burners are connected to a back boiler, heating can be even more environmentally-friendly, efficient and cost-effective. A heat exchanger, which is usually installed in the fire, makes it possible to connect the stove to the central heating system by means of a thermal tank. On cold days, for example, the single room heater can provide an effective supplement to an electric heat pump or a gas condensing boiler, and reduce its energy consumption. At the same time, heat emission in the place where the stove is installed can be reduced, so that the room does not overheat, even in very well insulated houses. Pellet-burning stoves with storage tanks enable the heating to operate automatically, uninterruptedly and according to need. It is ideal to use an electronic combustion control with regard to emissions and energy efficiency. If this is combined with a touch panel, a remote control or even the wireless network in the house and a Smartphone or tablet, the cosy warmth can be controlled even more conveniently – and that is without having to leave the comfort of the sofa.

From 14 to 18 March 2017, the ISH showcased the top trends in the field of energy-efficient future technologies and intelligent building systems in Frankfurt am Main. More than 2,400 exhibitors, including all market and technology leaders from home and abroad, were launched their latest products onto the world market. The theme for ISH 2017 was ‘Water. Energy. Life.’. With an unparalleled product breadth and depth in the field of tiled stoves, enclosed fires, wood-burning stoves and pellet burners, the fair is the most important sector meeting place for the whole of the stove industry.

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Further information on the ISH can be found on the internet at:

By Danica Maričić

Interior Designer and Integrated Marketing Communications Pro, Loving Writing and Photography, Passionate about Life & Style, “True Blue” Mediterranean Girl, Curious Traveller & Designer