In Denmark, the number of wood burning stoves and boilers are about 700.000. We have several new types of wood burning stoves that emit fewer pollutants than the older models. Nonetheless, wood burning represents the highest polluting form of heating in Denmark.
Air pollution from wood burning stoves and boilers
Stoves and boilers fuelled by wood contribute significantly to air pollution, with harmful particles, poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and dioxins. Pollution is affected by the complex interplay of several factors including the type of stove or boiler, chimney design, fuel and patterns of operation. There has been a statutory order on wood stoves and boilers in Denmark since 2008 regulating the environmental impact from heating in households.
A combination of factors including the type of fuel, operation patterns, stove or boiler type, chimney design and surroundings determine the pollution caused by the specific wood burner. The Environmental Protection Agency is working to reduce pollution through solutions that address them all.
Campaigns for sensible heating
Throughout several heating seasons, the Environmental Protection Agency has conducted a series of nationwide information campaigns on proper wood burning.
Scrapping scheme for old wood stoves
In 2015 a scrapping scheme for old wood stoves (DKK 45 million) was launched. If you had an old wood stove from 1990 or before, you could apply for DKK 2.150 if you scrapped your old stove. It has now ceased.
In 2008 and 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency provided DKK 20 million for a scheme to scrap old burners. The money went towards phasing out of burners dating from 1980 or earlier and updraft boilers. The scheme was very successful and more than 5,600 boilers were scrapped. It has now ceased.
New regulations for wood burning stoves
The Danish Ministry of the Environment issued a Statutory Order in 2008 concerning wood burning stoves, boilers and similar heating systems. It states the permitted emission levels of particulate matter, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons from wood burners.
Manufacturers, importers, distributors, users and chimney sweeps all play a part in ensuring newly installed heating systems comply with current limit values for emissions of harmful particles, etc.
The Statutory Order also stipulates actions municipalities can take regarding complaints about smoke from wood burning. In addition to enforcement orders, the municipality can institute requirements for specific areas in supplementary regulations.
See Statutory Order on wood burning stoves (in Danish).
Support for new heating technologies
Since 2008 the national programme for environmental friendly technologies - ecoinnovation.dk - has set aside more than DKK 20 million for the development and testing of technologies, for the reduction of air pollution from wood fuelled stoves. The technological devices include particle filters, moisture meters for wood and computer simulations.
New EU regulation on wood stoves and boilers
The EU Member States have adopted requirements on air pollution from new wood-burning stoves and boilers. As opposed to Denmark, which has had requirements since 2008, many countries in the EU have not previously had any regulation of the area. As three-quarters of particulate pollution in Denmark originate from other countries, the new regulations could reduce particle emissions from wood-burning stoves and boilers by more than 50% over a number of years. The impact will be huge, because wood-burning stoves are among the largest sources of particle pollution.
The EU environmental requirements from 2020 (boilers) and 2022 (wood burning stoves) are about the same level as the requirements in force in Denmark from before 2020 and 2022.