We don’t necessarily know it, but France is one of the European countries where biomass heating (wood logs and pellets) is the most popular. The consumption of wood for domestic heating is also in the top 3 in Europe, just behind Italy.
According to the MSIReports institute, in 2005 there were less than 400,000 wood-burning heaters sold in France, while in 2017 more than 500,000 sold. This popularity, which has not exploded, has never been denied, however, knowing a slow but constant progression for almost 20 years.
However, habits in this area are changing and we are seeing the popularity of products that were still unknown to the general public only 15 years ago. This is the case of pellet heaters (boilers and stoves) whose sales have increased significantly, more than 20% on average since 2015 according to an Observ’ER report..
At the same time, very classic wood heating methods in our country are in sharp decline, for example the case of closed fireplaces and inserts..
The field of biomass heating is currently very focused on pellets, for reasons that we will discuss..
What are the advantages of wood heating ?
6% of French people heat themselves with wood or its derivatives, a figure which may seem low, but which is not surprising in a country where gas heating has been widely promoted by the public authorities.
If mentalities are changing, in a context so favorable to fossil fuels, it is no coincidence: wood heating has very clear advantages over its competitors.
Since heating accounts for around 68% of the energy bill of French households, we understand that a very cheap fuel has strong arguments.
Wood, whether in logs or pellets, is currently the cheapest fuel on the market. Electricity has increased from 24 to 34% in 20 years, gas keeps fluctuating, and fuel oil is overpriced.
With equal insulation, the living space requires a cost of:
- 6 € for wood.
- 12 € for gas.
- 15 € for fuel.
- € 16 for electricity.
If you want to save money, install a pellet boiler replacing a gas boiler can significantly reduce your monthly expenses once the equipment pays for itself.
Wood heating is gradually regaining its place at the center of our homes, as an aesthetic element actively participating in the atmosphere and style of an interior.
There are currently many styles and designs for wood-burning heaters, which allows them to complement very different moods..
A traditional stove, for example, fits perfectly into a Scandinavian or classic interior, while a modern stove can enhance the minimalism of a very modern fireplace..
In any case, the burning of wood offers an atmosphere and a spectacle that absolutely appeals to everyone. If you opt for wood heating, the aesthetic aspect will not fail to enchant you.
The ecological aspect
If it sounds strange, wood is an environmentally friendly fuel. Indeed, the logs almost always come from responsibly managed forests and the pellets are taken from the waste of the forestry industry..
Thanks to these fuels, we are able to support a green industry and reuse waste.
If the CO2 produced by the combustion of wood does exist, it is produced in very reduced quantities compared to other sectors.
Finally, wood heating is one of the green heating methods, marked by energy transition initiatives, and therefore by public authorities..
Wood heating: what possibilities
You will understand, wood heating can use two types of fuel: logs and pellets. The two possibilities have different arguments that will appeal to different profiles.
The most traditional solution is to burn logs. This simple system, which is relatively well known, offers very aesthetic combustion, ease of maintenance and easy storage.
On the other hand, log appliances are less expensive than their pellet counterparts.
The disadvantages are a slightly higher price per kW, a limited efficiency and a lower autonomy than that of pellets..
Log heaters have been more oriented towards those who want a traditional auxiliary heater.
The granules solution
Pellet heaters have experienced enormous growth in recent years. It must be said that their advantages are numerous: the price per kW is very low, the ignition of the fire is very easy, and the efficiency can exceed 90%.
On the other hand, pellets do not offer a combustion as aesthetic as that of logs, they may require frequent recharging and above all, a storage space must be created to keep them dry..
Additional or total heating ?
To make the right choice for your home and lifestyle, it is imperative to consider the differences between biomass stoves and biomass boilers. Comparing these two systems can help you better understand the role of your wood heating..
The pans: Perfect as a complement
Stoves are currently the most popular wood heating in France, according to an Observ’ER study, with almost 300,000 units sold in 2018.
The stove is a piece of equipment that takes up little space and can be installed in the common rooms of the house, generally the living room..
These heaters are very aesthetic, which allows them to take place in the accommodation without having to be relegated to the boiler room.
Stoves, whether wood-fired or pellet-fueled, generally cannot be heating methods providing comfort heating for a large house on several floors. They are reserved for heating a particular floor or even 2 or 3 rooms.
On the other hand, these stoves generally cannot heat your sanitary water and cannot be equipped with an automatic recharging solution..
Boilers, the total solution
Biomass boilers are generally massive and unattractive because they are cut for performance, not style. They are thus installed in a boiler room, away from the living rooms.
The efficiency of these heating units is very high, making it possible to produce domestic hot water and to circulate the heating water in all the radiators in the house.
It is truly a complete heating system that can directly replace a gas or oil boiler.
Most often with pellet, these boilers can be associated with an automatic pellet refill system, to make your life easier..