Should Danish homes use fireplaces as an alternative heating source?

People who live in homes with hearths and fireplaces may be considering using them more this winter as the cost of gas and electricity soars.

Should Danish homes use fireplaces as an alternative heating source?
Environmental experts have warned against burning firewood as an alternative heating source this winter. File photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

But those planning to burn firewood as an alternative way of heating their homes this winter have been encouraged to consider the environmental implications of such a decision, local Danish media TV2 Lorry reports.

As well as being a source of pollution, fireplaces can be a hazard to health, the media writes.

Smoke from firewood is a major contributor to particle pollution, doctor and professor Torben Sigsgaard of Aarhus University’s Department of Public Health told TV2 Lorry.

“In the end, this will mean more smoke in the atmosphere, which has a documented and very negative effect on health,” he said, noting that more smoke in the air is a risk factor for cancer and lung diseases.

Retailers have in recent weeks reported increased demand for firewood as gas and energy prices go up and are expected to further increase in the coming months.

READ ALSO: How much will Danish energy bills go up this winter?

This has in turn led to the price of firewood going up, along with low stocks and a risk of stockpiling. Some sellers have introduced sales limits while others have sold out.

Fireplaces are the least advisable way of warming a home, however, according to Steffen Loft, a professor at the Department of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen.

“Fireplaces emit far more particle pollution than almost all other forms of heating,” Loft said.

“If you are doing it to save some money, you should reconsider – not just for your own health but also for your neighbours. There’s also a certain responsibility to those you live close to,” he told TV2 Lorry.

A study of around 16,000 fireplaces in Copenhagen was found to emit as many small particles during the winter months than road traffic did during a full year, according to the media.

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Nord Stream 2 pipeline has stopped leaking gas under Baltic Sea: spokesman

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is no longer leaking under the Baltic Sea because an equilibrium has been reached between the gas and water pressure, a spokesman told AFP.

Nord Stream 2 pipeline has stopped leaking gas under Baltic Sea: spokesman

“The water pressure has more or less closed the pipeline so that the gas which is inside can’t go out,” Nord Stream 2 spokesman Ulrich Lissek said.

“The conclusion is that there is still gas in the pipeline,” he added.

Asked how much gas was believed to be in the pipeline, Lissek said: “That is the one-million-dollar question.”

Information on the status of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline leak, which was significantly larger, was not immediately available.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, have been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following Moscow’s
invasion of Ukraine.

While the pipelines are not currently in operation, they both still contained gas before they fell victim to apparent sabotage, producing four leaks.

Nord stream leak site

One of the Nord Stream leak sites photographed by the Swedish Coast Guard. A Danish-Swedish report said on Friday that the leaks were caused by blasts equal to “several hundred kilos of TNT”. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard.
Gas nearly exhausted

A Danish-Swedish report released on Friday concluded the leaks were caused by underwater explosions corresponding to hundreds of kilogrammes of explosives.

“All available information indicates that those explosions are the result of a deliberate act,” the countries said.

The source of the explosions has remained a mystery, however, with both Moscow and Washington denying responsibility.

All the leaks, which were discovered on Monday, are in the Baltic Sea off the Danish island of Bornholm.

Two of the leaks are located in the Swedish exclusive economic zone, and the two others in the Danish one.

Lissek said Nord Stream 2 had informed the Danish energy regulator earlier Saturday that the pipeline had stopped leaking gas.

Danish authorities had said the leaks would continue until the gas in the pipelines is exhausted, which is expected to occur on Sunday.

The Swedish coastguard said late Friday that the leaks on Nord Stream 2 showed signs of weakening due to the exhaustion of the gas contained in the pipes.

The diameter of the sea surface “boiling” caused by the leak in the Swedish exclusive economic zone was now only 20 metres (66 feet) wide, 10 times smaller than at the start.

The leak on Nord Stream 1 had also started to weaken on Friday, with surface diameter down to 600 metres in diameter, down from between 900 and 1,000 metres on Monday.