The end of 2014 has seen us take a massive technology leap forwards, and backwards, at Chipley. We have installed a large boiler that is fuelled by logs. We will be supplying our house and a cottage with wood-fired central heating.
If it performs well we will expand the network to hook up neighbouring houses.
We are established fans of wood-fuelled heating. We rely a lot on our clearview stoves, and we are lucky to have a lot of trees at Chipley.
Right now, we are burning yew. Don’t freak out, part of an old yew toppled over two years ago and we tidied it up a bit and left the rest to rot or regenerate, as yews often do.
As I light a fire, I can identify the tree that gave us the wood. So far we have relied entirely on trees that have fallen over in the wind. One of the huge limes on the avenue came down five years ago, and we are still burning it.
Boxing day winds felled another tree.
Feeding the new mega boiler (I may name her Bertha) is going to change this. I have started writing a forestry plan to provide fuel for us for decades to come. Apparently a 3-bed house burns 3 tonnes of dry wood a year. I am still trying to calculate what our use will be, which is difficult given we will add more properties to the supply network.
Rather than worry about exact figures, I plan to overestimate our wood consumption. What is the worst that could happen? We plant more trees than we need. Excellent.
Many of the trees that provide good fuel are also beautiful native species. Beech, elm, wild cherry, hornbeam and oak burn very well. We don’t need to sacrifice beauty for utility, we can have both.