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The case for coal

Category: Barn Conversion Journal November 6th, 2008 by mbc

Now here’s a conundrum…

First the facts:

  • The barn lies just outside of the South Wales Coal Field.
  • Our heating system will comprise of solar thermal water heating (from in-roof panels) with a multi-fuel burner as the ‘primary’ heat source (& a backup electrical heating coil in the tank) [Read the background to that]
    (I’m still not sure if this stripped down heating system is a brave or foolish solution, but the decision is made and plans in place).
  • I will have a need to keep the multi-fuel burner fuelled, albeit infrequently, and providing some heat over-night and into the next day.
  • I have a free source of a couple of tons of anthracite that was mined locally – probably the longest journey it’ll take is from the garage where it’s lain unthought-of for the last 10 or 20 years to my place 7 miles away.
  • This is an area with no mains gas, so that isn’t an option.

Now the story:

Although I intend to burn the coal and buy coal in future to allow me a longer (overnight +), slower, gentler burn than I can get with wood alone, this has bothered me a little bit from the environmental perspective of the CO2 release.

However, the other day, as I was driving to the barn musing on that very point, I passed a big dirty tanker making a delivery of fuel oil to a house. That put a different perspective on things for me…

Why am I feeling guilty – surely it’s better for me to burn (relatively) clean, high grade coal that has been sourced locally than oil that has at least come from the North Sea and potentially from half way around the world!?

Add to that the fact that I plant trees and plan to plant more shortyly and I have to ask, do I have anything to feel guilty about?

Answers on a postcard or please post a comment below please!

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