The Cost of Wood Heating

by Breathe Clean Air

Many think of wood heating as a pleasurable, inexpensive source of heat. But what about the other costs?

Email Addresses

If you would like to write a letter to your local or provincial representatives, you can cut and paste their emails from our contact list (PDF, updated Jan. 10 2023). Be sure to cc our group!

Breathe Clean Air Documents

Wood Smoke in the Comox Valley

Rebates for new wood stoves: Not an effective solution to pollution

Sources of Wood Smoke in the Comox Valley
Sources of Wood Smoke

Breathe Clean Air Graphics

All Wood Stoves Pollute

Wood heat is not climate neutral

What people hear

Risk of Exposure

Home heating in Comox Valley

National Non-smoking Week

Toxins in Smoke

Educational Ad

Other websites

Non-profit Websites

Doctors & Scientists Against Wood Smoke Pollution
This website is highly recommended for comprehensive information on health impacts, up-to-date research related to wood smoke and important issues such as wood stove exchange programs and biomass burning.

Families for Clean Air (California)

Canadian Lung Association (on wood burning)

Comox Valley Nurses for Health & the Environment (air quality page)


Reports about the Comox Valley

(Most recent at top)

Patterns of Air Quality and Meteorology in Courtenay B.C. 2011-2016 (August 2017). This report examines patterns in ambient air quality and meteorology in the city of Courtenay BC for the period 2011-2016. It highlights the strong correlation between calm winds from west to northwest and high fine particulate (PM2.5) levels. The study also is clear that residential wood burning is a significant source of fine particulates. Open burning and yard waste burning are also factors.

Residential Woodsmoke Monitoring Report (Comox Valley--January-February 2017). Summary report from 2 weeks of mobile monitoring in the winter of 2017 in Comox Valley. Read more about the study and the results in our news story. Or view our Mobile Monitoring Maps page for maps from this study and another mobile study done in 2008-09.

Biomass Burning as a Source of Ambient Fine Particulate Air Pollution and Acute Myocardial Infarction. Study released in 2017. Includes Comox Valley, Prince George and Kamloops and shows a 19% increase in risk of heart attacks for seniors when smoke levels increase.

Particulate Matter Emissions Inventory for the Comox Valley 2015 Base Year. Study is from March 2017. It looks at annual sources of emissions of PM2.5 in the Comox Valley. Top 2 are open burning and residential wood heat.

Georgia Strait Air Zone Report (2011-2013). Study highlights how Courtenay is worst community of 13 in the study area in terms of fine particulate pollution.

Monitoring of Fine Particulate Matter in Comox Valley. Includes monitoring maps from 2008-09 showing where fine particulate pollution is the worst in the Comox Valley. Also see our Mobile Monitoring Maps page.

Systematic identification and prioritization of communities impacted by residential woodsmoke in British Columbia (abstract only). Study shows Courtenay is 2nd worst smoke impacted community in BC. Write to Dr. Sarah Henderson if you would like a copy of the report.

State of the Air Report 2017 (BC Lung Association). This issue focuses on wood smoke pollution and shows how Courtenay ranks in BC for different pollution levels.

State of the Air Report 2016 (BC Lung Association)

Inventory of Wood-burning Appliance Use in BC


Additional Resources

What Makes A Successful Woodsmoke Reduction Program by D.L Robinson

This is an excellent document that highlights what makes a successful program, and outlines the shortcomings of programs that have relied on education on burning and changing to newer stoves.

Tools for reducing wood smoke pollution from wood heating by Jennell Ellis

This  paper focuses exclusively on tools targeting the reduction of wood smoke from home heating.  The research explored current, new or innovative regulatory tools or programs that have been used, or could be used, to reduce wood smoke in communities (in BC, Canada or internationally).

As wood stove upgrades and better burning education approaches have been discussed extensively elsewhere, and have dominated the field of wood smoke reduction initiatives for years, the focus of this research was on other approaches.