Residential burning with wood is the biggest source of particulate matter and soot/black carbon in Europe. The share of harmful particulate matter (PM) and soot caused by private wood burning is growing significantly within the EU and the issue of particulate matter caused by wood burning has yet to be appropriately addressed.
The LIFE - CLEAN HEAT project aimed to significantly reduce PM caused by wood burning in seven EU Member States by around 15-20% in the medium term. To reach this goal, the project planned to:
The project planned to organise a photo competition, create a short film and a mobile exhibition, and host talks by experts to raise awareness and discuss technical and political approaches for a reduction in air pollutants caused by wood burning. The results would be disseminated in workshops in other European countries.
The CLEAN HEAT campaign project promoted the reduction of emissions from wood burning in Germany, Denmark and other Member States, raising awareness among all relevant stakeholders and the general public. It moreover promoted the development of emission reduction techniques and demanded stricter emission limits.
Its media campaigns reached more than 60 million EU citizens, via social and print media, TV reports and the distribution of a range of information brochures. The short video, which was produced, is still being distributed and had received more than 165 000 clicks on social media platforms at the end of the project.
The expert talks in Germany and Denmark as well as the workshops with political decision-makers in several EU countries were especially successful. Good practice examples were discussed and networking among the focus countries was enhanced. This platform will be continued after the project upon request by the experts.
The project also focused on the measurement of particle emissions related to firewood stoves. Outdoor measurements in several EU countries showed that wood burning leads to high PM emissions comparable to busy roads. High ultra-fine particle emissions, which have been shown to cause cardiovascular diseases, were measured indoors with new measuring devices. When particles especially the ultrafine ones enter the human body, they can cause and aggravate a variety of serious health problems: cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, cardiac arrhythmia, lung diseases such as asthma, and even cancer. The results of the emission measurements were very useful for demonstrating the reduction potential of new filter and precipitation techniques. The results also helped to develop standards for the new Blue Angel eco-label for firewood stoves in Germany. In December 2019, the eco-label was officially decided by the independent jury of the Blue Angel environmental label, that is organised by the federal government of Germany for the protection of people and the environment.
Clean Heat advocated for air quality safeguards in the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED)/Governance Regulation. DUH approached the German Members of the EU Parliament Committee on Environment (ENVI) to include air quality safeguards in the revision of the RED. In addition, Clean Heat contributed to the inclusion of additional reporting obligations in the Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action. As an outcome EC asked the German government to specify the air quality impact of the planned measures in its draft National Energy and Climate Plan.
Furthermore, the project contributed to the implementation of National Air Pollution Control Programmes (NAPCP) through discussions at workshops in Member States, participation at public consultations and analysis of the NAPCPs. Clean Heat highlighted the ineffectiveness of draft NAPCPs in addressing particulate emissions from wood burning. By the end of the project, NGOs involved in Clean Heat had submitted action plans with policy recommendations. These organisations operate in Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).