As the winter nights draw in, there’s nothing more appealing that curling up with a glass of wine by a roaring log fire. Except of course for the fact that log or coal fires use up valuable natural resources and fossil fuels and damage our environment. But if the idea of cuddling up next to your loved one opposite a piping hot radiator dampens your enthusiasm somewhat, fear not.
Thankfully, recent developments in the bio-fuels market have enabled fireplace manufacturers to develop credible ‘real-flame’ solutions to meet all your romantic log fire needs. Using a pure plant derivative (bio-ethanol), designers can now offer flame-effect fires which will warm the eco-homes of the future.
Bio-fires offer an interesting green alternative to natural coal, peat, log or gel fires. The denatured ethanol which is used to fuel the fire is smokeless and odourless, making it ideal for a wide range of homes and outdoor spaces. The smokeless quality of bio-fuel also means that no chimney is required, thus making installation quick and easy.
Most bio-fuelled fires allow the ethanol to be sprayed onto a porous block at the centre of the fire. When lit, the ethanol produces a stable flame, with the porous block delivering a steady release of ethanol fuel. The flames are usually extinguished through a remote sliding system on the side of the unit, to maximise user safety.
These environmentally friendly eco-fires also provide up to six hours of burn time, leading a number of manufacturers to claim that bio-fuelled fires are more economical and deliver better overall heat performance than the earlier brands of gel fires. The fireplaces themselves are largely indistinguishable from gas fires, and leave no residue. Bio-fires also emit about the same amount of heat as ordinary electric fires – and yet they’re fuelled entirely by renewable resources.
Style and substance
Manufacturers have not compromised on the design front either. Many suppliers offer a wide range of bio-fire styles and sizes to suit homes and gardens of all shapes and sizes. From contemporary free-standing fires to more traditional fireplace inserts, alongside bespoke or custom made bio-fires for more unusual spaces – including, wait for it, swimming pools – there really is a bio-fire for everyone.
Bio-fires are clearly an innovative eco-solution for 21st century living, providing a fantastic alternative to the traditional log fire. And with average prices ranging from $800-2000 they’re competitively priced. The bio-fire is clearly a great investment for both the environmentally conscious and the hopeless romantics among us! Time to uncork that bottle…