Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange
25

I tend to think renewables (like wood) are a more sustainable heat source than natural gas. There are tradeoffs of course. Most fireplaces are pretty inefficient and can result in a lot of particulates. A wood stove (sometimes mistaken for regular fireplaces) or a pellet stove ensure much more complete burning of the fuel (wood), but require an extra up ...


22

Open fireplaces provide minimal heat to a house, as the warm air heads out the chimney, while cool air is sucked in to the house to replace it. This is a great feature when cooking over wood in the summer, but it's not helpful for staying warm in the winter. You can buy a woodstove insert that will improve the efficiency, keeping more of the heat in your ...


11

The question starts with a premise that sustainability is relative. Natural gas is natural resource just like petroleum. They arise from similar processes and are generally found together although the ratios vary. Natural gas (particularly methane) is also produced by living organisms. As a natural resource, 'pure' sustainability would require you to consume ...


9

A fire in a fireplace is pretty to look at but is probably the most inefficient way to heat a home. Not because wood is a poor fuel, which it really isn't, but rather that it is an incredibly poor design for a heating source. A huge amount of the heat goes straight up the chimney. If you really want to use wood as a fuel source the most efficient way to ...


5

There's two things to consider when looking at the efficiency of a wood stove: Clean, complete burning - wood stove rely on natural convection to supply air to the fire. This usually means in practice that the stove is most efficient when it's burning "full throttle", meaning most of the wood in the fireplace is actually burning. Form of the heat - in an ...


5

Natural gas is not sustainable - it is a finite resource. However, among fossile fuels natural has one advantage: Lowest CO2 emissions per energy content - because with Methane (the main component) the biggest part of the calorific value comes from the hydrogen. Natural gas used to be flared off if extracted together with oil (because of the handling ...


5

The amount of energy needed From EnergyNumber's answer to the electricity version of this question: ...the energy needed is 180,000 x 45 x 4.2 = 34 MJ 1kWh = 1000W x 3600s = 3.6 MJ Hence, the energy needed is 34/3.6 = 9.5 kWh. Types of gas and units of measure Two types of gas are typically used for heating and cooking purposes in homes: LPG ...


4

If you have access to electricity that comes from renewable sources (sun, wind, hydro, waves, biofuel) or from nuclear, then I would recommend getting a heat pump. Simply said a heat pump takes energy from the outside and puts it on the inside, sort of like a refrigerator, but done the other way around. Heat pumps lower the electric usage significantly ...


4

Extracting natural gas from pingos is likely not cost-effective. From the article cited in the question: A count of 7,000 pingos, alternative included, was likely an underestimate, in Romanovsky’s view. Across the entire Arctic permafrost, he estimated there may be as many as 100,000. But he could not say how many fell into which category — a ...


3

A couple of factors. Methane is a greenhouse gas but can be produced in some ways sustainably (methane digesters, etc). It has the lowest energy density per volume or weight. It is also lighter than air. Nitrogen has a molecular weight of 14, while methane is at 10. Ethane, Propane, and so forth are going to be heavier than air. Ethane has a molecular ...


3

I found this interesting research paper that answers some of your questions, at least for US power plants. For people who don't like to read research papers, there's an easier-to-read summary in this Science Daily article. The research paper discusses carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from both coal and natural ...


3

It's pure greenwash. Natural gas is not sustainable - it's the direct depletion of natural resources. It is possible to generate methane (the predominant energy carrier within natural gas) sustainably, e.g. from biomass in anaerobic digesters; or synthetically, powered by renewable energy. However, unless you have a supplier that guarantees sustainable ...


2

Be careful with wood fireplaces — most emit A LOT of very bad particulate matter! Burning wood in a common type of stove may result in more particulate matter than a diesel truck and may carry more carcinogens than a diesel or petrol exhaust. In the United Kingdom, where many people have such stoves or even open hearths, wood burning generates twice as ...


2

Any water heater built in the last 10 years will be significantly more energy efficient than your stove. At the same time you might want to consider a number of other variables if you are really into crunching the numbers on this. 1) you mentioned that your pipes are not insulated but didn't say how much pipe the water travels through before reaching your ...


2

Stovetop vs water heater efficiency A gas stove-top is about 44% efficient (source), and a modern natural gas water heater with a tank is up to 67% efficient (source (pdf)). Basic formula From this answer on Chemistry.SE, the energy needed to heat a liquid from one temperature to another is: Q = (mass)*(specific heat)*(change in temperature) For water, ...


2

A late-breaking development in this debate is recent data on leakage in natural gas production and distribution systems. A group of researchers from universities, laboratories, and government labs around the U.S. published an article in Science earlier this year indicating that the magnitude of methane leaks from natural gas infrastructure has been ...


2

There are a couple reasons I would consider natural gas to be more sustainable than gasoline. The first is that it is quite possible to produce a significant amount of a workalike using sources we currently discard. Sewage treatment facilities could be turned into methane factories if we wanted, for example, and the same goes with manure from farms and the ...


2

Natural gas is just really, really old biogas The terms "natural gas" and "biogas" both describe a mix of gaseous hydrocarbons primarily composed of methane; the different names depend on the origin. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration: Natural gas occurs deep beneath the earth's surface. Natural gas consists mainly of methane, a ...


1

Unless you have your own or community biogas reactor then gas is not a renewable resource. Since the 1970s, China has been promoting the use of underground, individual household scale, anaerobic digesters to process rural organic wastes. There are approximately 5,000,000 households using anaerobic digesters in China. The digesters produce biogas that is ...


1

If you have access to enough green electricity to heat your home (and you will need a lot) then electric will be better. If you're grid connected then almost certainly gas (possibly even wood, especially if you burn oxygen starved and bury the biochar) is better. Consider that increasingly gas is a power source used on the grid, so if you use electricity ...


1

No, because with this limited data you cannot separately estimate the three components that make up a building's energy signature: the base load the base temperature the energy efficiency Even if we assume the base load (i.e. the part of the energy used for other things than heating) is zero, there's no way you can estimate the base temperature (i.e. the ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible