Berkshire Real Estate: Fireplaces & Green Building

Wood-burning fireplace with burning log.
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I was just reading this article in the NYTimes that i would like to share with Berkshire Home Buyers and Owners

It appears as if  “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire” and all the Romantic notions and Imagery of sitting by the fireplace on a cold wintry Berkshire evening is becoming politically incorrect in the environmentally sensitive Green Building Community.

According to Diane Baileya senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco.  “The smoke from a fire smells very nice,”   “But it can cause a lot of harm.” The tiny particles, she said, “can cause inflammation and illness, and can cross into the bloodstream, triggering heart attacks” as well as worsening other conditions.

And last fall, an article on the Web site GreenBlizzard.com, “Cozy Winter Fires — Carbon Impact,” called wood-burning fires “a direct pollutant to you, your family and your community.”

The alternate position expressed by Stephen Sears, vice president of marketing for the Brick Industry Association voices his opinion which is shared by some others, that  most fireplaces are used far too infrequently to cause any real damage to the environment.

Here in the Berkshires with snowy cold winters, many of my clients,  some of who are second home buyers want  to have a fireplace, and sometimes more then one.  If you are looking at homes for sale in the Berkshires  and want a wood burning fireplace, and are eco sensitive, experts say, there are several ways to make it more environmentally friendly,  including using an energy-efficient wood or pellet stove certified by the Environmental Protection Agency or retrofitting a fireplace with an insert that fits into the mouth of a fireplace and enables it to heat more efficiently.

The article also gets into the the impact of cutting down trees vs. imported oil.  Many inthe green movement only use seasoned wood from trees that have naturally fallen down on either their property or a neighboring one.

It is an interesting debate.  I look forward to seeing how this eco trend impacts home buyer preferences in the Berkshire Real Estate market.

Here is the Link to the Article.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/garden/20fire.html?_r=1&ref=garden

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