The Traditional Fireplace: Real Fire or Eco-Alternative?

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In a period or contemporary home, there is perhaps no better focal point in a room than a fireplace. In a traditional setting (such as is seen in the first photograph), there is something wonderfully calming, too, about watching the flames of a real fire, hearing the pop and crackle.

Sadly, though, there are heavy downsides to a real fire. First, there are stringent building regulations to be met. Chimneys must be lined to regulation standard, ventilation must be adequate and the hearth must be of certain proportions, for a start. Of greater concern is the environmental impact of burning solid fuel. Producing harmful emissions that pollute the local atmosphere, it contributes to the build-up of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

Enter bioethanol fires. Nowadays, these are regularly seen in a contemporary setting. Perhaps more surprisingly, though, a bioethanol burner can equally be used in a traditional fireplace. The second and third photographs show fireplaces in which such a burner was specified.

Biofuel, which comes from renewable sources such as corn and potato, produces no harmful emissions. It burns clean and is carbon neutral. There is no need for a flue or vent, they are easy to install and very little maintenance is involved. What is more, 100% of the heat produced is retained in the room.