Fireplaces are used in approximately 80% of detached houses in the metropolitan area. The harmful effects of emissions caused by wood burning often peak in wintertime, resulting in lower air quality, especially in densely built residential areas with detached houses.
Fine particles pose the greatest environmental health risk and cause approximately 1,600–1,800 premature deaths per year in Finland. Wood burning accounts for approximately 13% of these. This means that, according to an estimate by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), small-scale wood burning causes approximately 250 premature deaths per year in Finland.
In the metropolitan area, wood burning causes more fine particle emissions than energy production or transport.
Approximately half of fine particle emissions related to combustion in the metropolitan area are estimated to come from the use of fireplaces. Heat-retaining fireplaces cause one third of these, and wood-heated sauna heaters cause one third of them.
Combustion-based particle emissions by source in the metropolitan area
The graph indicates where combustion-based fine particle emissions come from. Particle emissions from fireplaces have not decreased at the same pace as particle emissions from road traffic and energy production, meaning that their total share of particle emissions has increased. (Ilmansaasteiden päästötrendit pääkaupunkiseudulla, Helsinki Region Environmental Services HSY)
Burn wood cleanly
If you burn wood in a fireplace, read the guide to low-emission wood burning on the HSY website.