In Health News the other day, it was reported that San Francisco was considering placing a ban on fireplaces. Public hearings have been held since November in the Bay Area to determine whether fireplaces are all that healthy for the home. But fireplaces have been a part of American life for years, what seems to be the problem?
Are the fires in our homes bad because they add to global warming?
Release carbon dioxide into the air?
Pollute the atmosphere with soot and particulate matter?
But, San Francisco is not the only city considering taking wood burning fireplaces out of the home. Surrounding areas such as Santa Rosa, San Jose, San Mateo and Sacramento are all taking similar actions that would stop the addition of fireplaces in newly built homes. The legislation would further require the removal of fireplaces that aren’t EPA-Approved whenever a home is sold. Los Angeles County and Orange County have similar policies they are trying to push through.
Yet this doesn’t make the first time we’ve ever heard of this. I reported on a European trend when I wrote “The Threat of Traditional Fireplaces: European Communities Lead the Way” back in February of 2007. The trend was wide spread to stop the installation of wood burning fireplaces in newly built homes. That’s as far back as I can say this new way of thinking got its start. I can’t find any other origin. But, that’s not the issue. The issue is the future of the fireplace.
We’ve been enjoying them for years. Fireplaces are the hallmark of farmhouses and log cabins all across America. But, that’s wide open territory. When you shove housing together in apartment buildings and townhouse units, Cul-de-sacs and suburban developments, wood burning fireplaces can become an annoyance. Not only are they an annoyance for the neighbors, but for the atmosphere.
But, the crackle of a fire after a hard day is a nice way to unwind and gain your sanity back. People don’t want to give up that ambiance. The kids doing homework in front of the fireplace while the parents read a book is an American image from the Rockwell collection itself. Grandma enjoying her crochet in front of the fireplace is another setting that helps to define America.
Finding the alternative to the wood burning fireplace is the answer then. West Harbour City nestled in the Toronto waterfront has found the answer for its beautiful Canadian Condominium Projects. They purchased a ventless gel unit for each of their condominium units. They even advertise that fact as a selling point that has lead to great success for moving the units.
In the wide open territories, wood burning fireplaces can do no harm. But, most people live in the tight world of city dwelling. Alternatives should always be looked for to any pollution problem we encounter. The removal of wood burning fireplaces might be a little drastic and costly, but working toward cleaning up the world should always be an ultimate goal for the generations who will inherit the earth after us.