Could the fireplace be a cheaper heating alternative to high energy prices in Norway?
Sky-high energy prices have left many seriously weighing up whether to heat their homes with firewood this winter. The Local talked to an industry expert to see if using a wood-burning stove or fireplace could help you save cash.
As is the case throughout Europe, electricity prices in Norway are at record levels. August saw the highest monthly energy prices ever recorded in southern Norway.
The electricity price level – especially in southern Norway – has prompted a lot of people to look into buying a fireplace or a wood-burning stove in an attempt to mitigate the seemingly ever-growing electricity bills.
According to public broadcaster NRK, multiple retailers in southern Norway are reporting increased wood-burning stove and fireplace sales.
"If I compare (sales in) July this year and July last year, we probably have an increase in July of around 50 percent," Helge Jansen, the general manager of the Stavanger Varmesenter store, told the national broadcaster, adding that sales started to spike as early as April.
Could the fireplace help you save cash this winter?
Øyvind Stranna Larsen, technical expert at Norsk Ved Forum for vedprodusenter – a professional forum for wood producers with around 3,000 members, established in 1991 – told The Local that heating with firewood is likely to be much cheaper than relying on electricity this winter.
"Heating with firewood will be much cheaper if we look at the electricity prices we're now expecting to occur during the winter, absolutely," Stranna Larsen said.
He explained that the Norsk Ved organisation bases its pricing expectations on an annual survey among its members - wood producers.
"Our expectations are based on our member survey. Our organisation, Norsk Ved Forum for vedprodusenter, is a forum for wood producers. Every year, we ask our members – among many other things – about their prices during the last heating season, if they plan to increase prices eventually, and by how much.
"In the 2022 survey, 80 percent of our members answered that they would increase the prices by 15 percent. 20 percent of them said they would not increase the price. So, the average expected price increase was 15 percent.
"So, if we look at the prices last year and increase them by 15 percent... Let's take a sack of birch of 1,500 litres; it would cost approximately 1,710 kroner – 1.17 kroner per kWh in usable energy. This price per kWh of usable energy for firewood can directly be compared with the electricity price per kWh," the technical expert stated.
In August, southern Norway had an average monthly price of 4.34 kroner per kWh throughout the month, while eastern Norway saw an average of 3.44 kroner per kWh. This means the kroner per kWh of using firewood to heat your home is cheaper than energy. However, energy can be used to power the whole home, while firewood can't.
Furthermore, Stranna Larsen shared a few recommendations for people looking to save money this winter.
The Norsk Ved Forum has a digital map covering the whole country so you can see firewood producers near you. The map also includes the contact details of the firewood producers, allowing you to get in touch for a quote.
Additionally, Larsen said that people should buy firewood directly from the source rather than from stores.
"Remember, if you want cheap firewood, we recommend that you buy it directly from those who produce firewood, instead of petrol stations or other places that are not producing it," he concluded.
Thinking about switching to heating with wood? Make sure to read our tips on getting and setting up a wood-burning stove or fireplace.