Jackie Guigui-Stolberg
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Germans Love the Tiled Stove: Ecological, Economical, and High on the Cosiness Scale

Munich, Germany Cultural January 21 @ 2:37pm

It's found in palaces, farmhouses, and old stagecoach inns, but also in many newly-built homes in Germany: the Kachelofen or tiled stove. And no wonder: it radiates heat for as long as twenty-four hours with locally grown wood as fuel. The warmth of the stove is stored in its stone core and tiled exterior, creating a type of heat that is particularly cosy and long-lasting. Many Germans enjoy the primordial ritual of stoking up a fire at breakfasttime and basking in its comfort throughout the day or looking forward to its toasty warmth when they return from work in the evening. In many parts of Germany, wood is abundant and, by buying wood directly from farmers, people take advantage of a local source of energy that is cheaper and more ecological than heating oil. Selling wood for Kachelöfen gives farmers, many of whom have inherited forests as well as arable land, an extra source of income. By nurturing forests that include a variety of trees for firewood, farmers promote biodiversity. Also,as the farmers battle the invasion of Asian bark beetles, they are careful to remove excess fallen wood from forest floors and are glad to find buyers for it, often within their own villages. When heating with wood instead of fossil fuels, the only CO2 released into the air is the amount that the trees absorbed just a short time ago in order to grow. For this story I could speak to forest-owners, home owners, tiled-stove builders, and government officials about the advantages of using tiled stoves. I could provide my own photos for this story or find high-quality photos for you from other sources.
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