Main content area

Firewood demand and energy policy in south-central Chile

Schueftan, Alejandra, Sommerhoff, Jorge, González, Alejandro D.
Energy for sustainable development 2016 v.33 pp. 26-35
air pollution, combustion, energy, energy policy, energy poverty, fuelwood, households, income, particulate emissions, particulates, surveys, Chile
Firewood is the major fuel for household heating in south-central Chile and combustion of wood is the major source of air pollution by particulate matter (PM) emissions in this region. This paper discusses various strategies for lowering emissions from household wood combustion and their effectiveness in reducing air contamination. A survey of 2025 households and previous analysis performed with these data showed large consumption of wood fuel for heating in dwellings in Valdivia. The main variable identified is the low thermal efficiency of household envelope. Low efficiency of household envelope, low comfort, and a large share of income dedicated to energy, determines a high level of energy poverty. We have modeled the thermal retrofitting of dwellings under three efficiency scenarios, including stoves’ and house’s envelope improvements. Retrofitting houses led to energy poverty alleviation; in contrast, improvement of heating appliances alone does not alleviate energy poverty nor improve indoor comfort.