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New European directive for fireplaces coming in 2012European Commission is preparing a new directive for fireplaces in Europe. Thisdirective will set minimum limits for the efficiency of a fireplace and regulate how muchcarbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, particulate emission, and nitrogen oxide can bereleased to the air from a fireplace.Old fireplaces are excluded from the directive, but many fireplace manufactures, likeUunisepät from Finland, have been taking these harmful effects already into accountin their production. This means that the directive will not affect the big and reliablefireplace manufacturers, who have been maintaining higher standards in their productdesign: for example Uunisepät have manufactured over 100 000 fireplaces that arealready according to the upcoming directive.The new regulation for fireplaces in the EC will come into use in 2012. All fireplaces,apart from sauna stoves and grills, will be under this directive. In Finland itself, thereare 2,2 million fireplaces – and most of them will not fulfill the upcoming EC directive.Fireplace manufacturers from Finland have set up campaigns in order to get oldfireplaces under the same regulation as well. Most of the manufacturers have alreadyfollowed similar kinds of, or even stricter, regulations in their product design, and theysee old fireplaces as a risk for the whole industry.The reason for this directive is both environmental and health related. According tosome estimates, in the year 2000 there were 200 premature deaths in Finland causedby particle emissions released incorrectly from burning wood. The real numbers arehard to count, as old fireplaces are seldom tested. It’s telling of the importance of thisissue by that the government of Finland started its own law-drafting for fireplacestandards in 2006. The project was cancelled when the European Commission’sdrafts were published.The Finnish fireplace manufacturer Uunisepät has taken into use a new testing
laboratory for fireplace testing. This laboratory is equipped with all the modernmeasuring devices for concluding the tests related to burning processes and fireplacesafety.This new laboratory for fireplace research makes it possible to run long termexperimentations on fireplaces and fire burning processes. One of the main objectivesof the laboratory is to study how the cleanest possible burning process is conducted.These tests are important for the nature and for fireplace users; it was estimated, thatin year the 2000 there were 200 premature deaths in Finland caused by particleemissions released from burning wood incorrectly. One can only imagine what thesenumbers are worldwide.The importance of studying the burning process is underlined by the fact that the newEuropean Commission’s directive for fireplace emission values will be introduced inthe year 2012. The new directive will set the limits for the level of fireplace carbonmonoxide, hydrocarbon, particle emission, and nitrogen oxide that are released intothe air during the burning process. The focus of this new directive is on newfireplaces, so it will have a direct effect on fireplace manufacturers. Companies likeUunisepät, who have been maintaining high standards and running tests since thebeginning of the company, are not affected much by this directive: for example,Uunisepät has produced already over 100 000 fireplaces that are following the limitsof the upcoming European Commission’s directive.Since the beginning of the company, Uunisepät has been running tests to optimize thesafety and ecology of their fireplace products – so this laboratory is just one stepfurther in the research conducted by Uunisepät on the subject. In product testing,Uunisepät co-operates with VTT, The Technical Research Center of Finland.Uunisepät has also been an active member in all national development projectsrelated to fireplace development.