Fireplaces that tick the eco box

The weather has cooled, and our thoughts turn to cosy nights in our living rooms warming by the fire. The traditional log burner has always been a focal point of the house but what if you can’t have the necessary flue in situ for the smoke? And with increased concern on the sustainability of timber, are there in fact cleaner safer alternatives?

Fireplaces that tick the eco box - open fireplace

What are bio fireplaces?

This is a solution for people who want an alternative to wood burners. The smoke from wood burners is a contributing factor to particulate pollution. Bio fireplaces use environmentally friendly fuels that burn clean meaning there is no need for a chimney or flue and they also don’t require a power or gas connection. This means that as a solution, bio fireplaces give much more freedom with the design and location in the home.

Why choose a gel fire

With environmental and sustainability concerns increasing, clients are turning to gel fires as an alternative to the traditional wood burners. Wood itself is considered carbon neutral in that it emits the same amount whether burned or left to rot. It’s the usage side in terms of providing logs for a wood burner and whether they come from a sustainable source that has eco implications. Gel and bioethanol fuel sources are created using the by-products of other materials thus reducing waste. A gel fire is also the perfect solution for a small space or apartment living as there are no smoke emissions.

difference between gel and bioethanol fires

With a bioethanol solution you end up with a soundless fire whereas gel fuel crackles due to the salt content simulating wood fire. The other main comparisons are shown below.

Gel Fuel
Bioethanol Fuel
MaterialMade from isopropyl alcohol, water and salt
Plant based, fermentation of crops such as wheat or corn
DurationApprox 400g will burn for 2.5hrsAround 1 litre of fuel will give 5 hrs of burn time approx
ByproductsNo soot or ash. Water vapour & carbon in permitted levels
No soot or ash. Water vapour & carbon in permitted levels
Control of flamesFlame size cant be regulated in that it is on or off
Flame can be regulated through use of a lid
HeatSubtle warmth, not primary heat source
Subtle warmth, not primary heat source


Gel fire built into furniture

We were recently commissioned with making a TV unit for a client that incorporated a gel fire as part of the design. This was an exciting challenge for the team with the dual nature of this piece designed to be the focal point of the room. The main doors were constructed using Portland Grey Silkwood veneers and were finished with a surround trim in satin brushed brass. The doors either side of the fire were coated in bronze effect metal lacquer. Underneath the fire itself the stone slab and plinth were made from Cerlasio Ossido. Though all may not be as straight forward as it seems. When introducing a fire into a piece of furniture, there is a critical factor that must be considered: heat transmission. Therefore, the area around the fire must be built with fire rated materials, including the finishing lacquers and innovative design to prevent or achieve as minimal heat transmission as possible. The overall effect was both beautiful and inviting.

Fireplaces that tick the eco box
Fireplaces that tick the eco box

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