We've been conducting a little experiment this winter... heating the house with the fireplace instead of the foul smelling, sooty mazout (oil) in the chauffage (central heating device) and I have to admit, I love it. There is some debate about how carbon neutral burning wood actually is, but the consensus seems to be that the carbon released by burning is not adding to the total carbon footprint, as the tree absorbed the carbon to begin with (the same holds true for petroleum products however that absorption was millions of years ago) and that by burning wood, new trees absorb the carbon faster than the earth does to make coal, etc.
Of course, the Swiss know a thing or two about forest management, having had a couple of thousand years to get it right. Every commune has a forest, that is planted, harvested and neatly stacked for curing and sale, done in that tidy Swiss way. We've burned through about 4 stere (one stere =one cubic meter of wood) so far and it's considerably cheaper than burning oil.
2 stere all stacked.
But for me the very best part is caveman TV. I could sit and watch the fire all day. I am soothed by the glow, excited by the whole chemical process going on and find myself relaxing and thinking about things that seem somehow more important than who is in the top running on X Factor or Master Chef this week.
PS It's also allowed the Big G to make continuous 'wood' jokes as well, much to his endless amusement.