But in Europe, buying a home is very different than in North America. You might buy a flat that has not been renovated in two hundred years, and have to do everything over, including the heating. A small, attractive and efficient unit can sit in the living room and heat the entire home. It appears to be a big market there; the websites of companies like CLAM have lots of models and a network of retail stores and installers. That just doesn't exist in North America.
Some companies make dozens of models and designs; Nordica seems to specialize in models that look like TV sets.
These things are designed to be looked at and admired, like this sexy RIKA stove. Justin wrote:
Rika, a company based in Austria, makes these pellets stoves with an emphasis on aesthetics as well as function. The stoves have an appealing appearance, but also sport features such as microprocessor temperature-guided boiler adjustments and cellular phone remote activation (egads!)
More at Rika Pellet Stoves
It's not just Europe that offers good modern design; In Japan you can buy this frorm Shimotani. More at Shimotani Pellet Stoves that Look Good
There are developments in North America; Snoqualmie Stove Works continues development of their amazing Alpental radiant heat pellet stove that looks right out of Raymond Loewey's office; they are having a few problems getting it into production.
It looks the way it does because of the way it works:
The SNQ-1 uses 100% of its surface area as aheat exchanger; from the point of ignition, to the exhaust exit point, the SNQ-1 radiates heat. The stove is based on advanced and radically different "Combustion Capsule" technology and a unique pellet delivery system. Together, these technical advances offer new and innovative design opportunities and elements that are patent pending.
And finally, there does appear to be one European vendor who is selling in the United States and Canada. Ecotek appears to have a number of dealers across the country.
They try to make a strong case for the environmental friendliness of the product as well.
Wood is a renewable source of energy and burns very cleanly. What little residue is left over after combustion is completely diodegradable and does not interfere with the delicate natural balance of the planet. Studies have shown that CO2 released into the atmosphere when wood decomposes is re-absorbed by the growth and development of new trees.
More at Ecoteck USA.
So are pellet stoves the answer? It can depend on where you live and the availability of pellets. See Where To Get Wood Pellets. And is it really green?
Helen Suh MacIntosh wrote in Ask TreeHugger: Wood vs. Pellet Stoves:
Pellet stoves, which generally use wood and/or corn based substrates, are more complicated but also pollute less than the EPA-certified wood burning stoves and in fact, any other heating appliance that burns solid fuels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that traditional fireplaces be replaced with non-wood burning stoves (for example, vented gas stoves), pellet stoves, or EPA certified modern wood stoves.