LIFE - CLEAN HEAT - CLEAN HEAT: Reducing particulate matter caused by wood burning

LIFE14 GIE/DE/000490

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Contact details:

Contact person: Patrick HUTH
Tel: + 49 30 2400 867 77
Fax: +49 30 2400 867 99
Email: huth@duh.de

Project description:


Residential burning with wood is the biggest source of particulate matter and soot/black carbon in Europe. The share of harmful particulate matter (PM) and soot caused by private wood burning is growing significantly within the EU and the issue of particulate matter caused by wood burning has yet to be appropriately addressed.


The LIFE - CLEAN HEAT project aimed to significantly reduce PM caused by wood burning in seven EU Member States by around 15-20% in the medium term. To reach this goal, the project planned to:

  • Increase awareness and promote better handling/management of stoves;
  • Increase market share of stoves with fewer emissions;
  • Promote alternatives to wood burning;
  • Encourage the exchange of information, good governance and more ambitious regulation;
  • Advance development of better stoves/boilers; and
  • Promote labelling and measurement procedures for wood burning stoves.
  • The project planned to organise a photo competition, create a short film and a mobile exhibition, and host talks by experts to raise awareness and discuss technical and political approaches for a reduction in air pollutants caused by wood burning. The results would be disseminated in workshops in other European countries.


    The CLEAN HEAT campaign project promoted the reduction of emissions from wood burning in Germany, Denmark and other Member States, raising awareness among all relevant stakeholders and the general public. It moreover promoted the development of emission reduction techniques and demanded stricter emission limits.

    Its media campaigns reached more than 60 million EU citizens, via social and print media, TV reports and the distribution of a range of information brochures. The short video, which was produced, is still being distributed and had received more than 165 000 clicks on social media platforms at the end of the project.

    The expert talks in Germany and Denmark as well as the workshops with political decision-makers in several EU countries were especially successful. Good practice examples were discussed and networking among the focus countries was enhanced. This platform will be continued after the project upon request by the experts.

    The project also focused on the measurement of particle emissions related to firewood stoves. Outdoor measurements in several EU countries showed that wood burning leads to high PM emissions comparable to busy roads. High ultra-fine particle emissions, which have been shown to cause cardiovascular diseases, were measured indoors with new measuring devices. When particles especially the ultrafine ones enter the human body, they can cause and aggravate a variety of serious health problems: cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, cardiac arrhythmia, lung diseases such as asthma, and even cancer. The results of the emission measurements were very useful for demonstrating the reduction potential of new filter and precipitation techniques. The results also helped to develop standards for the new Blue Angel eco-label for firewood stoves in Germany. In December 2019, the eco-label was officially decided by the independent jury of the Blue Angel environmental label, that is organised by the federal government of Germany for the protection of people and the environment.

    Clean Heat advocated for air quality safeguards in the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED)/Governance Regulation. DUH approached the German Members of the EU Parliament Committee on Environment (ENVI) to include air quality safeguards in the revision of the RED. In addition, Clean Heat contributed to the inclusion of additional reporting obligations in the Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action. As an outcome EC asked the German government to specify the air quality impact of the planned measures in its draft National Energy and Climate Plan.

    Furthermore, the project contributed to the implementation of National Air Pollution Control Programmes (NAPCP) through discussions at workshops in Member States, participation at public consultations and analysis of the NAPCPs. Clean Heat highlighted the ineffectiveness of draft NAPCPs in addressing particulate emissions from wood burning. By the end of the project, NGOs involved in Clean Heat had submitted action plans with policy recommendations. These organisations operate in Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia.

    Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Air & Noise - Air pollutants
Information - Governance - Awareness raising - Information


air pollution‚  pollution control‚  environmental impact of energy‚  public awareness campaign

Target EU Legislation

  • Air
  • COM (2013/0918) - A Clean Air Programme for Europe (18.12.2013)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V.
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) is an independent non-profit environmental protection organisation, conducting projects on climate change and energy, law, nature conservation, local environmental protection, recycling and consumer protection. It has built a national network of local, regional and national stakeholders, including other environmental organisations and companies.
Partners DEC(Danish Ecological Council), Denmark


Project reference LIFE14 GIE/DE/000490
Duration 01-AUG-2015 to 31-DEC -2019
Total budget 1,191,440.00 €
EU contribution 714,204.00 €
Project location Schleswig-Holstein(Deutschland) Hamburg(Deutschland) Niedersachsen(Deutschland) Bremen(Deutschland) Nordrhein-Westfalen(Deutschland) Hessen(Deutschland) Rheinland-Pfalz(Deutschland) Baden-Württemberg(Deutschland) Bayern(Deutschland) Saarland(Deutschland) Berlin(Deutschland) Brandenburg(Deutschland) Mecklenburg-Vorpommern(Deutschland) Sachsen(Deutschland) Sachsen-Anhalt(Deutschland) Thüringen(Deutschland) Hovedstaden(Danmark) Sjælland(Danmark) Syddanmark(Danmark) Midtjylland(Danmark) Nordjylland(Danmark)


Read more:

Brochure "Heizen mit Holz: Umweltfolgen und Lösungsansätze" (1.22 MB)
Leaflet "Stoves and the like: What you should know about h ...
Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Layman report Layman report (Danish version)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (German version)
Publication: Technical report Project's Final technical report
Publication: Technical report "Residential wood burning Environmental impact and ...
Video link Project's clip (2')


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version