BioBricks: What They Are and Where to Find Them
BioBricks are equally beneficial to the environment by producing less carbon
monoxide and half the particulates of seasoned hardwood.
In James Houston's "The Development of a Firelog With Improved Air
Emissions" he states: "Replacing normal firewood with [densified wood] firelogs
can be an effective means of reducing pollutant emissions from existing
fireplaces...Pressed wood firelogs offer the potential to lower woodstove and
Biobrick Heat Content vs Firewood
For comparison purposes I'll use the firewood BTU heat values from the table
of Firewood Heat and Weight Values compiled by the California Energy
Commission. The table lists the cord weight and BTU values for 39 species of
firewood at 12% moisture content.
However, a typical cord of firewood rarely consists of only one species making it
difficult to determine its BTU value. For the sake of simplicity I'll compare the
heat value of BioBricks to Ash which has a BTU value averaging halfway
between Live Oak (highest) and Western Red Cedar (lowest).
The heat value for a cord of 12% moisture Ash is 25 million BTU's at an
average weight of 3,000 pounds. This works out to 8,333 Btu's per pound.
The manufacturer's heat estimate for a single two pound BioBrick is 17,000
Btu's, or 8,500 Btu's per pound – almost identical to Ash.
The stackable nature of bricks makes the most of scarce storage space. One
pallet of BioBricks (4'x4'x3') takes up 60% less space than a cord of wood
(4'x4'x8') and eliminates the mess and hassle associated with handling logs.
BioBricks are sold by the sleeve
(shrink wrap bundle) or by the
pallet. I've seen sleeves weighing
38 lbs (19 bricks) and also 40 lb
packages containing 20 bricks.
Most pallets consist of (50) 38 lb
sleeves for a total weight of 1,900
But I've also seen pallets weighing
more and less than 1,900 lbs.
The moral of the story is be aware of the weight of individual sleeves or
packages and the total number of sleeves on each pallet when you compare
This season - 2014/15 - individual sleeves cost around $8 or $9 and the cost
of a "pallet" of BioBricks ranges between $279 and $349. So it pays to shop
around. Considering the $70 difference per pallet, and the wide availability of
BioBricks, it might be worth your while to drive an extra 50 miles out of your
way - especially with cheaper gas prices this year.
Currently, BioBricks are available in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine,
Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island from the
BioBricks and wood pellets are essentially the same product and compete for
the same raw material: sawdust. The same market forces that affect the price
of wood pellets will similarly affect the price of BioBricks. The availability of wood
for sawdust, more than any other factor will determine the selling price.
BioBricks are the latest eco-
friendly home heating
alternative to firewood and
heating oil. Each 2 pound brick
is made from 100%
The extreme density of
compressed sawdust yields
near complete combustion,
longer burning times than cord
wood, and only 1% ash