Heating from wood fires is considered to have one of the lowest levels of greenhouse gas emissions of any heating source provided that the wood which is burned has not needed to be transported long distances. This is often not possible in cities and the particle pollution associated with wood fires can also be a problem. In rural areas however wood fired heating is a good alternative to electricity and gas (which is usually only available in bottles).
Wood fired heaters can be made more efficient when combined with a wetback or water jacket which heats water which is then stored in a tank and reticulated through radiators or in-slab heating.
Wetbacks can also be configured to provide backup heating to solar hot water systems. Fires are most often used on cold overcast or cloudy days when the solar collectors are also of least use.