BIOHER assessment

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Bioher assessment about health impacts of small scale wood burning is closed.

Health and climate impacts of heat production in small municipalities (BIOHER)

Bioher is a research project coordinated by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). The project runs from 2008 to 2011 and includes five workpackages: 1) measurement of PM and greenhouse gas emissions, 2) chemical characterization and assessment of atmospheric thermal impact of emitted PM, 3) toxicological characterization of emitted PM, 4) assessment of exposure to and health effects of current residential wood combustion, 5) assessment of health risks.

Assessment model: File:Bioher model.ANA



The purpose of the assessment is to evaluate health impacts and overall societal costs of different scenarios for residential heating in Finland.

More specifically:

  • What would be the mortality impacts of PM2.5 emissions and the related societal cost?
  • What would be the greenhouse gas emissions and the related societal cost?
  • What are the optimal decisions on residential heating for the society when energy costs to consumers and societal costs related to greenhouse gas emissions and health impacts of PM2.5 are taken into consideration?
  • What are the optimal decisions on residential heating for a consumer (based on costs related to heat consumption), and are these in conflict with the optimal decisions for the society?


  • House stock:
    • Detached single family houses built in the beginning of 2010 (standard, low energy)
    • Detached single family houses built in 60's and 70's
  • Location: Finland
  • Assessment follow-up time: 2010-2040
  • Evaluated emissions:
    • Greenhouse gases (CO2 equivalent)
    • Fine particles (PM2.5)
  • Evaluated health impacts:
    • Mortality from PM2.5 (quantified in mortality cases and DALYs)
  • Evaluated costs:
    • Heat consumption cost to consumer (heating appliance investment and interest, maintenance, energy)
    • Cost from greenhouse gas emissions (based on the cost of carbon emission permits)
    • Cost from health impacts of PM2.5 emissions (based on the value of lost life years)


  • Primary heat source scenarios:
    • Light fuel oil
    • Wood pellet
    • Direct electrical
    • Geothermal
    • District heat produced in a small power plant (<2 MW) with heavy fuel oil
    • District heat produced in a small power plant (<2 MW) with wood chip
    • District heat produced in business-as-usual power plants
  • Secondary heat source scenarios
    • Air source heat pump
    • Wood fired masonry heater

Intended users

  • City and national level policymakers
  • Anyone making decisions on residential heating
  • General public



Residential heat purchase

District heat and electricity production

Geenhouse gas & PM2.5 emissions

PM2.5 exposure and health effects


Old variables



  • Cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses
  • value-of-information (VOI) analysis

See also

costs and future:

Finnish power plants: