DesignEnergy Systems

Eco-Friendly Luxuriant Wood Heat

When many people think of eco-friendly power, they think of solar or wind. I think of wood heat.

You’re probably thinking: Are you out of your mind? Wood heat is more eco-friendly? Helloooo! Smoke!?!? Cutting down trees?!?!?!?”

Well, wood is renewable and burning wood for heat has a lower carbon footprint than electric heat or natural gas heat.   And a rocket mass heater has one tenth the carbon footprint of a conventional wood stove.   You can heat and cook at home with wood in an efficient and luxuriant manner that is good for the environment.  And get delicious pizza out of the deal. Mmm, pizza!

There is a heating crisis happening in many parts of the world; and this may be a problem that will continue to happen over the next few years.

Never burn wood the same way again. Rocket Mass Heaters offer a solution for maximum efficiency and minimal pollution.

Rocket mass heaters are more efficient because they burn at a higher temperature, turn the smoke into fuel, and charge the mass around them. That’s right!  The smoke burns off!  This leaves your home nice and toasty for a day or more after you’ve heated up your rocket mass heater.  Given that they are smokeless, they can also provide a more discrete manner of heating your home. They are especially significant in that you can use whatever wood is lying about your land: branches, twigs and other scrap burnables.  You can even burn those astronomical heating bills!

So how exactly does a rocket mass heater work?  Marvel in my amazing graphic skills as I explain:

Ernie and Erica Wisner, rocket mass heat pioneers, go into far more detail about the fire science involved in rocket mass heaters. They cover the science, but also the making of pocket rockets, the explosive properties of steam, and the most efficient rocket mass heater design of the time.

You might be thinking, “I don’t need to heat my house, it’s plenty warm here.”  Well, the applications of the rocket mass heater extend far beyond just heating.  Rocket mass heaters are versatile for lots of situations: a cozy place to sleep in a tipi, a place to warm your butt around the campfire without smoke in your face, stoves to cook on, efficient ways to heat your home, a source for hot water, and even an oven for pie. Mmm, pie! 

In the forums of members have created rocket forges, saunas, cooktops and smokers, water heaters and have extended their growing season by using a rocket heater to directly heat their soil, or to heat their greenhouse.  

At Wheaton Labs in Montana, rocket technology is pervasive.  The folks at the lab have built a pizza oven which rivals even the best wood-fired pizza restaurants.  They heat the water for their shower with the rocket water heater and have figured out the “Boom-Squish” problem.  One of their gardens has their season extended with a rocket mass heater.  Two rocket cooktops have been successfully built at the lab during the Permaculture Technology Jamboree and Rocket Mass Heater Workshop.

Tim Barker, Australian alternative energy innovator, built a stand alone rocket water heater, rocket oven and rocket griddle at the 2015 Rocket Mass Heater Jamboree at Wheaton Labs.  Tim is well known for his safe and efficient rocket water heaters and has taught the appropriate technology course at Wheaton Labs in the past and now teaches Appropriate Technology at the Koanga Institute.  

But let’s go back to that pie. We further improved our pie-making abilities with our rocket oven DVDs. You can make your own wood-fired pizza or delicious pie with a rocket oven. Making a rocket oven isn’t as easy as pie, but it’s pretty close with instructions from Tyler Morrison, a rocket mass heater designer and builder who has taught at Wheaton Labs. 

Warm pie. Warm butts. Clean cheap heat. What’s more luxuriant than that?

If you like this sort of thing, come visit us at where we talk about homesteading, rocket mass heaters and permaculture all the time!



The Rocket Mass Heater Builder’s Guide by Ernie & Erica Wisner

Top Questions on Rocket Mass Heaters

Better Wood Heat: DIY Rocket Mass Heater Movies

Rocket Ovens Movie

Better Wood Heat: DIY Rocket Mass Heaters 8-DVD Set

Rocket Mass Heater Jamboree 2023


Co-authored by: Sunflower Craig and Paul Sofranko


Sunflower Craig

Sunflower Craig is a mother, author, and herbalist. She did her studies at Central Washington University in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and continues her education with hands-on experience in the foothills of the Cascades. She now works with Paul Wheaton, founder of and Wheaton Labs to spread the permaculture bug and advocate for sustainable energy alternatives, regenerative agriculture, and sustainable solutions for global issues. When she is not writing, working, or creating, she spends her time with her son and husband exploring the lesser-known nooks and crannies of the local national forests.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Back to top button