Fireplaces and the Île-de-France region in France, they both had a rather tumultuous relationship over the past years. Since 2007, the use of open wooden fireplaces had been prohibited as a means of primary heating. In December last year, it then looked as if regulation would get even more strict, as the regional council for the environment and health risks ruled that the use of wood fireplaces would be entirely forbidden in certain “sensitive” areas, starting January the 1st, 2015. An intervention of environmental minister Ségolène Royale put a stop to this quote “ridiculous” ruling, reverting the situation to pre-2015.

The cause of the ban: a particular matter

At the root of the whole controversy lies particulate matter, very small particles that are released as a result of combustion – be it in cars, heating or industry – and that negatively affect air quality. In a pre 2015 study, it’s been determined that 23% of the emission of particulate matter in the Île-de-France region can be ascribed to wood heating – with fireplaces making up half of that percentage. These numbers, however, were quick to be contested by several stakeholders, as well as minister Royale herself.

The fireplace gets help from above

After the regional council for the environment and health risks ruled that wood-burning fireplaces would be banned in several “sensitive” areas within the Île-de-France region, it didn’t take long for a response to follow. First and foremost by fireplace devotees and vendors, but also from a less expected side: environmental minister Ségolène Royale. She strongly condemned the ruling, calling it “ridiculous” and an example of “stiff ecology”. She went on to put in motion a decree that would retract the ban, which came into effect on January 21st. In the end, the ban had only been effective for a mere 21 days. Given the emotional response to the ban and the minister’s own personal involvement, it seems rather unlikely that we’ll see another ban in near or even distant future.

Metalfire represents architectural fireplaces at Architect@Work, Paris

At Metalfire, we have a strong belief in the value of a fireplace within an architectural framework. We also strongly believe in the continuous role fireplaces as a very special source of warmth in the many magnificent Parisian homes. This is why we’ll be present at this year’s Architect@Work in Paris, where we’ll proudly present our newest Ultime D model.