Woodsmoke research in New Zealand: A review

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Date(s) - 2017/08/14
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


Speaker: Dr. Guy Coulson from NIWA.

Group Manager of NIWA Auckland’s Urban Air Quality and Health research group a position he has held since 2005.

Guy has over twenty five years’ experience in environmental management, research and consulting including fifteen years as an active researcher in atmospheric chemistry and air quality, and six years in a commercial environment as an environmental and technology management consultant. Guy has considerable experience managing air quality projects, both research and commercial. Guy was the manager of the $9 million FRST funded Healthy Urban Atmospheres research programme from 2008 to 2012 and before that the $4.5 million Protecting New Zealand’s Clean Air programme. He is currently a Principle Investigator on the $9 million MBIE funded Resilient Urban Futures programme. In New Zealand, Guy has led numerous air quality management and monitoring projects including AEEs of the Manukau Harbour Crossing and Waterview Connection, the first edition of A Draft Transit Standard to Producing an Air Quality Assessment for Road Building Projects, and many monitoring campaigns. Guy has a PhD in atmospheric chemistry from the University of Essex, an MSc in environmental assessment from Anglia Ruskin University and a BSc in chemistry from the University of Bradford. He has previously worked as a researcher at the British Antarctic Survey and the University of Essex and as a consultant at Arthur D. Little and Cambridge Consultants. He is currently a member of steering committee and visiting scientist for EU (Marie Curie) funded Human EXposure to Aerosol Contaminants in Modern Microenvironments (HEXACOMM) programme.


Title: Woodsmoke research in New Zealand: A  review

Burning wood for domestic heating is a major contributor to PM pollution throughout New Zealand and has been a focus for air quality research for well over a decade.

The majority of the research has concentrated on emissions of PM10 from domestic woodburners for inventory purposes but other research has also been carried out: investigating spatial and temporal variation of ambient wood smoke, population exposure, indoor exposure, health impacts and behaviour. This talk reviews the last decade’s research and looks forward to the next decade.





  1. Vilani


    Very good presentation. Unfortunately I’ve joined a bit later & missed some valuable facts.
    What is the research in NZ analyzed/explained indoor pollution is worst than outdoor. Is this for houses when wood burners are in operation?
    This may have explained, and I may have missed it. Appreciate your answer on this.

  2. Wayne Webley


    Designing wood burners which are less operator dependent should reduce the variability in emissions 🙂

    • Guy


      Hi Wayne, thanks for the comment. I agree, the more you can automate, the better. One of the things I didn’t talk about is the way NZ woodburners differ from burners elsewhere and the range of technologies that exists around the world. The Europeans seem to be going down the track of increasing sophistication – if fact one European colleague was a bit taken aback when I told him that our burners don’t even have an oxygen sensor on them…

  3. Teresa Aberkane


    TEOM FDMS PM2.5 since August 2015 at Rangiora ECan site..

  4. Gustavo


    What are the air quality management implications of the fact that the woodburners have a distribution of emissions … what can we do if we can’t have 1 emission factor?

  5. Vilani


    Compared to farming out door wood burn, what is the % of home heating usage?

    • Guy


      Sorry Vilani, I don’t know – I’d imagine that because the farm burn-offs tend to be episodic and away from urban centres that they don’t contribute a large amount to measured concentrations but maybe one of our council colleagues might like to comment?

  6. Michael Farrier


    Hello Guy,

    In relation to wood burner emissions I am told that on installation of new burners they are often modified to permit low burn rates over night. This would have significant effect on the emission rates. n Has this been considered in the Rangiora study? Regards

    • Guy


      Hi Mike, the type and condition of the burner hasn’t been a focus at this stage. We’re more interested in what happens to emissions in terms of exposure

  7. Elizabeth


    Thank you for organising this webinar. Thank you Guy for presenting the talk, Very informative. Very useful. Tasmania has almost the same problems (although I am not involved in dealing with them).
    Good luck with your plans!

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