A multi-criteria analysis of climate, health and acidification impacts due to green house gases and air pollution - The case of household-level heating technologies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


  • Tommi Ekholm

  • Niko Karvosenoja
  • Jarkko Tissari
  • Laura Sokka
  • Kaarle Kupiainen
  • Olli Sippula
  • Mikko Savolahti
  • Jorma Jokiniemi
  • Ilkka Savolainen

Research units

  • Finnish Environment Institute
  • University of Eastern Finland
  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland


This paper considers the climate, health and acidification impacts associated with household-level heating technologies; the policy-based incentives that current emission limits might create for switching between these technologies; and the societal costs that would arise from the externalities associated with the emissions. The data and selection of appliances are applicable to Finland, but the approach can be used to analyse also other countries with similar environmental policies. The results indicate that none of the assessed technologies outperforms the others in every impact category, and that trade-offs need to be made between the impacts. Two perspectives are used to compare these trade-offs. From a policy point of view, a switch from light oil to any of the studied biomass-based appliances would help to achieve national emission limits for CO2 and SO2. However, such a switch could potentially increase the externality costs to the society due to increased population exposure to primary PM2.5. Based on this, the results suggest that the present emission reduction policies create incentives that can possibly direct decisions toward sub-optimal technology choices.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-509
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Air pollution, Climate, Greenhouse gases, Health, Residential wood combustion

ID: 15990254