Sustainably cozy: learning about masonry heaters with Norbert Senf

Norbert Senf is a “semi-retired” masonry stove builder that lives in the woods of Greermount. Through his website, he sells his heaters to customers all around the globe, and conducts research on emissions in his lab for the Masonry Heater Association of North America.


Deep in the woods north of Shawville, Norbert Senf lives with his wife Leila. Having met the couple during an event in the summer, I was intrigued when Norbert said he built masonry heaters for a living and promised to return at a later date to further investigate.
The Senfs moved to the area in the 1970s and originally lived off the grid in a cabin before settling at their current location on the property. Norbert had three years of mechanical engineering schooling from the University of Toronto, along with experience working with his father, who was a mason.
Though there was no fire burning when I finally visited the Senfs in late October, their home was warmed by a large, centrally-located brick feature built around what looked like a conventional wood stove.

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