Whether you have a Traditional Wood Burning Fireplace or a Gas Fireplace, clearances to combustibles are paramount for the safe, long-term, sustainability of your fireplace & fireplace enclosure. EPA Phase II Certified Wood Burning Stoves, Inserts and Fireplaces as well as Gas Fireplaces and Gas Inserts are remarkably efficient, so creating a safe distance from combustible materials is most important. Always refer to the manufacturer's specifications for their clearances to combustible materials.
Some manufacturer's have systems designed to reduce surface temperatures. For example, Valor's HeatShift System® is recommended when adding artwork, a wall mounted TV or other heat sensitive materials above your fireplace. Raising the heat outlet improves conventional airflow - reducing wall temperatures and improving overall performance. Excess warm air is then circulated back into the room at a higher elevation.
Flare Fireplaces offers a Heat Barrier -- Double Glass Option. As part of an effort to make their fireplaces safer, Flare Fireplaces is offering a full line of products with double glass technology. In this design, air cools the external glass with the help of built-in blowers, significantly reducing it to a temperature that it is safe for a brief touch. The double glass solution also reduces the radiant heat reflected from the front of the glass and is selected in many applications where reduced heat is desired.
Keep in mind that although you may meet clearances to combustibles, some materials or items are more sensitive to heat and although safe, may discolor, shrink, warp, crack, peel, and so on because of the heat produced by the fireplace. Solid wood flooring in front of the fireplace (if allowed) may shrink during the heating season due to heat.