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Stoveman …

June 27th, 2011 · No Comments

There are many paths to improve people’s lives while helping to address our climate challenges.  Within all economic groups, more energy-efficient cooking is one of those paths: whether modern kitchens upgrading from inefficient cooktops to radiant systems or, far more profoundly, helping people reliant on burning wood (or dung or other biomass) to have more efficient (and less polluting) cooktops. 

That second category encompasses roughly half of humanity.  People whose health suffers from overexposure to smoke inhalation.  Peo_35O2093ple whose lives suffer through the resources necessary to secure cooking biomass (whether time to gather the biomass or the money spent on that biomass).  And, by helping these people improve their health and reduce their cooking costs, we also can slow deforestration and tangibly reduce black soot and its contribution to Global Warming.

The Paradigm Project has a target: “to change 25 million lives by 2020” through the distribution of 5 million efficient stoves that should use roughly 40-60% less fuel.

Stoveman, a web show opens tomorrow documenting some of The Paradigm Projects trials, travails, and successes, will begin 28 June.

In their fundraising, The Paradigm Project asks for $40 for each stove.  What is the ROI on that $40?

  • $56.58, per year, in average fuel cost savings or over $280 in five years
  • Perhaps 260 hours a year less in wood gathering with over $100 in value in five years (assuming a $0.13 wage rate per hour)
  • Emissions reductions of 1-2 tons/year
  • In the range of 6.7 fewer trees cut down per year

These are significant paybacks that highlight that there are tremendous win-win-win opportunities across the global economic system when it comes to how Energy Smart practices can pay off in terms of improved economics, improved health, and reduced environmental impacts.

An example from Haiti,

A standard wage in Port-au-Prince (typically supporting a household of 5) is $5/day and the average family spends $1.25-$3 each day on charcoal. This may sound like a small amount of money for a culture that will spend this on coffee each morning, but this represents 25-60% of a household’s daily income. Reducing the burden of daily fuel use will make available more money for families to invest in their children’s education, food, or other basic goods that will fuel the recovery and advancement of the Haitians who have lost the most and are the most vulnerable on a daily basis.

In addition to the immediate economic burden to urban residents, the pattern of household charcoal consumption in Haiti is one of the main drivers of the egregious deforestation that turned the island from a tropical oasis into a desert in a mere 50 years.

The Paradigm Project has an admirable goal, seeking to improve the lives of millions through a private mobilization of assistance to improve cooking efficiency. 

This multiple win-win-win tool merits, however, being part of global development and poverty reduction assistance. And, the effort should encompass integrated cooking that includes solar cooking, heat-retention cookers, water purification systems, and biomass stoves. This combination offers the potential to multiply the benefits to perhaps 80-90 percent reduction in biomass requirements while also providing a tool for clean water for the world’s impoverished households.

NOTE:  I have not donated to The Paradigm Project … yet?  Other efforts to help address the biomass cooking challenge have been part of my contributions, such as Solar Household Energy

And, related, solar powered efficient lighting is another win-win-win opportunity in energy-short households.

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Tags: Energy