On June 7th we accepted our 2012 Platinum Level award at the ClimateWise EnvirOvation event! It was great to celebrate with hundreds of environmentally conscious businesses who are voluntarily participating in this program.
Climate Wise is a free, voluntary City of Fort Collins program that is dedicated to helping local business and the environment. Through environmental assessments and creative solutions, the City of Fort Collins ClimateWise Team helps organizations tackle modern-day business challenges that impact bottom lines and the quality of life in Fort Collins. The goal of the Climate Wise program is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting waste reduction, energy savings, alternative transportation, water conservation, and practicing pollution prevention.
Trees, Water & People has been a partner with Climate Wise since 2007 by taking greenhouse gas reduction measures in our office including a recycling and composting program, sponsoring Bike to Work Days, and an energy challenge.
In our quest to improve our stove designs, I attended Aprovecho Research Center’s Stove Camp 2008 in Cottage Grove, Oregon. There were over 20 of us participating: representatives from international development NGO’s, companies, universities, the government, and new converts to the world of fuel efficient stoves from many walks of life.
The inventor of the Rocket stove, Dr. Larry Winiarski, reviewed his Ten Design Principles for Wood-burning Cookstoves. Aprovecho staff reminded us of the equally important principle of making stoves women like. If the women you give a stove throw it out the minute you leave, it doesn’t matter how fuel efficient it is, you will not accomplish your goals of reducing their exposure to Indoor Air Pollution (IAP), reducing greenhouse gas emissions, or reducing deforestation! So compromises must be made between competing principles to have a successful stove design.
Our mission for Stove Camp was to design and build the most appropriate stove model for refugees in Darfur, Sudan. We cooked posho (similar to polenta), the region’s staple food over numerous stoves to see which stove performed the best in terms of speed, safety, fuel-efficiency, portability, and IAP. Some stove designs could be made from locally available materials, while others would have to be imported but would be easier to guarantee quality control for.
Our Controlled Cooking Test with posho incorporated Aprovecho’s Portable Emissions Monitoring System and backpack Indoor Air Pollution Meter to quantify how much carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter (think of smog) are created and inhaled, respectively, while cooking with a given stove.
In addition to stove design, we discussed pot design, a generally overlooked part of the cooking equation. Pots with small openings or with metal “fins” increased fuel efficiency by a ton!
Stove camp was a fun and educational experience. It was a great opportunity to step back from our existing stove designs and think how we could improve them by bouncing ideas off of the experts. I plan to share their suggestions with our local partners in Central America and Haiti in the coming year.