Kitchen 2.0: Design Guidance for Healthier Cooking Environments

Mollie Ruth, Jarod Maggio, Kelli Whelan, Mark DeYoung, Jonathan May, Abram Peterson, Kurt Paterson


Among stove developers and implementers it has now become common knowledge that it is possible to reduce the amount of fuel, emissions, indoor air pollutants and greenhouse gases produced by traditional cookstoves through introducing improved cookstoves. However, improved cookstove effectiveness has not yet translated into an increase in the health and wellbeing of cookstove users. For this reason, the Kitchen2.0 team set out to investigate an alternative approach to solving the global health impacts of poor indoor air quality due to the use of biomass as cookstove fuel: ventilation. To better understand the role ventilation plays in kitchens with fires and cookstoves, a three-pronged approach was used, including global community surveys, a full-scale physical model, and a computational model.  Field agents affiliated with Michigan Technological University helped complete surveys on cooking habits and structures worldwide. Physical testing was conducted in the Kitchen2.0 modular kitchen by running cooking tests with different kitchen structure configurations and stoves. The computational model was developed to simplify the testing of cooking scenarios. Ventilation was found to make a significant difference on the indoor air quality of the cooking environment, reducing carbon monoxide and very small particulate matter by about 50%.  While improved cookstoves also improved air quality when paired with ventilation, they worsened air quality 10-30% when used without ventilation. The improved understanding of the impacts of ventilation could help community-based organizations improve indoor air quality, and the lives of billions worldwide.

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