Abstract

Traditional biomass-burning stoves are used for cooking and heating across the globe. These stoves generate smoke that results in household air pollution, which poses a significant risk to human health. In the past decades, there have been many efforts to promote the adoption of improved cookstove designs, but uptake of improved stoves is often slow due to high costs, inconsistent supply chains, and incompatibility with local cooking practices. This paper presents survey results from rural villages in Uttarakhand, India regarding routines and attitudes on cooking and space heating. Significant findings include the dual use of liquified petroleum gas and biomass fuels, the interconnected and seasonal nature of cooking and space heating, the cultural significance of traditional cookstoves, and the prominence of locally available materials in cookstove construction and maintenance. Comparisons of these surveys’ findings to previous investigations on energy use in the Himalayan region show many common trends, but also reveal regional differences. The paper concludes that due to the significance of culture and context in cookstove design, understanding user needs and behaviors and working with local communities are integral parts the design methodology for clean cookstoves. These results provide a case study which agrees with existing literature on the importance of participatory design in global development.

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