The majority of Cambodians rely on wood to provide domestic energy. This dependence places enormous strain on Cambodia’s deciduous forests, and necessitates countless hours of work per week for the women and children whose task it traditionally is to collect the fuel. With deforestation increasing, the collection of fuel wood is not only time consuming but also potentially deadly.
There are an estimated four to six million anti-personnel land mines scattered in rural areas; remnants of the country’s war-torn past. According to the Cambodian Red Cross, over 200 people are killed or maimed by land mine explosions every year. The burning of the fuel itself brings with it further health risks. The smoke generated by traditional wood fuel can have severe health impacts, prompting high incidences of eye infections and respiratory diseases such as asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, and emphysema among both women and children.
SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS FOR CAMBODIAN HOUSEHOLDS
With a growing population likely to lead to accelerated deforestation and corresponding habitat destruction and species loss, this energy efficiency project offers a means of reducing domestic energy demands. By replacing traditional stoves with more efficient versions, the use of fuel is considerably reduced. The improved efficiency of these stoves also reduces the burden placed upon women and children to collect wood.
As a result, the risk of exposure to land mines is lowered and time is freed up for more productive activities, such as education. Furthermore, the reduction of hazardous wood smoke resulting from decreased fuel use greatly reduces indoor air pollution.
These stoves also contribute to the region economically by creating jobs through the manufacturing, distribution and sale of the product and by facilitating the creation of commercial networks and enabling the transfer of a more energy efficient technology. Without such projects, deforestation and the related environmental degradation would continue at an unsustainable rate.
TECHNOLOGY BRIEF – HOW IT WORKS
The New Lao stove is a metal-covered baked clay construction suitable for burning wood or charcoal. More efficient than traditional stoves, the New Lao stove uses 22% less fuel and each stove saves 0.4 tonnes of CO2e per year. This adds up to an estimated saving of 3,300,000 tonnes CO2e over the project lifetime. This reduction in emissions is achieved through a number of improvements in the stove design.
A lowered resting pot reduces the gap between the stove and pot, thus limiting the amount of escaped heat, while air holes in the grating allow for maximum air circulation which enables the more efficient burning of fuel. Improved insulation and a refractory liner also prevent heat loss. The sheet metal body cover provides further insulation and improves the durability of the stove. All these alterations serve to make the New Lao stove a more sustainable alternative to traditional cooking technologies.
This project demonstrates how carbon finance can be mobilized to bring substantial benefits to communities and the local environment. In addition to mitigating climate change, this project also contributes to promoting sustainable development in Cambodia by:
Slowing deforestation, which also helps prevent soil erosion, the destruction of natural habitats, and the loss of biodiversity
Improving living conditions due to reduced emission of unhealthy airborne particles responsible for respiratory problems, particularly among women and children
Reducing costs and competition for wood, thereby enabling greater access to fuel for the most impoverished areas of society
Reducing the burden placed upon women and children by the need to collect wood, freeing them to pursue more worthwhile activities
Creating employment and commercial networks through the construction, maintenance, and distribution of stoves