by Olivier D. C. Lefebvre, Li Wang
Journal section: General Articles
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Once people have made the step to acquire an improved cookstove (ICS), long term sustained use is key to reaping all the potential benefits of a cleaner and more efficient stove. However evidence shows that users’ preferences are often influenced by stove characteristics as opposed to low fuel consumption and low emissions. In this article we looked at whether stoves that met users’ preferences are used more than those that did not. The data examined here was collected during a one-year longitudinal study undertaken in in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on eight different models of cookstoves. With Stove Use Monitoring Systems (SUMS) continuously measuring stoves’ actual usage, we were able to obtain an accurate usage rate, typically difficult to obtain through household surveys. Respondents surveyed before the introduction of the improved charcoal stoves favored cooking speed as the most important feature of a functional stove. Nine months later, data support respondents’ preference- stoves that were perceived as cooking faster were indeed the most used. No significant correlation was found between fuel savings or perceived emissions reductions and sustained use. The study also found that users’ perceptions of stoves’ cooking speed after three months of use was also a good predictor of how often the stove will be used at nine months. This is encouraging since it indicates that in another context, a short pilot study could probably predict which stoves are the most likely to be used in the long term.
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