, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 42–56 | Cite as

Patterns of Stove Use in the Context of Fuel–Device Stacking: Rationale and Implications

  • Ilse Ruiz-Mercado
  • Omar Masera
Original Contribution


The implementation of clean fuel and stove programs that achieve sustained use and tangible health, environmental, and social benefits to the target populations remains a key challenge. Realization of these benefits has proven elusive because even when the promoted fuels-stoves are used in the long term they are often combined (i.e., “stacked”) with the traditional ones to fulfill all household needs originally met with open fires. This paper reviews the rationale for stacking in terms of the roles of end uses, cooking tasks, livelihood strategies, and the main patterns of use resulting from them. It uses evidence from case studies in different countries and from a 1-year-long field study conducted in 100 homes in three villages of Central Mexico; outlining key implications for household fuel savings, energy use, and health. We argue for the implementation of portfolios of clean fuels, devices and improved practices tailored to local needs to broaden the use niches that stove programs can cover and to reduce residual open fire use. This allows to integrate stacking into diagnosis tools, program monitoring, evaluation schemes, and implementation strategies and establish critical actions that researchers and project planners can consider when faced with actual or potential fuel-device stacking.


cooking energy ladder household energy adoption stove use monitors Patsari 



We thank the families of La Mojonera, Taretan, and Tanimereche in Michoacán, México, for their trust, patience, and hospitality in participating in this study, and Pablo Venegas, Alejandro Tavera, Gilberto Silva, Sergio Luis Guzman, Lucy Martinez, Carolina Romero, Alonso Mendoza, Myriam Miranda, Paulo Cesar Medina and Juan Pablo Gutierrez, for their hard work, dedication and commitment to the SUMs Project. We thank Victor Berrueta and Edgar Tafoya from Grupo Interdisciplinario de Tecnología Rural Apropiada (GIRA, A. C.) and Servando Perez from AURA A. C. for insightful discussions. We thank the field and laboratory teams at the Bioenergy Lab and the Ecotechnology Unit at CIEco-UNAM, and the teams at Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica. This work was supported by Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM-PAPIIT #IT101512), El Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT #119143) and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves of the United Nations Foundation (UNF-12-385). Ilse Ruiz-Mercado acknowledges the support of the DGAPA-UNAM Postdoctoral Fellowship and of El Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Cátedra CONACyT Proyecto #2269).


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Copyright information

© International Association for Ecology and Health 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Investigaciones en EcosistemasUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMoreliaMexico

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