Skip to main content
Log in

Taming the killer in the kitchen: mitigating household air pollution from solid-fuel cookstoves through building design

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy Aims and scope Submit manuscript


In this study, we attempt to mitigate household air pollution (HAP) through improved kitchen design. Field surveys were conducted in ten kitchens of rural western India, which were then modelled and simulated for dynamic indoor airflow network analysis. The simulated results were statistically clustered using principal component analysis and hierarchical agglomerative clustering, to construct a cumulative built environment parameter called ‘Built Factor’ for each kitchen, and subsequently a derivative matrix was developed. Categorization of better performing kitchens from this derivative matrix enabled in deriving the built parameter thresholds for a ‘better’ kitchen design. This derived kitchen showed 60 % reduction in PM2.5 peak concentration during cooking hours. The evaluation described here is essentially a “proof of concept”, that effective building design can be an alternative way to reduce HAP without the introduction of chimneys, improved cookstoves or shifting to cleaner fuel.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Fig. 14
Fig. 15

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Baharvand M, Hamdan M, Ahmad B, Safikhani T, Binti R, Majid A (2013) Design builder verification and validation for indoor natural ventilation. J Basic Appl Sci Res 3(4):182–189

    Google Scholar 

  • Balakrishnan K, Sambandam S, Ghosh S, Mukhopadhyay K, Vaswani M, Arora NK, Jack D, Pillariseti A, Bates MN, Smith KR (2015) Household air pollution exposures of pregnant women receiving advanced combustion cookstoves in India: implications for intervention. Ann Glob Health 81(3):375–385. doi:10.1016/j.aogh.2015.08.009

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bardhan R, Kurisu K, Hanaki K (2015) Does compact urban forms relate to good quality of life in high density cities of India? Case of Kolkata. Cities 48:55–65. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2015.06.005

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bhat RY, Manjunath N, Sanjay D, Dhanya Y (2012) Association of indoor air pollution with acute lower respiratory tract infections in children under 5 years of age. Paediatr Int Child Health 32(3):132–135. doi:10.1179/2046905512Y.0000000027

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bonet J, Plesu V, Bonet Ruiz AE, Iancu P, Costa J (2014) Use of computer dynamic simulation for indoor exposure assessment based on chronogram incident as air pollution source characterization. Clean Technol Environ Policy 16(5):971–977. doi:10.1007/s10098-013-0679-2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cameron C, Pachauri S, Rao ND, McCollum D, Rogelj J, Riahi K (2016) Policy trade-offs between climate mitigation and clean cook-stove access in South Asia. Nat Energy 1(1):15010. doi:10.1038/nenergy.2015.10

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jetter J, Zhao Y, Smith KR, Khan B, Decarlo P, Hays MD, Drive P, Carolina, NS., U. (2012). Pollutant emissions and energy efficiency under controlled conditions for household biomass cookstoves and implications for metrics useful in setting International Test Standards. Environ Sci Technol 46(19):10827–10834

  • Census (2011) Provisional population totals. New Delhi, India. Retrieved from Accessed July 05, 2016

  • Crawley DB, Lawrie LK, Winkelmann FC, Buhl WF, Huang YJ, Pedersen CO, Strand RK, Liesen RJ, Fisher DE, Witte MJ, Glazer J (2001) EnergyPlus: creating a new-generation building energy simulation program. Energy Build 33(4):319–331. doi:10.1016/S0378-7788(00),00114-6

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Designbuilder S (2011) DesignBuilder simulation + CFD training guide, 1–224. Retrieved from

  • Emenius G, Svartengren M, Korsgaard J, Nordvall L, Pershagen G, Wickman M (2004) Building characteristics, indoor air quality and recurrent wheezing in very young children (BAMSE). Indoor Air 14(1):34–42. doi:10.1046/j.1600-0668.2003.00207.x

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Gan G (2000) Effective depth of fresh air distribution in rooms with single-sided natural ventilation. Energy Build 31(1):65–73. doi:10.1016/S0378-7788(99)00006-7

  • Guo Z (2000) Simulation tool kit for Indoor Air Quality and Inhalation Exposure (IAQX) Version 1.0 User’s Guide, vol 1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C

  • International Energy Agency (IEA) (2007) World Energy Outlook 2007: China and India Insights. IEA Publications. Retrieved from

  • Johnson P, Balakrishnan K, Ramaswamy P, Ghosh S, Sadhasivam M, Abirami O, Sathiasekaran BWC, Smith KR, Thanasekaraan V, Subhashini AS (2011) Prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in rural women of Tamil Nadu: implications for refining disease burden assessments attributable to household biomass combustion. Glob Health Action 4:7226. doi:10.3402/gha.v4i0.7226

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kankaria A, Nongkynrih B, Gupta SK (2014) Indoor air pollution in India: implications on health and its control. Indian J Commun Med 39(4):203–207. doi:10.4103/0970-0218.143019

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Li Y, Drysdale D (1992) Measurement Of the ignition temperature of wood. AOFST Symposiums 1(4):380–385

    Google Scholar 

  • Li Y, Leung GM, Tang JW, Yang X, Chao CYH, Lin JZ, Lu JW, Nielsen PV, Niu J, Qian H, Sleigh AC, Su HJJ, Sundell J, Wong TW, Yuen PL (2007) Role of ventilation in airborne transmission of infectious agents in the built environment—a multidisciplinary systematic review. Indoor Air 17(1):2–18. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0668.2006.00445.x

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Mak CM, Yik FWH (2002) A study of natural ventilation in a kitchen using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Archit Sci Review 45(3):183–190. doi:10.1080/00038628.2002.9697509

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Maroušek J, Hašková S, Zeman R, Váchal J, Vaníčková R (2015a) Assessing the implications of EU subsidy policy on renewable energy in Czech Republic. Clean Technol Environ Policy 17(2):549–554. doi:10.1007/s10098-014-0800-1

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Maroušek J, Hašková S, Zeman R, Váchal J, Vaníčková R (2015b) Processing of residues from biogas plants for energy purposes. Clean Technol Environ Policy 17(3):797–801. doi:10.1007/s10098-014-0866-9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mavalankar DV, Trivedi CR, Gray RH (1991) Levels and risk factors for perinatal mortality in Ahmedabad, India. Bull World Health Organ 69(4):435–442

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Mishra VK, Retherford RD, Smith KR (1999) Biomass cooking fuels and prevalence of tuberculosis in India. Int J Infect Dis 3(3):119–129

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Murtagh F, Legendre P (2014) Ward’s hierarchical agglomerative clustering method: which algorithms implement ward’s criterion? J Classif 31(October):274–295. doi:10.1007/s00357-014-9161-z

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nair KC, Bihari V, Pangtey BS, Pathak MK, Fareed M, Mathur N, Srivastava AK (2011) Respiratory health problems associated to infrastructural development among residents living near Special Economic Zone in India. Clean Technol Environ Policy 13(5):697–702. doi:10.1007/s10098-010-0337-x

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Nazaroff WW, Cass GR, Nazarofft WW, Cass GR (1989) Mathematical modeling of indoor aerosol dynamics mathematical modeling of indoor aerosol. Dynamics 23(2):157–166. doi:10.1021/es00179a003

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • NBC. (2005). National Building Code of India-2005. Retrieved June 4, 2016, from

  • Ruth M, Maggio J, Whelan K, DeYoung M, May J, Peterson A, Paterson K (2014) Kitchen 2.0: Design guidance for healthier cooking environments. Int J Ser Learning Eng Humanitarian Eng Soc Entrep, 151–169. Retrieved from

  • Sánchez-Soberón F, Mari M, Kumar V, Rovira J, Nadal M, Schuhmacher M (2015) An approach to assess the Particulate Matter exposure for the population living around a cement plant: Modelling indoor air and particle deposition in the respiratory tract. Environ Res 143:10–18. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2015.09.008

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shrimali G, Slaski X, Thurber MC, Zerriffi H (2011) Improved stoves in India: A study of sustainable business models. Energy Policy 39(12):7543–7556. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2011.07.031

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smith KR (2000) National burden of disease in India from indoor air pollution. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 97(24):13286–13293. doi:10.1073/pnas.97.24.13286

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Sreeramareddy CT, Shidhaye RR, Sathiakumar N (2011) Association between biomass fuel use and maternal report of child size at birth–an analysis of 2005-06 India Demographic Health Survey data. BMC Public Health 11:403. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-403

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sundell J, Levin H, Nazaroff WW, Cain WS, Fisk WJ, Grimsrud DT, Gyntelberg F, Li Y, Persily AK, Pickering AC, Samet JM, Spengler JD, Taylor ST, Weschler CJ (2011) Ventilation rates and health: multidisciplinary review of the scientific literature. Indoor Air 21(3):191–204. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0668.2010.00703.x

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Tominaga Y, Mochida A, Yoshie R, Kataoka H, Nozu T, Yoshikawa M, Shirasawa T (2008) AIJ guidelines for practical applications of CFD to pedestrian wind environment around buildings. J Wind Eng Ind Aerodyn 96(10–11):1749–1761. doi:10.1016/j.jweia.2008.02.058

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tong Z, Chen Y, Malkawi A, Adamkiewicz G, Spengler JD (2016) Quantifying the impact of traffic-related air pollution on the indoor air quality of a naturally ventilated building. Environ Int 89–90:138–146. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2016.01.016

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Urpelainen J, Yoon S (2015) Solar products for poor rural communities as a business : lessons from a successful project in Uttar Pradesh, India. Clean Technol Environ Policy 18(2):617–626. doi:10.1007/s10098-015-1028-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Versteeg HK, Malalasekera W (1995) An introduction to computational fluid dynamics—the finite volume method. Fluid flow handbook. McGraw-Hill, Essex

    Google Scholar 

  • WHO (2014) WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: household fuel combustion. Geneva: WHO. Retrieved from Accessed July 05, 2016

Download references


We acknowledge the people of the Ashane village, Maharashtra, India for extending their support during the field surveys and experimental validation stage. We also extend our thanks to the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and the suggestions for improving quality of the paper. Special thanks to Prof. Nadav Davidovich and his team, Department Chairperson, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, for the inspiration through Global Health and Ethics Summer School-2015. 

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ronita Bardhan.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Debnath, R., Bardhan, R. & Banerjee, R. Taming the killer in the kitchen: mitigating household air pollution from solid-fuel cookstoves through building design. Clean Techn Environ Policy 19, 705–719 (2017).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: