Ergonomic Design Solution for Reducing Smoke Build-Up Inside Rural Kitchens in Kenya

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Conference Proceeding

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Rural families in Kenya depend on burning biomass for cooking. These fuels usually consist of wood, dried dung and crop residues, all of which produce high levels of smoke. Exposure to this smoke leads to serious respiratory health problems. The persons most affected are women and their children who spent much of their time in these kitchens, but traditional African kitchens do not utilize natural ventilation principles to reduce the high indoor smoke concentrations. Scale models were used to conduct airflow tests to determine why natural ventilation principles to reduce indoor smoke concentrations were not used and to explore new design solutions that could improve indoor air quality without the use of expensive technologies. Based on the results of this study, it was determined that introducing natural ventilation into the kitchens will make the smoke conditions worse. This explains why traditional kitchens did not use windows for ventilation. However, development and implementation of a of a new design solution effectively reduced build-up inside the kitchen without requiring significant modifications to the traditional kitchen. Incorporating the new design into traditional kitchens will provide a healthier environment for the women and their children in the future.


AHFE 2018: Advances in Physical Ergonomics & Human Factors is volume 789 of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing series.