Integrating Improved Sustainable Technologies into the Heart of the Home-the Kitchen

EPA Grant Number: SU835295
Title: Integrating Improved Sustainable Technologies into the Heart of the Home-the Kitchen
Investigators: Bormann, Noel E , Ferro, Patrick D , Stevens, Christopher E. , London, Mara , Nowak, Paul
Institution: Gonzaga University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Phase: II
Project Period: August 15, 2012 through August 14, 2014 (Extended to August 14, 2016)
Project Amount: $90,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet - Phase 2 (2012) Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability


(1) Improve and manufacture a simple ventilation system for kitchens in rural or peri-urban African dwellings that uses electrical power generated from thermoelectric cells driven by waste heat from cooking fires. (2) Develop and test improved ceramic drinking water filter system that uses less fuel-wood to fire the kiln. (3) Design and implement ventilation and water filter manufacturing workshop in Zambia. Use sales to support social enterprise for further dissemination of filters and ventilators. These activities will improve the health of children, women, and men where the products are implemented.


The project will develop, test, and improve technologies to improve indoor air quality and effective ceramic water filtration systems in homes. An electrical fan powered by a thermoelectric cell mounted on the cooking hearth will provide ventilation in the kitchen, and a ceramic drinking-water filter designed with improved manufacturability and robust shipping characteristics will reduce the need for fuel-wood for the kilns producing the filters. A tightly coordinated micro-finance approach will allow families to purchase the sustainable technologies and can support culturally appropriate local jobs for women in sales and training as well as for men in the workshop.

Expected Results:

Gonzaga University students in the senior-level capstone design course sequence will design and test the products, design the manufacturing workshop, and implement the social enterprise in Zambia. The social enterprise started during this project could be used as a demonstration for further expansion of the technologies in other locations. As the air and water is improved in homes, families can expect improvements in health. The social enterprise can also act as a method to train workers in skills that can be used in the local communities in other enterprises that would improve the employment opportunities for adopters and others. A publication will be prepared and presented on the project findings and outcomes.

Supplemental Keywords:

Filtron, ceramic water filter, thermoelectric cell, indoor air quality

Relevant Websites:

Phase 1 abstract

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • Final

  • P3 Phase I:

    Integrating Improved Sustainable Technologies into the Heart of the Home — The Kitchen  | Final Report