EcoZoom works to clear the air
By Gretchen Holzgang, Contributing Writer
The EcoZoom team: Ben West, Phil Ferranto and Amanda West.
EcoZoom is on a mission to bring ecological products to the world, and it’s starting with the simple cookstove.
The Portland-based company produces and internationally distributes a highly efficient, durable biomass cookstove, designed by the nonprofit Aprovecho Research Center in Cottage Grove. The cookstoves — which burn wood and other dry, solid biomass — are affordable for people in developing countries, easy to install and can be produced in large scale.
“We believe that people of any economic status should have access to beautifully designed cooking products that will improve their health, income and environment,” the company states on its website.
In February, EcoZoom completed a pilot program in Mexico, where it replaced 10,000 cookstoves with safer, more energy efficient stoves that were specifically designed for Latin America. The stoves replaced inefficient or open fire stoves throughout the country.
Roughly a quarter of Mexico’s population, or some 25 million people, still cook on either open fires or unimproved cookstoves, causing some 19 million tons of wood to be cut down and more than 18,000 dangerous stove related deaths in the country, according to EcoZoom.
Inefficient stoves also contribute to Mexico’s carbon dioxide emissions, ranking it the highest among Latin American countries and 13th highest in the world, according to a 2012 study commissioned by the European Commission.
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The EcoZoom cookstoves will work toward lowering the environmental impact and deforestation caused by cooking. They will almost completely eliminate indoor air pollution and reduce cooking costs. EcoZoom estimates that each cookstove will reduce fuel use by almost 70 percent and save families and estimated 3.33 tons worth of wood pr year.
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