Green sustainability of cooking facility at AIT

Green sustainability of cooking facility at AIT

Principal investigators: Prof. N.T. Kim Oanh, Dr. Didin Agustian P & Dr. Abdul Salam

Area of activity: energy and environment

Background and rationale: At the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) campus, a wonderful built environment that currently hosts more than 2,000 students, faculties and staffs, high quality of living standard is very much in concern. Many facilities including the usual labs, academic buildings, housing, sports, canteens, library and many others are expected to be operated in a sustainable way hence all possible benefits can be felt by all of the AITians. The sustainability in term of many possible aspects such as energy supply, socio-economy and environment sometimes has not been yet in a synergy. To fulfill the basic need of living inside the campus, cooking facility is an important example due to its energy consumption, routine daily operation, and emission of toxic pollutants and greenhouse gases from the fuel combustion. Recent conditions are still far from the green sustainable practice. Various types of dirty solid fuels are still in use in low efficient cookstoves, and improper installation of exhausting hood which all in turn affect the environment.

Immediate actions to address the encountered issue particularly to identify the “low hanging fruit” options are required to improve cooking facilities in various food vendors inside the AIT campus. It is expected that the identified workable measures can be implemented at a low-cost and can bring in measurable impacts to the AIT campus.

Objectives: Several objectives of the activities are:

  • 1. To conduct benchmarking analysis of the existing cooking facility in the AIT campus such as type of fuel, stove technology, and exhaust condition
  • 2. To Assess environmental impacts of the existing facilities
  • 3. To identify workable measures to mitigate the associated negative impacts
  • 4. To Implement selected measure set in a “pilot case study” therefore the impacts can be measured
  • 5. To develop the standard protocol to raise the public awareness among of vendors and visitors.

Detailed methodology: A survey will be conducted to collect information on types of fuel, stove technologies, and exhaust conditions of the existing cooking facilities at the public cafeteria/food vendors inside the AIT campus. In-depth interview will be conducted with the food vendors to gain more detail information on cooking behavior, fuel consumption, house-keeping and maintenance procedure. Further possible environmental impacts of the existing facilities will be assessed through the emission inventory for GHGs, SLCP and also air toxics. Cost effective workable measures to mitigate the associated negative impacts will be identified and analyzed. The potential reduction of the GHGs, SLCP, and air toxics of the proposed measures will be quantified.

Selected measures will be deployed in a “pilot case study”. As a way of example, installation of a more efficient cook stove and re-designing of the exhaust pipe/hood for cafeteria and food vendors will be implemented. Laboratory measurement (i.e. BC, CO2 and CO in kitchen) of the improved cookstove will be conducted.

The co-benefits associated with the implemented measures on air quality (health) and climate as well as energy consumption will be analyzed. Post implementation of measures will be monitored and input/suggestion from the food vendors and visitors will be explored. The project aims at providing a good practice on “think globally and act locally”, hence standard protocol will be developed to be circulated to the food vendors and public to raise their awareness. It is expected that it will enable replication of the similar activities in other places inside AIT and outside AIT in the future.

Time schedule

Time schedule of the proposed project is presented below:

Expected outputs and impacts: The expected outputs and impacts are described as follows:

  •  Information on up to date situation of existing condition of cooking facility used by food vendors inside AIT campus. The information can be shared with the AIT management to support particular relevant efforts; i.e. energy audit, for example. Information sharing can be also done to all AIT residents, Student Union, for their comment and suggestion.
  •  Possible environmental negative impacts identified and assessed hence further improvements can be suggested to minimize further impacts.
  •  Identified potential measures to mitigate the impacts. The most workable measures can be further selected to be implemented in a demonstration project.
  •  Selected measures implemented which should be technology and cost effective. Successful demonstration project can trigger similar replication in other places hence bigger impacts can be expected.
  •  Successful project documented and a standard protocol/manual/guideline can be produced to increase awareness of all AIT community members.

How this project will contribute to “AIT: A living sustainability laboratory”: The main idea of this project is to implement selected measures to improve cooking facility operated in the AIT campus. Technology intervention by introducing high efficiency of improved cookstoves and other measures will help to save the energy consumption at the same time minimize the negative impacts. The issues of air pollution, energy consumption and climate are inter-linked and certain efforts can be done to achieve co-benefits. Co-control approach implemented in this project is relevant to cope with sustainability in every aspect. The project will show the community on how energy and environmental problems can be solved at the micro-scale to achieve impacts on the bigger scale. The proposed project is expected to be a “role model” in AIT community and can inspire people to replicate similar activities in other places. It is also important to convey a key message to the community that “global” air pollution and climate change mitigation measures are nearby and can be done at the “local” scale.