Faculty and students at Colorado State University established Envirofit International (www.envirofit.org) in 2002 to develop well-engineered technology solutions to improve the human condition on a global scale, with a primary emphasis on applications in the developing world. More specifically, Envirofit has become global leaders for its innovative work developing a clean-burning biomass cookstove that is now selling successfully all over the world.
More than three billion people, or half the world’s population, cook in their homes using traditional fires and stoves – and breathe in lethal fumes from these cooking fires. This indoor air pollution prematurely claims the lives of 2 million people a year worldwide, or one person every 20 seconds.
Having recognized the global scope of this problem, Envirofit, in cooperation with the Colorado State University Engines & Energy Conversion Laboratory (EECL), launched a research effort in 2002 to achieve improvements in global environmental, social and economic and health issues through innovations in both cookstove technology and new product distribution mechanisms. Envirofit’s enterprise-based model represents a new, more sustainable approach to tackling the global indoor air pollution problem – relying on market mechanisms to guide product development and drive consumer demand. Choosing the launch market and designing the perfect cookstove were only the first pieces of the puzzle for Envirofit. Marketing the cookstoves to an audience unused to investing in such appliances, and ensuring adequate distribution networks were in place, were both vital factors to guaranteeing success. Envirofit worked diligently to establish an elaborate international network of strong partners that have helped them reach a wide audience.
Envirofit stoves are making a difference globally. Each of the 300,000+ stoves sold to date have enabled well over one million people breathe healthier air, spend less time and money on cooking fuel. Rigor in areas like design, validation, manufacturing, quality control, supply chain management, distribution, inventory management, and marketing, helps make this manufacturing and distribution model uniquely suited to succeed.
When compared to traditional cooking/heating methods, each Envirofit stove:
Envirofit sells its stoves in more than 40 countires and continues to grow in India, Africa, Central and South America, and the rest of the world. The company recently released the world’s most efficient charcoal stove (CH2200), the world’s cleanest charcoal stove (CH4400), a built-in stove (Z3000) and the soon to be released M5000 modular stove that will allow for localization of manufacturing efforts within host countries. Envirofit and the EECL are both key members of the UN initiative – the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. This is a public-private partnership to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and combat climate change by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions.