Where in the world?
The Himalaya, the world’s greatest mountain range.
Why did we set it up?
As part of our ongoing drive to ensure our holidays operate in a responsible and sustainable manner we have been looking for ways in which we can reduce carbon emissions in some of our favourite destinations. One obvious way is to look at using alternative technology to help provide the energy for cooking. So after testing different designs at our offices in Kathmandu, Nepal, in autumn 2007 we purchased and installed the first two parabolic solar cookers in Lukla, the gateway to the Everest region.
Although solar cookers can never totally replace fuel burning stoves they have a wide range of benefits, the key ones being:
- A reduction in the use of wood as a fuel which helps save the forests
- A reduction in the time spent (mainly by women and children) collecting the wood, thus allowing them to perform other tasks or simply have more family time to relax and play. In certain areas collecting wood in forests can also be dangerous because of attacks by wild animals
- A reduction in the use of expensive kerosene, which saves money for local communities
- A reduction in time spent in smoke filled rooms that so easily causes serious respiratory health problems
- A reduction in carbon emissions that ultimately harm the planet we live on
To maximise the economic benefit we get our solar cookers manufactured locally apart from the high quality reflectors, which have to be imported. They are then transported into the mountains and installed by our staff in the off-season when there is no other work available. The cookers are installed in the lodges our groups use on the key trekking routes. The lodge owners share the cost of the cookers with us to ensure that they 'buy in' to the ethos and benefits of using them. As visitor numbers are naturally highest at the times of year the weather is best the cookers work well when they are most needed, however because of the altitude they do still work in cloudy conditions. Through the day they are ideal for cooking, providing hot drinks and water for washing as well as filling thermos flasks for the colder evenings.
To date with fund provided directly by Exodus and donations from clients we have managed to install 50 parabolic cookers in the Everest region and 1 at Annapurna Base Camp.
We wanted to estimate how much wood and kerosene could be saved per solar cooker. Although dependant on the popularity of the lodges and the number of families using the cookers in the villages, the figures below relate to an averagely popular lodge situated at 4,350m, which we extrapolated to cover a full year. We took into account the following variables: Number of cookers, number of guests over a 1 month period, seasonality of the trekking industry in the region and use by local population outside main trekking seasons. The figures relate to the savings made of bought kerosene and wood per operational cooker.
- Wood, peak season per month = 450kg
- Kerosene, peak season per month = 75 litres
- % of annual trekkers visiting during this month = 34%
- Projected annual wood saving for trekkers = 1,323kg
- Projected annual kerosene saving for trekkers = 220 litres
- Projected extra wood saving outside trekking season = 50kg (conservative)
- Projected extra kerosene saving outside trekking season = 10 litres (conservative)
- Total annual wood saving = 1,373kg
- Total annual kerosene saving = 230 litres
- Cost saving to lodge for wood: 1,373 x 60NER = 41,190 NER = £322
- Cost saving to lodge for kerosene: 230 x 100NER = 23,000 NER = £180
Would you like to know more?
You can contact our Himalayan Operations and Project Manager, Valerie Parkinson by emailing her at [email protected]
We're on our way and every contribution helps.
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