Network Updates / Worldwide / 2021-07-23

What are the benefits of reducing cooking-related household air pollution?:

New WHO state-of-the-art planning tool launched to calculate the costs and advantages of cleaner interventions including health, climate, social, and environmental impacts

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Household Air Pollution

Combustion of polluting fuels for household cooking, lighting and heating, leads to indoor air pollution and contributes to outdoor air pollution as well. Household air pollution causes up to 4 million deaths annually from noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancers, chronic lung disease and pneumonia.

The use of inefficient and polluting cooking, lighting and heating in households is a health risk for all. It is a particularly important source of disease in women, children and infants, mostly in low- and middle-income countries.

WHO has just launched an updated version of a planning tool for assessing the costs and benefits of different transitions from more polluting stoves and fuels to cleaner cooking options.

Tool: Benefits of Action to Reduce Household Air Pollution (BAR-HAP)

BAR-HAP is a resource in WHO’s Clean Household Energy Solutions Toolkit (CHEST). Users can model 16 different transitions from more polluting cooking technologies to cleaner ones. Cleaner technologies include both transitional options (that offer some health benefits) and clean options (that meet emissions levels in the WHO Guidelines for indoor air quality: household fuel combustion). Users can select a policy intervention that will be applied for each cooking transition, such as stove or fuel subsidy, financing, intensive behavior change campaign, or a technology ban. WHO developed the tool in collaboration with Duke University and it was first piloted in 2019.

What does BAR-HAP offer?

The tool quantifies and monetizes costs, such as governmental costs of implementing the intervention, individual costs of purchasing and maintaining stoves and fuel, and time costs for learning and maintaining the stove.

Benefits monetized in the tool include health benefits, social benefits, time savings from reduced time spent cooking and collecting fuel, and environmental benefits. Users can modify certain inputs to enhance the relevance of the tool for examining their own particular context(s).

BAR-HAP is a strategic tool for medium-term planning (over a period of 30 years). It can be used to generate forecasts of financial resource needs at the national (or sub-national) level and to compare those resource needs with the value of the net benefits that the transitions entail.

The tool is useful for improving budgeting in health, energy and other sectors, for informing development agencies about resources needed to tackle HAP and for engaging with government and civil society constituencies.

What does the new version of BAR-HAP include?

The latest version of the tool includes several major enhancements such as:

  • a user-friendly interface that includes step-by-step guidance and visuals to facilitate tool use and interpretation of results
  • default data for all low- and middle-income countries
  • updated data on fuel use, health, and other impacts to enable more accurate calculation of costs and benefits
  • Auto-population of background information based on the country selected – the only data that must be entered by users is country and cooking transition (although the tool includes advanced options for modifying default values with local inputs when available)

Who can use BAR-HAP?

The benefits of action to reduce household air pollution tool was developed to assist stakeholders in the cooking energy sector calculate the national-level costs and benefits of supporting transitions to various cleaner cooking options. BAR-HAP can be used by professionals and policy-makers in the health and other sectors at local, programmatic, or national levels. The tool is intended to help them implement the recommendations found in the WHO Guidelines on indoor air quality: household fuel combustion.

How to use BAR-HAP and where to find it?

The BAR-HAP tool is an excel file containing 23 active sheets with different values and calculations. The tool is free of charge and can be downloaded at WHO’s website along with a manual and a terms of use document. A short video explaining the main functions of the tool and how to navigate it will also be available on the page.

The BAR-HAP tool page can be accessed here.

To report a problem, ask a question about the model, or share feedback, please contact [email protected].

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Benefits of action to reduce household air pollution (BAR-HAP) tool
Clean Household Energy Solutions Toolkit (CHEST)
WHO’s Air Quality and Health Team

WHO Guidelines for indoor air quality: Household fuel combustion

Database: Cooking fuels and technologies (by specific fuel category)