If you—or your buyers—are still clinging to gas ranges in the kitchen, chef and electric kitchen expert Rachelle Boucher wants you to reconsider.
“Keep in mind that any technology changes over the years,” said Boucher during an Energy and Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) online presentation. “If you last used an induction cooktop 10 years ago, it has changed almost as much as your phone in terms of what it can do.”
She shared her thoughts during “Plug In, Turn On, and Cook Up: Electric Kitchens Have Arrived!,” a session with Karla Butterfield, a sustainability director at Steven Winter Associates, a building science consulting firm based in Norwalk, Conn.
Based on their experience, the two women recommend builders (and consumers) rethink the traditional preference for gas cooking in the kitchen and instead install an all-electric kitchen, including the range. They suggest it might not be as big of a leap as people expect. “Everything we have in our kitchens right now is electric, except for one thing,” noted Boucher.
5 Benefits of All-Electric Kitchens
Here are five advantages of electric kitchens, according to Boucher and Butterfield.
- Better indoor air quality. Cooking with gas can result in unhealthy levels of carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and formaldehyde, according to Butterfield, who highlighted a California study comparing the impacts on indoor air quality of gas versus electric cooking.
- Smaller, easier ventilation. A gas stove, with its 50,000 BTUs worth of heat from its burners, typically requires a large and powerful range hood for ventilation, according to Butterfield, compared to its electric induction counterpart.
- Reduced cooling load in the home. Butterfield noted that gas cooktops can generate considerable heat, relative to electric cooktops, which reach the desired heat levels more quickly than gas. Choosing electric over gas in the kitchen allows builders to downsize HVAC equipment.
- Easier path to net-zero or zero-energy ready certification. By electrifying the kitchen and reducing the energy demands of the house, builders can rely more on renewable power such as photovoltaics and offer buyers a net-zero ready home.
- Safety. Boucher highlighted the safety aspect of an induction cooktop, which relies on an electromagnetic field between the cooktop and pot or pan; there’s neither a flame nor a burner to burn the cook.
- Lower risk of gas-related explosions and home fires, according to Butterfield. A 2018 report from the National Fire Prevention Association estimated that an average of 4,200 home fires annually “started with the ignition of natural gas.”