In 2018, when the city of Berkeley, CA announced the first all-electric building codes, I immediately knew that this was a huge moment for the planet, for the appliance industry and, frankly, for me. As a self-described "induction cooking and electric kitchens super-fan" and chef, I knew that I could make a big difference. It was an "A-ha moment".
My partner Robert Roth and I started "Kitchens to Life" with the mission to:
ELEVATE the electric kitchens conversation,
ENGAGE stakeholders with today’s inspiring cooking options and
FACILITATE the adoption of kitchen electrification for performance, people and planet.
We work with cities, counties, non-profits, energy companies, appliance brands, tech companies, architects, designers, end users and more through live and online events, consulting and content creation to bring the magic of today's electric kitchens to life. We love our work. But, why do we do it? As we say above, for performance, people and planet.
ALL-ELECTRIC, GAS-FREE HOMES TO BECOME STANDARD
Concerns about the health, safety and climate impacts of burning natural gas - a potent fossil fuel - in homes and buildings has spawned a movement away from gas stoves and appliances in favor of those that run on renewable electricity. Over the past year, dozens of cities have passed policies requiring or incentivizing all-electric new construction, and several states have opened processes to manage a transition off of their gas systems. This remarkable wave of action is a strong indication that gas stoves, heaters and other appliances may soon be a relic of the past.
STUDY: MARKET FOR ALL-ELECTRIC HOMES SET TO SKYROCKET
A recent Navigant study found that global revenue from all-electric home heating, cooling and cooking technologies is projected to increase more than five-fold by 2030 - as demand for fossil fuel-free communities skyrockets.
According to the study - key factors driving soaring demand for fully electrified home technologies, like heat pumps and induction cooking equipment, include policy drivers, as these technologies rapidly become more cost-effective and more reliable than fossil fuel systems.
Revenue is set to increase to $12.9 billion in 2029, up from $2.4 billion in 2020.
WHAT’S DRIVING THE SHIFT? POLICY & HEALTH, SAFETY & CLIMATE CONCERNS
In just 12 months, 39 cities and counties across California have passed local building electrification policies called REACH codes that go beyond the statewide code to phase out gas and ensure that new homes and buildings are equipped with highly-efficient electric appliances for heating, cooling, and cooking.
This means 10% of Californians are already living in an area that requires all-electric new construction. That number will only grow, as the California Energy Commission is considering making all-electric homes standards statewide.
CA cities and regions with policies encouraging or incentivizing all-electric construction: Carlsbad, Alameda, Milpitas, Santa Rosa, Pacifica, Mill Valley, Saratoga, Brisbane, Healdsburg, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Los Altos Hills, San Francisco, Campbell, San Mateo County, Richmond, Hayward, Santa Cruz, Burlingame, San Anselmo, Piedmont, Berkeley, Windsor, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Monica, Menlo Park, San Jose, Davis, Marin County, Mountain View, Morgan Hill and Palo Alto with many more on the way.
All-electric construction may be required statewide starting in 2023:
The California Energy Commission is currently preparing its 2022 update to the California building code. Advocates are calling on the CEC to capitalize on the health, environmental, and economic benefits associated with all-electric construction by phasing out gas hookups in new construction statewide. The California Public Utility Commission has already signaled that California is moving to phase-out gas over the next 25 years—a clean energy goal that will require conducting costly upgrades to existing buildings to remove gas appliances. Advocates say that passing a building code that aligns with California’s long-term energy this cycle is the fiscally responsible decision.
IT’S NOT JUST CALIFORNIA: Building Electrification is taking off nationally
Four states - representing 27% of the nation’s direct gas usage - have begun processes to manage a transition off of their gas systems in just the first half of 2020.
Massachusetts, California, and New York have all launched official processes in 2020 to explore phasing gas out their distribution systems.
New Jersey has also committed to cutting its gas use 80% by 2050 through a shift to electric heat for homes & businesses.
Avangrid Inc.'s New York utilities have agreed to limit the growth of gas use in their territories, avoid pipeline construction and expansion, and offset increases in gas demand with alternatives like electric heat pumps and building efficiency upgrades.
Consolidated Edison Inc. — one of the nation's largest gas/electric utilities — announced in August that it no longer views gas as "part of the longer-term view" for our energy future. John McAvoy, ConEd Chairman, President and CEO, also said that the utility would no longer invest in long-haul gas pipelines and may sell its existing portfolio.
CONCERN GROWS OVER HEALTH IMPACTS
Gas appliances - which are found in more than half of all U.S. households - produce pollution that’s been linked to respiratory illness, heart disease and premature death.
Cooking with gas stoves fills kitchens with much of the same pollution that is found in car exhaust - including carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter, and formaldehyde.
90% of all homes have unhealthy levels of NO2 pollution after cooking with gas for an hour - reaching concentrations of NO2 that would be illegal if found outdoors. Homes with gas stoves have approximately 50 percent to over 400 percent higher NO2 concentrations than homes with electric stoves.
Children living in a home with a gas stove are 42% more likely to suffer from asthma symptoms.
Replacing a stove may dramatically reduce indoor NO2 levels in the kitchen but also throughout the home.
NO2 pollution - which is produced by gas stoves - has been tied to a dramatic increase in COVID-19 mortality is especially concerning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Researchers at Emory University have tied a modest increase in exposure to nitrogen dioxide—a pollutant that comes from burning fossil fuels—to significantly higher death rates from COVID19.
This underscores the need to electrify buildings and move away from gas stoves and other gas appliances.
The transition to all-electric homes & buildings is popular. Polling in California found that 70% of Californians prefer electric appliances to those powered by fossil gas.
The great news is, today's electric kitchens and induction cooktops and ranges are simply sensational. As a chef, I fell in love with induction cooking years ago and I have worked with thousands of people to try induction, choose induction appliances and to understand the bigger picture of what I call the "Whole Electric Kitchen" that includes ventilation, wall ovens, steam and speed ovens and more.
I respect that change is hard, I respect and know that cooking traditions are scared. I get it. I have done this for years, so I know. We wake up every day knowing that we can make a difference. Join us in the kitchen. We are cooking up an electric future.