Ashley Muspratt: An alternative to gas, propane stoves

Published: 8/15/2022 8:47:45 AM
Modified: 8/15/2022 8:44:17 AM
An alternative to gas, propane stoves

The new Mass Save incentives for induction stoves are a big win for the environment and perhaps more importantly for public health.

The harmful impact of gas stoves on indoor air quality is trending in mainstream media. I have read reports of studies that measure indoor air pollution at levels that would be illegal outdoors. Other reports demonstrate an association between gas stoves and chronic respiratory disease and a 45% increased risk of childhood asthma. Most recently, results of a Harvard School of Public Health study that took place in Massachusetts gave us something else to worry about when cooking with gas: benzene, a known carcinogen.

If you’re thinking it may be time to make the switch, induction stoves offer an exciting alternative to gas and propane, completely eliminating the pollutants linked to cancer and childhood asthma, cutting carbon emissions in half (or fully, if using renewable electricity!), and delivering the same precision and response time that we’ve come to love from an open flame.

Cooking with induction is cooking with magnets. A high frequency electric current passes through a copper coil beneath the cooking surface, which creates a magnetic current that excites the electrons in the bottom of the pan, and the dancing electrons generate heat. By heating only the pan, induction stoves are hyper-efficient and with surfaces that only warm up when in contact with a pan, there’s also reduced risk of burns or fires.

Earlier this year, Center for EcoTechnology launched induction cooktop lending programs with the municipal light plants in Ipswich and Shrewsbury, both members of the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC). Lending kits, comprising countertop induction burners, compatible pots and pans, and informational materials are available at the public library in each town. Borrowing a kit is a great opportunity to test the technology before making the switch.

We hope that many Massachusetts residents will take advantage of the new incentives for induction stoves (or try a lending program in their city or town). They’re a relatively small investment compared to other key electrification measures (e.g., home heating and vehicles) and can be an important contribution to the state’s decarbonization goals and overall public health outcomes.

Ashley Muspratt

Florence

The writer is president of Center for EcoTechnology, based in Florence.
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