A coalition involving property developers, chefs and sustainable building organisations has joined forces to call for an end to use of gas in commercial and residential cooking facilities around the world.

Launched on Tuesday, the Global Cooksafe Coalition has agreed to support and call for eight targets and actions to deliver all-electric cooking around the world.

These include:

  • All electric cooking across all new builds (commercial and residential) by 2030 in OECD countries and by 2035 around the world.
  • Replacement of all gas cooking appliances with electric ones in existing kitchens by 2040 in OECD countries and by 2045 worldwide.
  • Public investment in electrification of cooking across lower/middle income countries, financial support for small business and households to transition to energy-efficient electric appliances, helping vulnerable health cohorts to access effective rangehoods and improved ventilation standards in building codes.

The coalition’s launch comes amid broader momentum in the push to electrify buildings.

As Australia’s electricity grid transfers to clean energy sources, electrification is emerging as the favored means through which to decarbonise building electricity consumption.

Natural gas use in buildings accounts for 15 percent of all operational emissions – around 14 million tons of carbon dioxide a year.

Meanwhile, there is concern about the health impacts of cooking with gas including toxic pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde and benzenes from gas cooktops.

Research shows that a child living with gas cooking in the home faces a comparable risk of asthma to a child living with household cigarette smoke, whilst cooking with gas is estimated to be responsible for up to 12 percent of the childhood asthma burden in Australia.

In March, Green Building Council of Australia along with Cundall, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the NSW Government launched a guide to provide building owners and designers with practical guidance on building electrification.

In terms of cooking, that guide suggested that gas cooktops, gas flame and char, gas wok burners and gas ovens could potentially be replaced with induction cooktops, electric charcoal grills, portable renewable gas cooktops, electrical grills with steam for moisture, induction wok burners and electric steam ovens.

To be sure, that guide acknowledged that moving from gas to electric cooking may involve greater up-front capital investment in new buildings along with an increase in peak energy demand.

Nonetheless, it suggests that these costs are likely to be outweighed by benefits associated with electric cooking.

These include lower greenhouse gas emissions (zero emissions if 100 percent renewable electricity is used), lower operating costs, savings in space and greater health (see above), safety and comfort within kitchens.

At their launch, the coalition released a report which outlines a future vision of all-electric cooking.

In particular, the report highlights the growing use of induction cooktops, which do not have burners under the surface and instead used electromagnetic energy to heat pots and pans directly.

This turns the pan itself into the heat source – when the pan is lifted off the induction surface, the electricity consumption stops, and the surface is cool to the touch.

This contrasts with gas and traditional electric cooktops that heat indirectly using a burner or heating equipment and pass radiant energy onto food.

According to the report, benefits from this type of cooking include:

  • Faster cooking times and more precise temperature controls
  • Greater energy efficiency, including transferring energy efficiency at around 85 percent compared with 32 percent for gas cooktops
  • Safer, more comfortable (cooler) and cleaner cooking environments as induction surfaces do not get hot and are easier to clean with fewer chemicals.

The coalition includes:

  • Eight founding members including the European Public Health Alliance, the Green building Council of Australia, the World Green Building Council, CLASP, The Climate Council, Nightingale Housing, Modern Energy Cooking Services and Asthma Australia.
  • Two developers – Lend Lease and GPT – who together manage combined funds and assets which total more than $100 billion.
  • Eleven chef ambassadors include Palisa Anderson, Neil Perry, James Henry, Analiese Gregory, Roy Roy Cameron, Darren Robertson, Alanna Sapwell, Andrew McConnell, Christine Manfield, Cynthia Shanmugalingam and Rodney Dunn.

Green Building Council of Australia CEO Davina Rooney welcomed the coalition’s launch.

“It’s heartening to see top chefs like Neil Perry standing alongside large property companies like Lendlease and GPT saying there is no future in gas cooking.”

“Now we need to see others in the industry follow suit with similar commitments because the impact of gas on the climate and on human health can’t be sustained.

“With decades of research documenting the risk that these substances pose to our health, we must act now to transition to clean, safe electric cooking.”

Ann Austin, Head of Sustainability at Lendlease Australia, says her company’s involvement in the coalition reflects part of its broader commitment to reach absolute zero carbon emissions by 2040.

She says the move towards electrification is critical as our energy grid transitions to renewables so as to enable renewable energy to be used to power homes, commercial buildings, construction sites and kitchens.

GPT Property Group’s Building Performance Engineer, Dale O’Toole agrees, adding that all-electric kitchens deliver many other advantages.

“All-electric kitchens not only potentially present financial savings in new developments on the gas reticulation perspective, but they also contribute to inclusive and resilient growth and protect businesses and assets from the risks associated with transitioning to a renewable economy,” O’Toole said.

Neil Perry, Australian chef, restaurateur, author and television presenter says election cooking is the way of the future.

“Electric is definitely the future of cooking in the home and in commercial kitchens,” Perry said

“It’s just cleaner, it’s more efficient and it’s definitely more beneficial for the environment. Everything tends to be neater and cleaner without gas.”