As the world continues to reduce emissions to combat the climate crisis, gas stoves, ovens and hot water systems could become a thing of the past.
Gas, once regarded as an alternative to power-hungry electrical appliances with low emissions, has now been surpassed, said Wendy Miller, senior energy lecturer at QUT.
“More than a decade ago there was a big move to go to gas because gas was seen as a more efficient means of heating, if that was for cooking or water or space heating, it worked better than existing electrical systems at the time,” Dr Miller said.
Dr Miller opines that a couple of things have changed since then, making gas not the best option. She also says that solid element stoves, which waste energy while heating up, were less efficient than induction cooktops.
“If the supply of electricity is coming from renewable energy sources, the greenhouse intensity of the electricity supply can also be good. But, that depends on where you’re getting your electricity from,” she added.
For developers and planners, the notion that the humble gas stove might not be ideal for the environment is catching on.
Utilising no gas in new homes in the Moreland council area in Melbourne is a prerequisite to receiving the highest tick of approval in design excellence from the municipality.
Kirsten Coster, director of council city futures, said that Moreland’s design excellence scorecard promotes gas-free homes because it’s expected for electricity to transition over time to 100% sustainable sources, such as solar.
Co-director Shannon Peach added that Moreland developer Milieu was the first to receive the rating. While he expected customers to be upset with the exclusion of gas in the two gas-free developments his company had launched, he said buyers came to terms with it once the sales team explained the reason.
He said, “I think potentially people are more conscious and more willing to change their ways in the areas where we’re doing our building. I’m sure it will become more common.”
Dr Miller said there were other advantages, aside from potentially emitting less carbon, to switching to electricity.
According to her, the first is indoor air quality. Buring gas releases air particles that can be detrimental for people with asthma or other respiratory problems. “There’s a whole range of health studies about gas inside of homes,” she added.
Dr Miller also said that gas and electricity suppliers charge a connection fee irrespective of whether or not you are using them. For electricity only, on the other hand, suppliers charge just one fee.