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UK commercial kitchens commit to phasing out gas cookers

UK property companies have joined a coalition to accelerate the shift from gas to electric kitchens.

Lendlease Europe and Grosvenor Property UK committed to phase out gas from all new kitchens in their developments by 2030, and to retrofit existing properties with electric power by 2040. 

The companies have joined the Global Cooksafe Coalition (GCC), which this week launched in the UK at London’s Silo restaurant. GCC boasts a membership of international partners already transitioning to electric-only kitchens across combined property portfolios exceeding £120bn.

Kitchens are seen as a catalyst or ‘gateway decision’ to encouraging the installation of gas-fired heating systems in new buildings – and buildings are a major source of carbon emissions. 

“Globally, the built environment is responsible for almost 40% of greenhouse gases related to energy consumption,” said Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council. “The International Energy Agency has clearly spelt out that energy efficiency and electrification of buildings is essential to deliver net-zero by 2050 – that won’t happen without electrifying kitchens.”

The news comes in the same week that new polling by YouGov for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) found many MPs are at odds with the British public over how to ensure the UK’s energy security.

The electrification of kitchens is backed by some of Britain’s leading chefs who have joined the GCC as chef ambassadors. Chantelle Nicholson and John Chantarasak delivered a masterclass with electric-powered induction hobs during the launch event.

In some kitchens, as little as 40% of the energy consumed is used for the preparation and storage of food; and much of the wasted energy is dispersed into the kitchen as ‘heat’. Nicholson said: “My team is the heartbeat of the restaurant and induction gives them a far more comfortable environment – working in a kitchen that’s not boiling hot, not full of constant heat, not wasting heat.”

The growing momentum for GCC’s cooking revolution is driven by a number of factors, including the need to raise awareness of the health impacts caused by toxic gases, such as nitrogen dioxide and benzene, which are released into kitchens and homes when cooking with gas stoves. 

GCC, which was founded in Australia in 2022, said recent world crises of energy insecurity and rocketing gas prices are a salient reminder that fossil fuels are ‘commodities’ subject to volatile markets and world events, whereas renewable energy is an infinite ‘resource’ on our doorstep – and also now the cheapest form of electricity in the world.

The National Trust is replacing gas hobs with induction hobs, according to a Footprint report with Meiko last year.

The UK has been a world leader in developing renewable capacity, with renewables providing 42% of total electricity in 2022, from a starting point of just 3% in 2000.

However, ECIU’s poll shows the public and politicians may be at odds about building on this momentum. After more than two years of high energy bills – which haven taken a heavy toll on the foodservice and hospitality industry – the poll found almost two-thirds (62%) of the public believe the best way to achieve energy security is to reduce the use of fossil fuels and instead expand the use of renewable energy. 

This compared to the 48% of MPs who thought renewables will provide more energy security than fossil fuels. More Conservative MPs (43%) thought the UK would be better to increase its supply of oil and gas instead of renewables (28%).

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