Eighty-six-year-old Ángela Norales Méndez likes to cook daily.
“My specialty is soup. I love soup,” Norales Méndez said.
And when she was asked to switch her old gas stove for an electric-powered induction one, she was apprehensive at first.
Now, 10 months later, she only sees benefits in the new technology.
“Gas stoves sometimes leak and you don’t even know. This one you don’t have that problem,” Norales Méndez said.
Norales Méndez and 19 other households in a NYCHA building in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx were part of a pilot program designed to show the health and environmental benefits of switching to electric stoves.
Kitchens using gas for cooking experienced significantly higher concentrations of toxic pollutants like nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide.
“Our policy recommendations aim to ensure that government programs and policies are targeting dedicated funding and resources for low-income communities to address the unique challenges they face when it comes to building electrification,” Annie Carforo, the climate justice campaigns coordinator at We Act, said.
The study was led by the environmental justice group We Act in collaboration with the Berkeley Air Monitoring Group and Columbia University, at a time when the prospect of phasing out gas stoves in favor of electric ones has become a political controversy.
Electric induction stoves produce heat by generating a magnetic field without warming the appliance surface.
“Better for health, better for the environment, more convenient and easier to use. It’s kind of a no-brainer,” Darby Jack, associate professor at Columbia University, said.
The study also found residents were extremely satisfied with their new appliance.
“This is the best thing that ever happened to us here in NYCHA,” the Rev. Carmen Hernández, who leads the building's tenant association, said.
None of them asked for their old gas stoves back.
“The stove is fantastic. I like it. For me it’s the best,” Norales Méndez said.
Induction stoves will become more prevalent in new buildings. The city has banned gas hookups in new construction of small buildings by next year and of larger ones by 2027.
A similar state ban is included in Gov. Kathy Hochul's budget proposal.