Induction Stoves: Empowering Massachusetts Communities, Redefining Cooking

Nicholas Stewart, Community Clean Energy and Environmental Justice Fellow

It is time to envision a future where every kitchen is equipped with sustainable technology, where the act of cooking nourishes both the body and the planet. This transition is not just about upgrading our appliances; it is about redefining our values and commitments to equity and sustainability. By embracing this challenge with courage and conviction, we can pave the way for a brighter, more equitable future for all. 


Natural gas stoves have long been a staple in kitchens across the United States, including Massachusetts. However, the time has come to critically examine the racial and environmental implications of this seemingly innocuous appliance. While gas stoves have been a convenient and efficient cooking method for many, their impact on historically marginalized communities and the environment cannot be ignored. Transitioning to induction stoves shows promise as an environmentally friendly alternative. 

To make this shift, we must embark on a journey of deliberate and thoughtful policymaking. We must dismantle the structures that uphold inequity and pave the way for accessible solutions. It is not merely about swapping one appliance for another; it is about addressing the deep-seated issues that have shaped our society and our relationship with the environment. 

This article sheds light on the inequalities and limitations associated with gas stove usage, including two Massachusetts case studies; explores the benefits and drawbacks of transitioning to induction stoves; and discusses legislative and local efforts promoting an intentional, accessible transition away from gas stoves in Massachusetts, as well as how to be a part of this transition. 

Equity and Economic Disparities: A Pressing Concern 

Gas stove usage, and lack of access to alternatives, is deeply intertwined with racial and income inequalities. In Massachusetts, communities of color, particularly low-income neighborhoods, often bear the brunt of the environmental and health consequences associated with gas stove emissions. According to a study by the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Advisory Council (MEJAC), these communities face disproportionate exposure to harmful pollutants released during gas combustion, leading to increased rates of respiratory illnesses, cardiovascular diseases, and other health disparities (2020). Additionally, the financial aspect of these inequalities should not be overlooked. These communities often face limited access to clean energy alternatives due to economic constraints and limited choice as renters, perpetuating indoor air pollution and thus the associated health impacts (Krieger et al., 2020). 

Two case studies within Massachusetts illuminate the conditions that remain contributors to the continued marginalization of these communities.  

Case Study 1: Chelsea, Massachusetts 

  • Chelsea, a diverse and densely populated city just outside of Boston, serves as a stark example of the racial and environmental inequities associated with gas stoves. The city has a high concentration of low-income households, predominantly composed of racial and ethnic minorities. A report by the Chelsea Collaborative found that residents in these communities are exposed to higher levels of indoor air pollution due to gas stove usage, exacerbating respiratory issues and impacting overall well-being (MAPC, 2018).  

Case Study 2: Springfield, Massachusetts 

  • Springfield, another city grappling with systemic inequalities, also highlights the impact of gas stoves on marginalized communities. The Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition conducted a study revealing that residents in low-income neighborhoods, primarily consisting of people of color, face a disproportionate burden of asthma and other respiratory ailments caused or exacerbated by gas stove emissions (2018). 

These alarming disparities in Chelsea and Springfield demand urgent attention and action—often, discussions around the clean energy transition focus only on environmental impacts, leaving out the people and communities that are experiencing in real time the worst outcomes of our continued use of fossil fuels. As we confront these injustices, we are also presented with a promising and viable solution, for addressing both environmental and health impact: induction stoves. 

Induction Stoves: A Safer and Cleaner Alternative 

Induction cooking technology relies on electromagnetic fields to heat pots and pans directly, rather than relying on a flame or electric coil. This innovative technology offers several environmental and other benefits, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved indoor air quality, and increased health and safety. 

Learn more about induction stoves on Clean Energy Lives Here

Benefits and Limitations of Induction Stoves


Environmental Impact: According to the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), transitioning to induction stoves can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to the fight against climate change (2021). In Massachusetts, where the reduction of emissions is a priority, adopting induction stoves aligns with the state's commitment to clean energy and sustainability. 

Health and Safety: Induction stoves eliminate the combustion process and the associated emissions such as greenhouse gases, resulting in improved indoor air quality (Belkhir & Elmeligi, 2020; Krieger et al., 2020). This change can mitigate respiratory issues and reduce the risk of fire hazards, offering a safer cooking option for households. Furthermore, induction stoves provide enhanced safety features and are easier to clean (Gabel et al., 2022). 


Affordability remains a significant barrier for low-income households, as induction stoves tend to be more expensive upfront compared to gas stoves (Belkhir & Elmeligi, 2020). The costs of replacing existing gas infrastructure and purchasing compatible cookware can pose additional financial burdens (Gabel et al., 2022). Additionally, there is a learning curve associated with induction cooking, requiring adjustments to cooking techniques and specific cookware (Belkhir & Elmeligi, 2020). 

Accessibility is central to this discussion, considering resource accessibility, infrastructural adequacy, cultural inclinations, and technological progress. In rural settings, where the reliability and affordability of electricity may vary significantly from their urban counterparts, the feasibility of integrating induction stoves into daily household practices becomes nuanced. The disparity in electricity reliability and cost between rural and urban areas presents a formidable barrier, potentially impeding the widespread adoption of induction stoves (Svosve & Gudukeya, 2020) (Iwegbue et al., 2018).  

Moreover, the presence of adequate infrastructure, encompassing aspects such as electrical wiring and voltage capacity, emerges as a critical determinant (Kiplagat et al., 2011). In instances where rural regions grapple with insufficient or outdated electrical infrastructure (Kiplagat et al., 2011), the appeal of induction stoves as a viable cooking alternative diminishes. Consequently, households residing in such areas may be less inclined to consider induction stoves as a feasible option, reinforcing the influence of infrastructural limitations on technology adoption within rural communities. 

Efforts in Massachusetts Offer a Starting Point 

Recognizing the environmental and health benefits of transitioning to induction stoves, several cities and states across the United States have implemented efforts to promote an intentional access transition. These measures aim to address the racial and income inequalities that may arise during the transition (Krieger et al., 2020). Provisions include financial assistance programs, incentives for low-income households, and collaborations with community organizations to ensure equitable access to clean energy alternatives (Krieger et al., 2020; Larochelle et al., 2022). 

Right here at home in Massachusetts, efforts have begun to take steps toward promoting an intentionally accessible transition from gas stoves to induction stoves, such as through Senate Bill 2477. This bill, proposed by Senator Jamie Eldridge, seeks to establish a comprehensive plan for the electrification of buildings, including promoting the use of electric cooking appliances like induction stoves. It emphasizes the importance of equity and affordability, aiming to ensure that the transition benefits. Other clean energy technologies are being implemented in tandem with induction cooking as well, to demonstrate how various components of new energy systems can work together; Franklin Field Apartments in Dorchester illustrates this well. Through a partnership between the City of Boston, the Boston Housing Authority (BHA), and National Grid, a networked geothermal pilot project will be developed at this public housing complex, incorporating apartment retrofit efforts such as replacing gas stoves with electric and engaging residents to train them on induction stove usage. 

Conclusion & Call to Action 

As an environmental justice (EJ) issue, making the transition to induction stoves entails careful policy and program development to ensure residents are engaged as part of the process. Importantly, communities, especially community-based organizations, are often the best equipped to educate others on the topic by relying on personal relationships and established trust. One example of these efforts is that offered by Cape Ann-based nonprofit the Cape Ann Climate Coalition (CACC) and their multi-faceted clean energy project, funded by the EmPower Massachusetts Program. 

EmPower, a grant program offered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, is an initiative to support the exploration, development, and implementation of program models/projects that provide access to the benefits of clean energy for previously underserved populations. CACC received a grant from the EmPower Program to launch a clean energy education program in Gloucester and Cape Ann, a program which focuses on various approaches to energy access including electrification and energy efficiency. The program also features a focus on induction cooking, a focus area enhanced by the Massachusetts Building Electrification Accelerator’s (also an EmPower grantee) sub-grant program. Through a series of cooking workshops, a social media campaign, and a lottery to win single-burner induction stove tops and pots, CACC will educate residents on how to electrify their kitchens and homes, why the transition away from gas appliances is important, and how to adjust after the switch to induction cooking.  

Efforts such as these are critical for overcoming barriers to clean energy adoption in EJ communities—addressing barriers such as financing, lack of trust, etc. head-on through programs like EmPower builds capacity within communities and primes them well to continue advocating for clean energy, and when paired with effective legislation, and can create impact that reaches far beyond one specific neighborhood.  

For projects with focus areas from induction stoves to community solar, heat pumps, and more, the EmPower program offers funding in a yearly cycle for both early-stage Innovation & Capacity Building and later stage Implementation grants. For more information on how to apply, grant types, and previous awardees, visit the program website; you can connect with the author of the piece here as well.


Belkhir, L., & Elmeligi, A. (2020). Carbon footprint of the global pharmaceutical industry and relative impact of its major players. Journal of Cleaner Production, 242, 118477. 

Gabel, D., Rist, R., Thornley, V., & Girardin, L. (2022). Life cycle assessment of domestic induction hobs: A comparison with gas hobs. Journal of Cleaner Production, 334, 147416. 

Iwegbue, C. M. A., Emoyan, O. O., Nwajei, G. E., Isirimah, N. O., & Otohinoyi, D. A. (2018). Assessment of electricity generation, consumption, and efficiency in Nigeria. Journal of Energy Research & Reviews, 2(2), 1-17. 

Kiplagat, J., Wang, R., Li, T. (2011). Renewable energy in Kenya: Resource potential and status of exploitation. Renewable and sustainable energy reviews, 15, 2960–2973. 

Krieger, N., Chen, J. T., Waterman, P. D., Soobader, M. J., Subramanian, S. V., & Carson, R. (2020). Choosing area based socioeconomic measures to monitor social inequalities in low birth weight and childhood lead poisoning: The Public Health Disparities Geocoding Project (US). Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 64(3), 191-198. 

Larochelle, C., Flora, J. R. V., Turner, S., Harris, C. M., & Tanzer, S. (2022). Access to Clean Energy in US Low-Income Communities: A Review of Program Design, Implementation, and Outcomes. Environmental Justice, 15(3), 113-122. 

Massachusetts Legislature. (n.d.). Senate Bill S.2477 - An Act Setting Next-Generation Climate Policy. Retrieved from 

Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). (2018). "Climate Resilience and Social Equity: A Community-Based Approach to Understanding Heat Vulnerability in Chelsea, Massachusetts." Retrieved from  

Svosve, C., Gudukeya, L. (2020). A Smart Smart Electric Electric Cooking Cooking Stove Stove. Procedia Manufacturing, 43(2019), 135–142.