UCL Energy Institute


Decarbonising cooking in the kitchen – evidence review published by the UCL Energy Institute

31 August 2022

UCL Energy Institute reports on how delivering the UK’s net-zero homes target means decarbonising not just heating, but cooking in our homes

Photograph of lit gas burner

While most policy and research around the built environment is focused on heating and replacing gas boilers with heat pumps, the decarbonisation of cooking has received less policy or research attention. The UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Heat and Buildings Strategy has signalled the need to decarbonise the domestic building sector by phasing out cooking with gas.

Producing net-zero housing demands a major shift away from gas boilers to electric heat pumps to heat our homes, but it also offers the opportunity to tackle another source of household CO2 emissions: gas-powered cooking. Replacing gas burners with electric induction hobs can also lead to improvements in air quality in our kitchens and ultimately lead to the removal of gas supply completely, reducing bills significantly by removing the need to pay the standing charge for traditional gas supply. This could make a positive cost difference for homes and businesses as energy bills continue to rise. 

This research report, carried out in collaboration with BEIS, reviews the academic and trade literature on the decarbonisation of cooking, focusing on public attitudes to the introduction of induction hobs. It covers both the benefits of induction cooking, such as energy bill savings, health and welfare; and the downside, such as electromagnetic interference with heart pacemakers, the up-front investment cost and the need to replace aluminium pans with steel. The report finishes by reviewing international policy ‘best practice’ for decarbonising the kitchen for the UK, focusing in detail on the exemplary policies and measures being used at State level in California.

The report was funded by the UCL Public Policy Rapid Response programme, and written by Peter Mallaburn, Principal Research Fellow and Director of Policy and Governance, UCL Energy Institute. The review assessed evidence from academic sources and international experience using the peer-reviewed academic literature and three main sources of written evidence:

  • International policy databases: the EU Odyssee/Mure database, the JRC, the OECD and the International Energy Agency.
  • Research bodies including the European Centre for an Energy Efficiency Economy (ECEEE) and its American counterpart (ACEEE).
  • Policy and trade NGOs including the Building Decarbonization Coalition, the Regulatory Action Project (RAP) and the UK Green Building Council.

Key evidence was also discussed with experts in the Universities of Oxford, Leeds, Edinburgh and UCL, and with the UK Energy Systems Catapult, the Carbon Trust, the US National Resources Defence Council and officials from US State bodies in California.

Read the report

Photo uncredited, on Pixabay.com