Limiting the need for new gas lines and adopting all-electric standards would reduce negative health impacts and energy cost burden on the low- to moderate-income communities if done in a manner that minimizes appliance conversion and adoption costs borne by consumers and owners. Prioritizing equity and affordability to the most-vulnerable families as well as ensuring that the current workforce is not displaced will have the most positive impact.
This topic proved to be of significant concern during the Green Building listening session. Several Nevadans expressed the need for a choice when it comes to natural gas or electric in new construction and retrofits of residences. Many others, particularly in rural communities with limited access to the grid, and those with commercial kitchens, indicated that access to gas was necessary.
However, research shows that NO2 and CO released by burning gas ovens can compromise indoor air quality and the health of families and those working in commercial kitchens (e.g. Zhu et al., 2020). Similar to outdoor air pollution, children are particularly vulnerable and those that live in homes with gas stoves are 42% more likely to have asthma than children who live in a home with induction cooktops and electric ovens (RMI 2020).
Further research and engagement with communities across Nevada is needed to properly analyze and assess the climate justice issues. There is also a need to engage in discussions about the risks of indoor gas use.