Jul 20 2021

The draft Piedmont Safer Streets Plan is now available for public review and comment. The City would love to hear what you think. Please send the city your comments in writing to SaferStreets@piedmont.ca.gov through Sunday, August 22, 2021.

City staff and the project consultant will give a presentation on the contents of the plan at this month’s meeting of the Piedmont Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC). The meeting is this THURSDAY, JULY 22, at 5:30 pm. You may find the meeting agenda here.

For questions about the Piedmont Safer Streets project or about the PBAC, contact Gopika Nair (City of Piedmont), at SaferStreets@Piedmont.ca.gov or at (510) 420-3054.

Jul 19 2021

Dear Piedmont City Council,

Back in the spring, we approached the City about sharing the results of the calculations we had been working on since the fall about the feasibility of designing a pool facility that created zero carbon emissions in its operation. We were asked by the City Administrator to prepare a summary report, with the idea that we’d follow it up with an in-person (Zoom) meeting. We understand that the City Administrator’s leave may have been what prevented this from happening, but we still would like the opportunity to present our feasibility study. We find it concerning that our input has basically been ignored, as evidenced by the draft RFP for a pool design team, which makes no reference to Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan or to the energy and GHG calculations that are needed if the City is going to follow the CAP and aim for a zero or very low emissions pool facility.

To summarize, our analysis of the 2017 Conceptual Design found that, even with its proposed use of solar tubes, the new pool facility would need 46% more natural gas to operate than the old pool facility needed in 2019. This is clearly not in line with our CAP targets of reducing our emissions by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030 and 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. Piedmont Connect did some preliminary calculations to determine if it would be possible to design a pool heating system that uses zero natural gas. We found that it would, indeed, be possible, using primarily a combination of efficient electric air-to-water heat pumps powered by solar PV. We estimated the annual operating costs of two such systems — one using a heat pump with a COP (Co-efficiency of Production) of 4 and one using an even more efficient heat pump with a COP of 6.  And we compared these two zero emissions options with an all-gas option and the solar tube option presented in the 2017 Conceptual Plan.

 All-gas

 Solar tubes

   COP 4 Heat   Pump

  COP 6 Heat  Pump

Annual C02 emissions

 494 MT*  C02

  68 MT  C02

   0 MT C02

  0 MT C02

Annual operating cost

 $169,924

 $ 93,220

 $165,744

 $132,211

*MT = Metric Tons

As you can see, the operating cost of the system using a COP 6 Heat Pump is only about $39,000 more per year AND it delivers on having zero emissions, in line with meeting our CAP goals. The solar tube-based design of the 2017 Conceptual Plan, as we say above, would increase pool emissions by 46% over 2019 levels, making it impossible for the municipal sector to meet Piedmont CAP targets. (Since heating the old pool constituted around 67% of overall municipal emissions, there is just no room to increase these emissions and meet our CAP targets.) These numbers are preliminary, and an updated conceptual design would need to do further analysis.

Please do not approve this RFP until the Climate Action Plan targets and the necessity of aiming for a  zero carbon pool water heating system and pool building are thoroughly integrated into the expectations we have of bidders.

Sincerely,

Piedmont Connect’s Pool Committee

Indira Balkissoon

Garrett Keating

Margaret Ovenden

Tom Webster

Jul 19 2021

Dear Council, Staff, and Members of the Pool Advisory Committee,

My sense from last week’s Pool Advisory Committee and from speaking with Council Members is that everyone involved in this project wants a pool facility that emits as few carbon emissions as possible. But the schedule and work plan presented at last week’s Pool Advisory Committee meeting, as well as the draft RFP for a project design team before you tonight have me deeply concerned that we are not on track to do this. I believe that right now we are in danger of being lulled into a design process that is biased, inadequate, and likely to lead to failure. I urge you to send this RFP back to the drawing board and to re-evaluate the project timeline and milestones.

Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan

How we set up the design process for the pool facility now will determine whether or not we are able to make its operations as close to zero carbon as feasible. From the looks of the RFP, we aren’t making a serious attempt at all. First of all, why is there absolutely no mention of Piedmont’s 2019 Climate Action Plan in the RFP? The CAP is a guiding document for the City, developed by staff with community input and approved by Council. If we aren’t going to pay attention to it now, for the first new major municipal construction project since it was passed, why did we bother investing our time and energy to develop it? Why don’t we just admit to the world that we in Piedmont value our comfort and convenience over making a serious effort to reduce our GHG emissions? An explanation of the Climate Action Plan and Piedmont’s GHG emissions targets needs to be part of  the “Background” section of the RFP, and it needs to be made clear to potential bidders that their proposals need to clearly explain how they will approach reaching these emissions reduction targets.

2017 Conceptual Design 

Planning for serious GHG emissions reductions in line with California and Piedmont emissions reduction targets has not been part of the conversation about the new pool facility to this point — not in the conceptual design process (at least rigorously), not in the UU campaign, not in the interviews for Pool Advisory Committee members. Granted, the early stages of this process were before the completion of our 2019 CAP and before the developed world started to experience widespread and unmistakable climate disasters. Now that we know how concertedly we need to act to mitigate climate change, we cannot move forward assuming that the 2017 conceptual design is the project “bible” and that everything must be planned around it. I am very concerned, based on information presented at the first PAC meeting and in this RFP, that staff and the project management team see that conceptual design as already being locked in.

Previously, Connect was told that the 2017 conceptual design was just a placeholder and that it would be thoroughly re-done when the actual project began. However, the information presented at the PAC meeting seemed to indicate that this 2017 conceptual design is what will be taken before the public for “validation.” Since it’s old, the conceptual design doesn’t take into account the emissions reduction targets set by Piedmont’s 2019 CAP. Its “green tech” elements are simply outdated and inadequate. It proposes to accomplish 55% of the pool water heating with a solar tube array (passive solar), leaving 45% of the pool water heating to natural gas. Since the proposed new facility will triple the pool area of the old facility, the 2017 design will still lead to an increase in the facility’s natural gas usage, despite its “green tech” features. The design would significantly (likely irreparably) set back the City’s GHG emissions reduction efforts. (For more details about the problems with the 2017 conceptual design in terms of emissions reductions, see page 3 of the April report Piedmont Connect prepared at the request of the City Administrator.)

The RFP appears to deepen this problem by paving the way for an early ruling out of attempting a zero emissions design. Instead of starting the project by figuring from scratch how to design a zero emissions facility, it calls for working backwards from the (flawed) 2017 conceptual design to see if it can be made zero emissions. If this is how we go about it, the answer will likely be, “no, it’s impossible.”

If the facility is truly going to achieve as few emissions as possible, the specific emissions reduction technologies that could achieve this need to be incorporated into the conceptual design from the beginning, as the space they would occupy will be part of the space of the overall facility and thus influence its layout (these technologies would likely include high efficiency air-to-water electric heat pumps, powered by on-site solar PV, passive solar elements, etc., all of which need dedicated space). If we try to reverse our way out of the 2017 design, we are almost guaranteed failure.

Emissions Calculations

While those of us in Connect who have been analyzing the possibilities for a zero emissions facility have called for doing the emissions calculations early, we were not asking for what the RFP calls for (“an in-depth feasibility and cost/benefit analysis to determine if the facility can reach a Net Zero Energy for construction, operations and maintenance of the facility. This analysis shall be performed in the Preliminary stage of design to make an early determination of the feasibility of this goal.”). The way the thinking of project managers seems to be going, the zero net carbon features are being seen as add-ins, frills that would be nice to have, but not essential to the project. With this mindset, zero carbon technologies will be first on the chopping block when it comes to value engineering. Instead, they need to be non-negotiable, and, if value engineering is needed, some of the actual frills of the project should be what we cut until we can get to them later. A pool energy system is not something that can easily be revised later. We may need to incorporate some of the elements in stages, but we need to plan for them from the beginning.

In addition, the type of GHG emissions analysis Connect has been calling for is not a simple cost-benefit analysis. This analysis will require a separate team of experts in complex energy and emissions calculations (so this team needs to be added to the RFP’s list of consultants who will be needed). These are not calculations that a team coming at the issue from a cost/benefit perspective will have the expertise to do correctly. They will be unfamiliar with the newer technologies that will be needed in a zero carbon design, and, as such, they could easily rule them out without understanding their role.

CEQA

Another big flaw in the RFP is that the section on CEQA submittals (1.3.4.1) does not reference the GHG assessment that is now part of CEQA (as of 2019). Here’s a link to the new language: https://resources.ca.gov/CNRALegacyFiles/ceqa/docs/2018_CEQA_FINAL_TEXT_122818.pdf  

In summary, “The revision of CEQA Guidelines section 15064.4 clarified several points, including the following:

  • Lead agencies must analyze the greenhouse gas emissions of proposed projects. (See CEQA Guidelines, § 15064.4, subd. (a).)
  • The focus of the lead agency’s analysis should be on the project’s effect on climate change, rather than simply focusing on the quantity of emissions and how that quantity of emissions compares to statewide or global emissions. (See CEQA Guidelines, § 15064.4, subd. (b).)
  • The impacts analysis of greenhouse gas emissions is global in nature and thus should be considered in a broader context. A project’s incremental contribution may be cumulatively considerable even if it appears relatively small compared to statewide, national or global emissions. (See CEQA Guidelines, § 15064.4, subd. (b).)
  • Lead agencies should consider a timeframe for the analysis that is appropriate for the project. (See CEQA Guidelines, § 15064.4, subd. (b).)
  • A lead agency’s analysis must reasonably reflect evolving scientific knowledge and state regulatory schemes. (See CEQA Guidelines, § 15064.4, subd. (b).)
  • Lead agencies may rely on plans prepared pursuant to section 15183.5 (Plans for the Reduction of Greenhouse Gases) in evaluating a project’s greenhouse gas emissions. (See CEQA Guidelines, § 15064.4, subd. (b)(3).)
  • In determining the significance of a project’s impacts, the lead agency may consider a project’s consistency with the State’s long-term climate goals or strategies, provided that substantial evidence supports the agency’s analysis of how those goals or strategies address the project’s incremental contribution to climate change and its conclusion that the project’s incremental contribution is consistent with those plans, goals, or strategies. (See CEQA Guidelines, § 15064.4, subd. (b)(3).)
  • The lead agency has discretion to select the model or methodology it considers most appropriate to enable decision makers to intelligently take into account the project’s incremental contribution to climate change. (See CEQA Guidelines, § 15064.4, subd. (c).)

LEED Certification

In the RFP and in the project management team’s presentation at the PAC meeting, when LEED certification was brought up, it was made to sound like LEED would apply to the entire facility. In my understanding, there’s no LEED certification system for pool water heating systems (I’d love to be proved wrong). LEED may perhaps apply to the pool structure, but it’s the pool water heating that will be by far the major source of the facility’s GHG emissions (unless we eliminate natural gas usage). It’s disingenuous (greenwashing) to label the entire facility as LEED certified, if this leaves out the major source of GHG emissions. In addition, for the structural elements of the pool (such as the pool house), why would we limit ourselves to LEED Silver? Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum LEED standards are older standards and mainly focused on energy efficiency and sustainable building materials. We should be aiming, instead, for the newer LEED Zero Carbon standard, which accounts for energy sources and verifies net zero goals. We strongly urge you to aim for LEED Zero Carbon, for the applicable parts of the project. Even if we can’t reach LEED Zero Carbon in the end, we need to set an ambitious goal to start with, rather than admitting defeat from the beginning.

This can be a pool facility for the 21st century, if we put our minds and wills to it. It’s time to pause and re-do the design team RFP as well as the project work plan and timeline.

Margaret Ovenden, Piedmont Resident

Jul 19 2021
Jul 19 2021

To the Piedmont City Council:

To date, the City has engaged the community in the design and funding of the new pool but has yet to assess community sentiment for building a pool that will not add to Piedmont’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  All of California and indeed the world are experiencing the early stresses of unchecked climate change and I think most Piedmonters do not want to build a pool that will add to that problem for their children.

The establishment of the Pool Advisory Committee offers the City the opportunity to have this community engagement about the proposed pool’s impact on climate change. To that end, selecting the right Project Architect will be essential to engaging the PAC and community in designing a pool that offers creative options but also tradeoffs to achieve the 2030 and 2050 GHG reduction targets set forth in Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan (CAP).

Unfortunately, the Griffin template used for the RFQ/P is inadequate for soliciting proposals to conduct this engagement and creative pool design.  For example, the staff report states that the “Scope of Services and Work Plan notes the City’s environmental goals” but that is not true; nowhere in the request for proposals do the words “Climate Action Plan” occur.  GHG reduction is without question the City’s most urgent environmental goal, yet there is no condition in the RFQ/P seeking services to assist the City with meeting it’s 2030 and 2050 targets.

The only concession to city environmental goals appears to be the incorporation of LEED silver design principles, outdated principles that do not address GHG reduction, rather than LEED-Zero, the latest LEED standards that incorporate renewable energy into the design.  Similarly, the RFQ/P calls for a Net Zero Energy (NZE) assessment of the conceptual facility, not Net Zero Carbon (ZNC)-driven design that could help achieve the city’s CAP goals. The RFQ/P should at least acknowledge the 2030 and 2050 reduction targets as project goals and solicit proposals that show how the new pool will integrate with the city-wide GHG reduction targets.

Staff gave assurances that if the RFQ/P does not solicit adequate proposals then additional rounds of solicitation will be undertaken. Unfortunately, this RFQ/P starts on the wrong foot and should be re-drafted to seek stronger proposals that deliver the services the city needs to achieve CAP goals.  The staff report acknowledges that the original date for issuance of the RFQ/P was August 2.

I suggest that Council take no action this evening [July 19] and instead give direction to staff to incorporate stronger language into the RFQ/P requesting proposals address GHG reduction of the conceptual design through design and energy infrastructure.  The current conceptual design fails to show any GHG emissions calculations so the City can obtain this analysis by having consultants do this in their proposals.

In the event Council decides to proceed with the RFQ/P, consider the following changes:

Acronyms/Definitions: add a definition for “building” to this section to clarify that the term includes the pool house and the pools.  GHG emissions from the pools vastly exceed those of the pool house and must be included in any LEED or NZE analysis for the facility.

1.1 Basic Services:  Don’t specify LEED silver as the design goal. First, this bar is too low and it sends a signal to consultants that they can achieve this project objective without appreciably addressing GHG emissions.  State instead that the city seeks the highest LEED certification for the pool and let consultants compete by submitting creative proposals.

1.2.12 Value Engineering: This is a very important element of the work plan as there are numerous redundancies and inefficiencies in the current conceptual design. Language should be added to this section stipulating that value engineering be initiated during the conceptual design phase so changes can be presented during the community outreach phase.

And some clarification may be needed in the RFQ/P.  The first table below is from the feasibility assessment of the pool presented on the City website during the community pool bond initiative.  The second table below is that presented in the RFQ/P (page 6).  While the total lap pool area is the same (9600 sq. ft) there is a discrepancy in the number and length of swimming lanes.

Garrett Keating, Former Piedmont Council Member

Inline image

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8. Consideration of the Issuance of a Request for Qualifications/Proposals for Architectural/ Engineering/Planning and Design Services of the Piedmont Community Pool 0270-1022 https://piedmont.ca.gov/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=17851805

Jul 18 2021

Special Closed Session 6 pm

Special & Regular Session 6:30 pm

Consent Calendar

1. Approval of Meeting Minutes for 05/22/2021, 06/07/2021, and 06/21/2021

2. 2 nd Reading of Ord. 761 N.S. Renewed and Amended Lease for the Piedmont Educational Foundation at 401 Highland Avenue 0705, 0045  https://piedmont.ca.gov/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=17851807

3. Approval of an Agreement with the Local Government Commission for a the Placement of a Civic Spark Fellow for FY 2021-2022 0045

4. Receipt of a Report on the City’s Investment Portfolio 0475-3070 https://piedmont.ca.gov/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=17851792

5. Approval of the Replacement of Two Police Department Unmarked Vehicles 0045

6. Approval of a Renewed Agreement with Alameda County Regarding the Collection of Taxes 0045

Public Forum This is an opportunity for members of the audience to speak on an item not on the agenda.

Ceremonial Items Introduction of New Employees

Regular Agenda

7. Consideration of the Designation of Four Parking Spaces on Bonita Avenue as Ninety Minute Parking and an Agreement with East Bay Community Energy for Electric Vehicle Charger Funding 0045, 0735  at this point  https://piedmont.ca.gov/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=17851796

8. Consideration of the Issuance of a Request for Qualifications/Proposals for Architectural/ Engineering/Planning and Design Services of the Piedmont Community Pool 0270-1022 https://piedmont.ca.gov/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=17851805

9. Consideration of an Agreement with the University of Texas, San Antonio to Conduct Data Analysis of Piedmont Police Department Calls for Service 0045 https://piedmont.ca.gov/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=17851788

10. Consideration of Memoranda of Understanding with the Following Labor Groups for the Period of 07/01/2021 through 06/30/2025: a. Piedmont Firefighters Association b. Piedmont Police Officers Association 0045  https://piedmont.ca.gov/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=17851800

Reports from Councilmembers

Announcements

Old business and consideration of future agenda items

Adjourn

Agenda and participation via teleconference below:

https://piedmont.ca.gov/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/City%20Council/Agenda/council-current-agenda.pdf

More staff reports > https://piedmont.ca.gov/government/city_council/staff_reports

 

Jul 12 2021

– Are you wondering how to save money on your household’s garbage collection services?

The City of Piedmont maintains an exclusive Franchise Agreement with Republic Services to provide solid waste, recycling, and organic collection services in the City. New service rates became effective July 1, 2021.

Here are ways to reduce the cost:

  •  The Annual Pre-Payment Discount allows single family customers to voluntarily pay for one (1) year of service with the twelfth (12th) month of service provided at no charge. That is 12 months of service for the cost of 11 months of service. Enroll in the discount by contacting Republic Services. 
  • Service rates are based upon the size of your garbage cart. Collection service for recyclables and organics is unlimited in volume and provided at no additional cost. By recycling more and generating less garbage, you may be able to switch to a smaller garbage cart to save money.
  • But be sure to choose the right container for your garbage needs. Charges will be assessed for overflowing garbage, garbage set out beyond your service level, or allowing garbage to accumulate on your property. Recycling carts and organics carts contaminated with garbage will not be serviced. Call Republic Services at (800) 320-8077 to order additional or larger carts for recyclables and organics. 
  • On-premises (backyard) collection service costs more than curbside service. Switching to curbside service saves approximately $46 per month. With curbside collection, the customer is responsible for placing the wheeled carts at the curb on their regular collection service day and returning the carts to their storage location promptly after collection. With curbside collection, carts are not limited in size as they are with on-premises collection.
  • Physically disabled residential customers with no able-bodied household members are eligible to receive on-premises (backyard) collection at curbside rates. The maximum cart size available to on-premises collection is 35 gallons. To receive the discount, the account holder must fill out the application for exemption to curbside placement of carts, provide a doctor’s certification that the customer is unable to move the carts to the curb or provide a copy of a valid California Disability Placard, and verify that there are no able-bodied household members that can move the carts to the curb. 

Republic Services can be contacted about these services via phone (800-320-8077), email (piedmont@republicservices.com), or online (https://www.republicservices.com/municipality/piedmont-ca).

 To learn more about Piedmont Evergreen, the City of Piedmont’s outreach and education program for waste reduction, recycling, and composting, visit the City’s website page https://piedmont.ca.gov/services___departments/planning___building/recycling_organic_waste_garbage

Alyssa Dykman, City of Piedmont, Sustainability Program Manager 7/12/2021

Jul 10 2021

Many gardeners know that pesticides are harmful to the environment and try to
minimize their use, but did you know that many of the plants that you buy come
pretreated with pesticides called neonicotinoids (neonics)?

Neonics are derived from nicotine, and these pesticides contaminate the entire plant for at least 10 years, as well as the soil they are planted in, the water they come in contact with, and the insects and pollinators that feed on them.

According to the Pollinator Posse, plants treated with neonics may be more attractive to
pollinators like bees, which may amplify their harmful ecological impact. Neonics are
considered a primary contributor to the massive decrease in bee and monarch butterfly
populations, along with climate change and habitat loss. Perhaps more alarming,
neonics are also linked to nervous system toxicity and reproductive disorders in
humans.

What can you do?
● Buy and plant wildlife-friendly, California native plants.
● When purchasing plants, read the plant label carefully or ask if they have been
treated with neonics. Let proprietors know that you prefer untreated plants. If in
doubt, shop elsewhere. Native plants are typically grown by specialist native
plant nurseries that do not use neonics. Luckily, Inner East Bay gardeners have
several neonic-free native nurseries nearby: East Bay Wilds Native Plant Nursery
in Oakland; Native Here Nursery in Berkeley; Oaktown Native Plant Nursery in
Berkeley; and The Watershed Nursery in Richmond. Ace Garden Center on
Grand Ave carries some (but not all) neonic-free brands and their native plant
section is quite small. Find a more complete list of Bay Area native plant
nurseries here.
● Buy organic produce whenever possible– it is not treated with neonics.
● Recognize that bites out of a plant leaf are a sign of a healthy ecosystem where
plants, pollinators, and other small lifeforms co-exist.

Pesticides are regulated at the federal and state levels. On the federal level, “Saving
America’s Pollinators Act” was introduced in Congress by the U.S. Representatives Earl
Blumenauer (D-OR) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) in June 2021 and would require the
EPA to take action to stop pollinator decline. Several US states and communities have
also instituted regulations. California is currently considering whether to list neonics
under Proposition 65, based on neurodevelopmental and reproductive effects on
humans. The European Union banned the use of outdoor neonics in 2018.

The City of Piedmont follows federal and state regulations and, in 2010, adopted an
integrated pest management (IPM) program that focuses on preventing infestations and
using pesticides only in rare cases (to save a mature native tree, for example) and as a
last resort.

For more information about neonics, check out these resources: the Natural Resources
Defense Council, Beyond Pesticides, and the Environmental Working Group.

By Indira Balkissoon and Marianne Mitosinka of Piedmont Connect

Jul 10 2021
We are re-opening July 12, 2021!
Planning & Building staff members are looking forward to reopening City Hall on Monday, July 12, and offering excellent service to the community, both in person and electronically.
Several of the service enhancements that we started during the pandemic will continue as we begin to serve you in person, including:
* Electronic permit submittals and issuance – in addition to submitting applications and plans in person at City Hall, you have the option to file your building permit applications and design review permit applications via email. Current application forms and submittal requirements are available at https://piedmont.ca.gov/government/forms___applications
  • Planning applications can be filed via email to ondutyplanner@piedmont.ca.gov. Wireless Communication Facilities permit applications must be filed with a planner, in person at City Hall.
* Credit card payments with a 2.9% convenience fee – many applicants choose to pay application fees by check, which may be dropped off at City Hall, at the counter or through the mail slot on the front door. Please write the project address on the envelope containing the check. However, applicants also have the option to pay fees with a credit card by contacting Administrative Assistant Mark Enea at menea@piedmont.ca.gov to receive an invoice via email for payment by credit card for application fees. Please make your payment within 24 hours of electronically filing your application.
* Appointments – Piedmonters found virtual meetings to be a convenient way to ask questions of – and meet with – City staff. Applicants and community members can save time and avoid a crowded counter by scheduling an appointment with staff. Appointments have the advantage of connecting you with the subject matter expert for your particular question, certainty of when you will get the information you need, no waiting in lines, and convenience of meeting virtually from anywhere in the world.
Appointments are available from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. Email ondutyplanner@piedmont.ca.gov or call (510) 420-3050 to schedule your planning and design review appointment. If you are already working with a specific staff member on a project, you can contact them directly for an appointment.
Jul 4 2021

Piedmont resident Jennifer Nixon loves to cook and try new things. She is also exploring more ways to be a “good climate citizen” and is “inspired by the Piedmont Climate Challenge and all the helpful ideas on the website.”

After watching an “induction cooking party” video with chef Rachelle Boucher, from BayREN & Kitchens to Life, she was curious to see if this new cooking method would change her style. So, last April, she became one of the first Piedmonters to borrow the single-burner, induction cooktop, offered for free by the City of Piedmont for a two week trial.

And how did she like it? “Everything I cooked —omelettes, sautés, pasta, polenta and soup — turned out well,” Jennifer says. “I also appreciated the City providing two pieces of induction cookware (a sauce pot and a fry pan) and a magnet to test my own cookware. Four of mine passed the test.

Induction cooking is very fast, which means you spend less time at the stove and use less energy. And I imagine less heat means having a cooler kitchen on hot days. I had a little learning curve with the temperature settings, and you have to get used to not ‘seeing’ how high the heat is, as with gas burners. But I believe it’s safer, since the cooktop is cool to the touch – only the pan heating the food gets hot, and there are no gas emissions. It’s also easy to keep clean.”

Before deciding to purchase an induction cooktop, Jennifer plans to do more research on the cost of a five-burner induction cooktop, which can run from $2,000 – $3,400, plus the cost of installing a 240V electric outlet, which is required for a five-burner cooktop. (Cost of a noninduction, electric range begins around $900.) Jennifer might also consider buying a one-or two-burner induction cooktop, which is far less expensive and uses a regular household plug.

As an incentive, BayRen offers a $300 rebate for purchase of a new induction cooktop. Regarding the required magnetized cookware (cast iron is fine), Jennifer notes that pans should have a flat bottom and concentric rings on the outer edge of the base. “The base of the pan must completely cover the burner,” she says. “And don’t use metal spoons to cook as they may pass on the current to your body.”

For more information on induction cooking and on borrowing Piedmont’s single-burner
induction cooktop, visit:
https://piedmont.ca.gov/cms/one.aspx?portalId=13659823&pageId=17510635

Marjorie Blackwell, Piedmont Resident