Casey Valencia

If you know about MUD (the Missoula Urban Demonstration Project) you probably think about tools when you hear about our organization. And when you think of tools you might just think of those used for construction and woodworking – saws, hammers, drills, screwdrivers, etc. But at MUD, tools cover a broad spectrum of uses.

Our containers are full of lawnmowers, cider presses, sewing machines, and even some especially unique offerings like a soy milk maker and a solar oven. One of our newest tools that we want to share with the community is now available thanks to our friends at Climate Smart Missoula: a portable induction stove cooktop!

If you’re not familiar with how induction stoves work you’re going to want to check out this overview from Electrify Missoula –basically, an induction stove is a super-efficient way to cook that uses magnetism and minimal electricity. By using fewer fossil fuels in our homes, like methane gas (aka natural gas), and requiring less electricity than a standard electric range, induction stoves and cooktops are a great option for folks looking to upgrade their kitchen.

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According to a 2019 study, roughly 23% of Missoula’s emissions come from methane gas, and a huge portion of that is gas used in our buildings. In the short term, methane actually has a higher heating impact on our climate than carbon, so it’s important to address. And, something else we’re learning more about are the health impacts that come from burning gas inside of our homes, as most methane appliances leak, even when they’re off, and contribute to poor indoor air quality. Gas stoves in homes have recently been linked to higher rates of childhood asthma cases, an increase in dementia in older adults, and one of the pollutants emitted, benzene, is a carcinogen linked to blood cancers like leukemia. These two things combined are a great reason to start thinking about other options for cooking inside our homes.

There are many potential health and environmental benefits of switching up how we cook. But like any big investment or opportunity to purchase a new technology, you may want to take out your new appliance for a test ride before purchasing it. And that is where the new induction stove at MUD comes in. You can borrow it from us and see how well it works with your current pots and pans and see how it compares to your current cooking option.

For us, we’ve been testing it out as an alternative to our portable propane stove that people often use for cooking their Thanksgiving turkey or brewing beer. While the propane stove is a useful resource for some really big, heavy cooking tasks, it also has a lot of barriers. It has to be used outside, requires a heavy propane canister to run, and isn’t super-efficient.

We are experimenting this fall to see if the induction cooktop could replace this hefty tool as a more lightweight, energy efficient alternative. So if you’re looking to brew your next batch of beer or fry up a turkey for your family, stop by the tool library and give induction a try – and let us know how it goes!

While you’re at it you can borrow a variety of tools to help you live more sustainably this fall and winter. MUD can help you get your yard and garden ready for winter, provide you the tools to winterize your house to be more efficient, and also help with your upcycled gift giving.

MUD also has several workshops coming up this fall that cover a wide variety of sustainable living topics including:

October 14th – Knife and Tool Sharpening

October 22nd – Bat House Workshop with National Wildlife Federation

November 29th – Wild Game Butchering

At MUD, we know that providing education and access to tools for sustainable living is an important way to empower our community to take action for a livable, healthy future. We’re excited that helping empower the switch to electric is now one more tool we can use towards this vision.

Casey Valencia is the Director of MUD, which empowers people to build a more sustainable community through tool sharing and hands-on learning. MUD’s Tool Library offers over 3,000 tools as a shared resource for Missoulians. MUD membership is based on a sliding-scale fee structure that minimizes barriers to getting tools and skills into our community. For more information visit

Climate Smart Missoula brings this Climate Connections column to you two Fridays of every month. Learn more about our work and sign up for our e-newsletter at

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