RESOURCE CENTER & HELPDESK

Located within our EcoStore at 2530 San Pablo Avenue, our Resource Center holds a variety of offerings. Here you’ll find our media and seed libraries.

We’re thrilled to partner with Dispatch Goods to host a Dispatch drop-off bin. Dispatch partners with restaurants and caterers across the Bay Area to allow customers to choose reusables instead of single use foodware. This means you can drop-off your rinsed Dispatch containers while you shop or browse our libraries. 

a portable induction hob with a stainless steel pan, tote bag, and recipe cards on a kitchen counterIn conjunction with East Bay Community Energy and Acterra, we also offer an induction cooktop loaner program in our Resource Center. By switching to electrical appliances like an induction stove, you can reduce your home’s use of natural gas and improve indoor air quality at the same time! To pick up an induction cooktop to try at home, fill out this request form

Through our Help Desk, the Ecology Center provides information on a wide range of environmental issues from toxics to composting to activism.

We are available to answer questions over the phone, via e-mail, or on a walk-in basis. Also keep an eye out for Help Desk pop-ups at the Berkeley Farmers’ Markets and other local community events.

Our staff handle questions on a wide range of topics. If we are unable to answer a question ourselves, we can usually make a referral.

HELP DESK HOURS Phone/ Email:
Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 6 PM
In-Person:
Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 6 PM
PHONE 510-548-2220 x233
EMAIL helpdesk@ecologycenter.org
ADDRESS 2530 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley CA

 

Sample Questions

How can I get rid of the ants in my kitchen without using dangerous pesticides?

I’d like to join a community garden, how do I find one?

Can you help me figure out how to keep bees?

I have some old batteries; how do I dispose of them?

Where can I get a worm composting bin and worms?

Resource Center Offerings

In addition to the Help Desk and Hotline, the Ecology Center has many other resources to help you with your environmental research, interests, and projects:

Induction Lending Program FAQ

Do I need an Ecology Center membership to take a loaner cooktop ?
No. You can pick up the kit from the Ecology Center’s resource Center without a membership.

How long is the loan period?
Once notified, you have one week to pick up the cooktop, and four weeks to bring it back.

Any special instructions for cleaning the cooktop or the pan?
The cooktop can be wiped down to clean it.

The saute pan and lid included in the standard kit should be cleaned with soapy water; if food is stuck, please soak it in hot water and soap and clean it with a sponge. Do not use steel wool.

The wok included in the wok kit can be cleaned by wiping it out and with a sponge and soap. If you are comfortable with seasoning a wok, we welcome you to season the wok as you use it and before you return it.

Why switch to electric induction ?
Gas stoves are unhealthy for your family and the planet. Gas stoves emit toxic gasses into your house that can cause asthma and other respiratory problems. Gas stoves emit carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere which contribute to global warming. Induction stoves use clean electricity. Choose 100% renewable electricity from your local community choice energy provider.

It’s energy efficient. Just the pan is heated. No energy is wasted heating the air around the pan. Induction stoves are 85% efficient. Gas stoves only deliver 32% of the flame heat to the pan.

Does an electric range remain hot for a long time after it is turned off?
With no flame and little residual heat after you remove the pan, induction cooking reduces accidental burns.

Does this portable cooktop work with a standard 120 volt outlet?
Yes, the portable cooktops available through the lending program work with a standard 120 volt outlet.

If I’m satisfied with my induction experience how can I get an induction stove?
Induction cooktops can be found at any appliance or home improvement store and prices are coming down. They are sold in three different configurations:
Range These are four to six element cooktops paired with an electric convection oven. They require a 240 volt outlet. Prices range from under $900 to over $3,000.
Cooktops A four or five element cooktop can drop into a countertop independently from a standalone oven. They require a 240 volt outlet or may be hardwired into the electrical system. Prices range from $400 to over $2,000.
Portables These one and two element units can be set on a countertop anywhere and plugged in to a standard 120 volt outlet. These generally don’t have the power boost option to heat up as fast as the 240 volt models but are still rapid. Prices range from $50 to over $500 for some commercial grade portables.

Do you have other questions?
Email Helpdesk@ecologycenter.org
Or call 510-548-2220 x233
For more information on induction, check out our Induction Factsheet made in partnership with the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition Electrification Working Group.