Electrification is often presented as an optimal way to reduce a home’s carbon emissions, but it’s simply not practical to rely on electricity alone. No single energy source can solve the long-term environmental challenges we face.
Why isn’t all electrification the answer? The infrastructure required to keep up with the electrification movement would take decades to build and cost trillions of dollars. Furthermore, much of that burden falls on those who can afford it least.
Everyone deserves access to clean, reliable energy, and the more affordable that energy is, the more equitable its distribution will be. That’s why it’s important for builders, remodelers, and other construction professionals to consider a mix of clean energy options including propane.
How can propane be used in a home?
Propane is a viable home energy source that can be used to power residential appliances and systems including space and water heating, backup power, cooking appliances, clothes dryers, and outdoor living applications.
According to the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), there are currently nearly 12 million U.S. households using propane for space heating, water heating, or cooking. That number is continuously growing as builders, remodelers and homeowners are choosing propane for their construction projects. Propane provides a reliable, efficient energy solution right now.
How reliable is propane?
Propane is a portable energy source that can be stored on-site, allowing developments to be located anywhere. It gives developers the chance to build gas neighborhoods on land that they’d previously thought to be less desirable because natural gas wasn’t available. Plus, using propane can lower their cost for land, and increase their sales price because it isn’t all-electric.
Propane helps to reduce the strain on our fragile electric grid by shedding load, and the more diverse America’s energy mix is, the more reliable it is. Not only does propane decrease our dependence on electricity, but it’s also a stable, resilient, on- site energy source, helping support Americans even when the grid fails.
Can propane appliances decrease a home’s carbon footprint?
Electrification is typically looked at as a zero-emissions solution, but when full-fuel- cycle emissions are considered, construction professionals—and their customers—will see that there are compelling reasons to choose propane.
Propane is clean, environmentally friendly, and an excellent way to reduce emissions while meeting a customer’s energy needs. Propane produces significantly fewer carbon emissions compared to electricity for key residential applications, including water heating. Propane tankless water heaters, for example, can produce up to 61 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, 47 percent fewer nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, and 91 percent fewer sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions than electric storage tank water heaters, according to data from PERC.
Additionally, using propane produces 43 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than using an equivalent amount of electricity generated from the U.S. grid. That is because more than 60 percent of the energy consumed in our power plants is lost during production, transmission, or transformation before it gets to the home. Those power plant emissions are concentrated at the source and have a greater impact on the communities near them.
How does propane work with other energy sources?
Propane can complement on-site solar PV to reduce emissions while providing reliability—especially during challenging weather conditions. Low-emissions propane is one crucial way we can meet the challenge of creating a more environmentally friendly future, and propane’s future is even cleaner as we see more renewable propane available in the marketplace.
With its power, reliability and versatility, propane is part of an essential and diverse mix of energy sources that can be used in industries ranging from landscaping to home construction. And with important innovations on the horizon, propane will be able to serve the needs of future generations by providing even more sustainable solutions.
To learn more about the benefits of propane for residential construction, visit Propane.com/For-My-Home.
Bryan Cordill is the director of residential and commercial business development at the Propane Education & Research Council. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.