Propane is a gateway energy source enabling builders to follow green building guidelines and offer the extra value, efficiency, reliability, and versatility of gas. Propane will go anywhere a project is located and offers dependable gas service beyond the natural gas mains. Propane is environmentally friendly. It is non-toxic to soil and water. It is approved by the EPA as an alternative green engine fuel, and has one of the lightest hydrocarbon footprints of any fossil fuel on earth.
After completing this course, you will be able to: Identify multiple energy sources, including propane. Identify the benefits of using propane instead of other energy options. Describe the distribution of propane and retail services available. Illustrate the different residential propane storage options. Explain the impact of fossil fuels and electricity on the greenhouse gas effect. Explain the benefits a homeowner receives from building a green home with propane. Identify the NAHB Green Building Guidelines. Identify green residential space and water heating applications. List other residential propane applications.
Consumers have many energy options when they build their homes. In this module we will discuss some of the more popular options in the United States today. These choices include electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, geothermal, and solar energy. Then we will focus on the benefits of propane as an efficient, reliable, safe and environmentally friendly energy solution. To conclude, we’ll look at different ways propane can be stored for residential use.
Consumers have many different options when deciding what energy source they wish to use to fuel their home. These choices include the following list. Electricity Natural Gas Fuel Oil Propane as a Hybrid Partner for Electricity Solar Heating Geothermal Heating Combined Heat & Power
Electricity has been generated as a power source for over 100 years. It is produced using coal, nuclear power, natural gas, hydroelectric, and petroleum power, with a small amount from solar energy, tidal harnesses, wind generators, and geothermal sources. According to the Department of Energy, half of the electricity generated in the United States is produced by burning coal. In these fossil fuel power plants, the chemical energy stored in the coal is converted into thermal energy, mechanical energy and finally, electrical energy. This energy is distributed using the U.S. electrical grid through the plant's geographic service area. The production of electricity from fossil fuels contributes to acid rain, global warming, and air pollution, with electricity generation being responsible for 38 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. The U.S. electrical grid has been criticized in recent years for its age and performance during heat-related blackouts and storms. Critics have cited that utilities need to upgrade old transformers, circuit breakers, and power lines in an industry with fewer power utility workers and a grid contending with increased electricity demand from central air conditioning systems, multiple computers, big screen televisions, and the many other electricity powered consumer appliances.
Natural gas is a gaseous fossil fuel consisting primarily of methane. It is found in oil fields and natural gas fields, and in coal beds. Natural gas burns cleaner than many other fossil fuels, such as oil and coal, and produces less greenhouse gas per unit of energy released. For an equivalent amount of heat, burning natural gas produces about 30% less carbon dioxide than burning petroleum and about 45% less than burning coal. Propane gas shares very similar characteristics. The major difficulty in the use of natural gas is transportation and storage because of its low density. The network of natural gas pipelines is limited to high density population areas and is often difficult and always expensive to expand. Where available, natural gas is supplied to homes and it is used for such purposes as cooking, clothes drying, water heating, central heating and cooling. Home or other building heating equipment may include boilers, furnaces, and water heaters. This picture displays the vastness of the construction of a natural gas pipeline.
Heating oil, also known in the United States as No. 2 fuel oil and elsewhere as &quot;red diesel&quot;, is a low viscosity, liquid petroleum product used to fuel building furnaces or boilers. It is commonly delivered by tank truck to residential, commercial and municipal buildings and stored in above-ground storage tanks located adjacent to buildings or in basements. This energy option is primarily used in the Northeast United States. Heating oil is very similar to diesel fuel and burns with a heavier carbon footprint than propane or natural gas. Leaks from tanks and piping are an environmental concern because of possible contamination of soil and ground water. Various federal and state regulations are in place regarding the proper transportation and storage of heating oil because of these EPA concerns. Many states no longer allow underground fuel oil tanks because of soil and groundwater contamination potential.
Propane can be used as a secondary energy source for hybrid partnering with electric, solar, and geothermal energy. Electricity: As more luxury homes are built farther from municipal power lines, electrical power becomes less reliable or completely unavailable. A propane stand-by generator can keep the electricity going in case of an electrical failure or can even serve as the primary energy source for homes off the grid. Housed outside, they draw propane from a home’s propane storage tank. They run quietly and efficiently, even as the primary source of power for the home. Propane can be partnered with an air to air heat pump as back up in cold weather. When the heat pump can't keep up on its own, propane can provide heat without having to resort to additional electric strip heaters which are very expensive to operate. Additionally, cogeneration units provide home heat, as well as electrical power.
Solar: Solar energy is the technology of obtaining usable energy from the light of the sun. It is used to generate electricity, to heat water for potable use and for heating purposes. Although there is an abundance of sunlight available for energy use, with present technologies solar electricity is expensive compared to grid electricity. Additionally, solar power is dependent on daylight and climate. In these conditions solar energy can be supplemented by more dependable forms of energy such as propane.
Geothermal: Geothermal heat pumps draw heat from the ground during the winter and from the indoor air during the summer. When the geothermal heat pump runs frequently during the summer, it can heat your water. During the fall, winter, and spring, when the heat pump isn't producing as much excess heat, you'll want to rely on a propane storage or on demand water heater to heat water. You will also want to consider propane as a back up energy for heating in colder climates when a geothermal system can’t keep up under heavy heating load.
Combined Heat & Power (CHP) A cogeneration, combined heat and power (CHP) unit generates both heat and electricity in an environmentally friendly manner for residential applications. This innovative appliance is designed to run inside a home and is clean, quiet, and is very efficient. Typical models can run for 4,000 continuous hours between maintenance needs and is designed to last 10 years before major maintenance. Some units function best in applications where hydronic systems are used, however some can be used with forced air heating systems. See the graphic to see how a CHP system works.
Propane is a very reliable fuel source and a desirable source of energy when natural gas is not available. Moreover, a poll of home builders conducted in 2006 by the National Association of Home Builders found that 34% of poll participants used underground propane tanks in 2005 for locations that either had partial or no access to natural gas. Most gas burning appliances and heating equipment are manufactured to use either propane or natural gas or can be converted from one type of gas to the other. Additionally, propane can serve as a fuel source for stand-by power generators. A stand-by generator can turn on automatically whenever electricity fails and power all propane and electric appliances temporarily. This is especially important for the 9 million households of hurricane-prone states. A 2006 survey found 48% of adult residents of these states anticipated losing electric service for at least 24 hours at some point that year.
Safety is the propane industry ’ s highest priority and as a result, propane has quite a remarkable safety record. Stringent codes and regulations have been developed internally and through the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Statistics compiled by the NFPA indicate that the safest way to heat is with gas. Propane has built-in safety properties and will not ignite when combined with air unless the source of ignition reaches 920 ｡ F. Propane gas is also nontoxic and produces minimal emissions. It is not harmful to soil or ground water and has an odorant added to identify leaks.
Although the propane industry itself follows stringent guidelines, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) publishes the NFPA 58: Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code . It is a code for propane adopted in all 50 states and widely referenced around the globe. This publication is the most trusted source for safety requirements concerning highway transportation of propane and the design, construction, installation, and operation of all LP-Gas systems whether they are for community tanks or single-residential tanks.
Over time, propane costs nearly half as much per BTU as electricity, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Propane burns hotter and more evenly than many other fuels. Propane appliances have a shorter energy savings payback period – around five years – depending on location and installation factors. This is the time it takes for an appliance to pay for itself via energy savings. For example, upfront costs of high-efficiency propane heating systems are quickly recovered through reduced annual energy bills. Also, tankless water heaters eliminate the cost of the energy lost from maintaining the temperature of water in traditional tank type water heaters.
Propane has long been recognized as an environmentally friendly energy. It is clean burning, non-toxic, and does not leave residuals. Per pound of fuel consumed, propane emits less than half as much carbon dioxide as coal and almost no sulfur dioxide. Therefore, the use of propane over coal generated electricity contributes to the lowering of Greenhouse Gasses (GHG). With the predominant GHG being Carbon Dioxide, GHG emissions left from fuel use are sometimes referred to as a “Carbon Footprint.” We’ll take a much closer look at the effects of propane and electricity on our carbon footprint in the next learning module.
As described previously, propane is a very reliable fuel. The majority of what we use is produced domestically. Over 95% of the propane used in the United States is produced in North America. Propane is one of the many by-products of oil refining and natural gas processing. And with the largest storage capacity in the world, the United States propane supply is abundant. Pipelines, processing facilities, refueling stations, distribution centers and storage facilities already exist across the country, making large capital investments in infrastructure unnecessary.
Propane retailers are trained professionals located all over the country and provide propane service wherever there is a need. Go to www.usepropane.com and the “Find a Propane Retailer” section and type in the zip code of your project location to find a propane retailer servicing that area. Many propane retailers also provide a wide range of related products and services. Residential Services include the service and refilling of existing propane tanks and/or propane home energy systems. Commercial Services Service and refilling of existing propane tanks and/or propane commercial energy systems. Cylinder, refill, exchange, and repair Service and repair of portable propane gas cylinders (i.e., grill tanks). Cylinder exchange program Exchange empty portable propane gas cylinders for new tanks (i.e., grill tanks). Tank installation Delivery and connection of tanks and/or propane energy systems.
As an alternative to natural gas and electricity, some communities are being developed with propane tanks scaled to serve entire communities. For example, an upscale Florida housing community is currently being developed with a residential propane distribution system that will service the 548 planned homes. In this community, the developer has provided the easements for the tanks to be buried and the necessary infrastructure for the local utility. Tank volume and fuel usage will be tracked remotely for each home with a solar-powered telemetry unit to bill each resident on their actual usage. Each home will be equipped with 7 to 12 piped connections to fuel their indoor and outdoor appliances so residents will be able to take advantage of energy efficient tankless water heaters, commercial cooking appliances, and outdoor cooking without ever having to refill a propane cylinder. Additionally, each home will have a propane stand-by generator. This is important to maintain livability during the extended electricity outages that can occur during active hurricane seasons by the gulf coast and southern Atlantic state resident.
If a homeowner’s community does not offer a community propane tank system, single-family residential homeowners can have an underground propane tank installed, as this is a growing trend. Installing the tank underground allows the owner to utilize propane for indoor and outdoor applications while not affecting the home’s landscape. All that is visible above ground is a small dome for refilling, testing, and servicing. Most importantly, tanks can be buried because propane is environmentally friendly. As such, they are not subject to the Environmental Protection Agency’s underground storage tank regulations. There may be times when installing an underground tank is not preferred or is not possible. In these cases, the propane tank can be installed either above ground or mounded. An above ground tank sits on top of the ground on a concrete or other approved foundation. The tank is typically painted a light color to reflect heat and control the pressure inside. There are many landscape options to accommodate an above ground tank so that it blends in with its surroundings. A mounded tank is a possible compromise for a homeowner that has landscaping requirements but digging for an underground tank is not an option. A mounded tank is buried at a very shallow depth and covered with fill soil, forming a raised mound above the existing soil grade and can be landscaped as desired.
Growing concerns about climate change and the environmental impacts of conventional fuels are encouraging the development and use of technologies and energy sources that can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Propane is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency as a clean alternative fuel, and it also performs better than many other fuels with respect to GHG emissions. Propane's on-site emissions have lower carbon content than gasoline, diesel, heavy fuel oil, and ethanol. Even when upstream emissions—emissions released as a result of extracting and processing energy—are factored into the equation, propane is still one of the best fuel options from a GHG perspective.
Climate changes reflect variations within the Earth's atmosphere, processes in other parts of the Earth such as oceans and ice caps, and the effects of human activity. The external factors that can shape climate are often called climate forcings and include such processes as variations in solar radiation, the Earth's orbit, and greenhouse gas concentrations. Greenhouse gases keep the earth at a comfortable temperature, allowing most of the energy from the sun to pass through the atmosphere and warm the earth while blocking much of the outward radiation from the earth. However, increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are cause for concern. Rather than maintaining equilibrium, high concentrations of greenhouse gases are now affecting the global climate system, leading to climate change.
Federal regulation of Greenhouse gases, to supplement current local and state initiatives, is increasing due to the changes these gases cause the environment on a global scale. The most prevalent GHG – carbon dioxide – is a necessary byproduct of fossil fuel combustion. The amount of carbon dioxide released depends not on leaks or side reactions, but on the amount of carbon in the fuel and the amount of fuel consumed. Greenhouse gases are non-reactive and remain in the atmosphere for decades to centuries (Rubin and Rao 2002). In general, lighter hydrocarbons release less carbon dioxide during combustion than heaver hydrocarbons, because lighter hydrocarbons consist of fewer carbon atoms per molecule. The mass of carbon dioxide released per Btu of fuel – the “carbon content” or as it is sometimes called the “carbon footprint” – is a good first-order indicator of the CO2 emissions comparison between fuels. The carbon content for eight common fuels is shown in this table. Natural gas (methane) generates fewer CO2 emissions per Btu than propane, but natural gas is chemically stable when released into the air and produces a global warming effect 25 times that of carbon dioxide. This means that one pound of methane produces the same effect on climate change as 25 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Propane is not a direct greenhouse gas when released into the air. Propane vapor is unstable in the atmosphere—it is chemically reactive and commonly removed by natural oxidation in the presence of sunlight or knocked down by precipitation. It is also removed from the atmosphere faster than it takes for it to become well-mixed and have impacts on global climate. Current measurements have not found a global climate impact from propane emissions. The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) footprint of propane is relatively small compared to other fuels in terms of total emissions and emissions per unit of energy consumed. Propane has the lowest on-site emission rates of the major fossil fuel sources, comparable with natural gas, as shown in the bar graph.
When quantifying the greenhouse gas emissions that result from the use of energy, it is important to distinguish between the emissions released at the location where the energy is consumed and the emissions released as a result of the generation of that energy. For example, in the United States the majority of the electricity is produced by the burning of fossil fuels, predominantly coal. If we look at the pie charts displayed we see that propane has a percentage of propane emissions less than its percentage of energy consumption. Therefore, GHG emissions of propane have less of an impact on climate change relative to its consumption rate. However, coal, with the largest market share of consumption, resulting primarily from the generation of electricity, contributes a percentage of emissions larger than its rate of consumption. Therefore GHG emissions of the burning of coal for electricity has a greater impact on climate change relative to its consumption rate. With propane’s low carbon content, it is advantageous compared to other energy sources in most applications.
It is estimated that 7.3 million traditional tank-based water heaters are disposed into landfills each year in the United States (Noritz, 2007). Installing a tankless water heater and a propane storage tank can reduce the amount of landfill waste. The most effective way to decrease waste is to prevent it in the first place. Purchasing durable, long lasting products is a means of waste prevention. With a tankless water heater you will be getting an extremely small, yet durable unit. The average tank water heater has a lifespan of 8-10 years, but a tankless water heater can last 2-3 times longer. The main components of most tankless water heaters are recyclable so there will be a significant decrease in waste materials from these types of units. Additionally, 70% of the steel and brass used to produce propane storage tanks has been recycled for use.
The project becomes more desirable to builders with the promise of increased marketability through homeowners’ overwhelming preference for dual-fuels. According to a survey by Knowledge Networks, demand for gas in homes remains high. Tax Credits Through 2010, tax credits are available to homeowners making energy efficient improvement in their homes. Most Energy Star-rated propane-fueled tankless water heaters and furnaces installed in existing homes are eligible for a tax credit of up to 30% of the cost of the product, or up to 1500 dollars. Additional tax credits and rebates for energy efficient upgrades on propane water heaters and heating systems are also available through state governments and local propane gas associations. Check in with www.dsireusa.org and www.buildwithpropane.com regularly for the most up-to-date tax credit and rebate information.
Propane is a gateway energy source enabling builders to follow green building guidelines and offer the extra value, efficiency, reliability, and versatility of gas. Propane will go anywhere a project is located and offers dependable gas service beyond the natural gas mains. There are over 60 different green building programs in the United States. In this module we will focus on the National Association of Home Builder’s (NAHB) Green Building Guidelines, as well as take a quick look at the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.
The National Green Building Standard is the first ANSI approved consensus standard on sustainable Green Building for residential construction. Propane is a gateway energy source enabling builders to follow green building standards and offer the extra value, reliability, and versatility of gas. Propane will go anywhere a project is located and offers dependable gas service beyond the natural gas mains. According to NAHB the Green Practices include: lot design, preparation, and development; resource efficiency; energy efficiency; water efficiency; indoor environmental quality; and operation, maintenance, and homeowner education.
There are four threshold levels of green building available to builders wishing to use this standard to rate their projects—Bronze, Silver, Gold and Emerald. At all levels, there are a minimum number of points required for each of the categories to assure that all aspects of green building are addressed and that there is a balanced, whole-systems approach. The Standard provides the user with the means to achieve basic, entry-level green building, or achieve the highest level of sustainable green building that incorporates energy savings of 60% or higher. The table shows the green building level thresholds and the significant number of points the use of propane can contribute to each level.
The ease of installing underground tanks minimizes the length of time soil is exposed and can earn up to five points. While Natural gas has to trench all the way across property, propane tanks can usually be placed 10 feet from house. Line boring can be done for gas lines, boom trucks can be used to place tanks with minimal, if any, driving on lot. In many cases, including community propane systems, propane can share utility trenches or easements with other utilities. This can earn up to five points.
You can earn points for building with propane. The 70% recycled content of propane tanks can help earn – two points. Recycling copper gas line scraps earns one point. Propane tanks and propane systems (water heater and/or furnace) manufactured by an ISO14001 certified facility can earn between one to ten points; five points claimed. For example, a $5,000 propane boiler made at an ISO 14001 facility and $100,000 in project materials costs would earn five points.
To reach the 53 energy efficiency points that are accessible by building with propane, you can follow this prescriptive path: 703.4.1 install a gas/propane heater OR a propane gas boiler with the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratings listed to earn the corresponding points listed. For example, a propane heater with a 90 percent AFUE rating will earn up to 14 points, or a propane gas boiler with an AFUE rating of 94 percent can earn up to 17 points towards the Energy Efficiency section. The exact number of points will be determined by the climate zone the home is built in (the highest values listed assumed coldest climate). Additional points can be earned depending on the type of installation. For example, programmable thermostats can earn an additional point. Other specific installations and their point values are listed.
A conventional tank propane water heater can provide a homeowner with an energy solution that costs up to a third less to operate than an electric unit and heats water nearly twice as fast. Propane tankless and tank type water heaters can meet or exceed requirements for water efficiency by installation near point of use and facilitate innovative plumbing systems that shorten distribution lines and may qualify for 3 points.
Select propane space heating and water heating equipment generally meet or exceed all indoor environmental quality guidelines and are safe for consumers to use. Propane fireplaces offer better air quality than wood-burning fireplaces. When using propane, indoor pollution, which mainly affects women and children, is greatly reduced. You can earn up to 20 indoor environmental quality points by building with propane. Direct vented propane furnaces or boilers earn 5 points. Direct vented propane water heaters earn 5 points. Propane fireplaces that comply with ANSI Z21.50 or ANSI Z21.88 earn 7 points. Propane air systems that accept MERV 8 or greater filters will earn 3 points.
Propane retailers are committed to providing customers with the all of the appropriate safety information. Manufacturer spec sheets, location of safety valves, and safety sheet on handling propane can earn 1 point and instructions provided with propane mechanicals can be used to train homeowners on how to operate the system and will help to earn 6 additional points.
Aside from the NAHB, the LEED Green Building Rating System encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria. LEED and the subsidiary LEED-H (LEED for Homes) are two of the few nationally accepted benchmarks for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures. All certified projects receive a LEED plaque, which is a nationally recognized symbol demonstrating that a home or building is environmentally responsible, profitable, and a healthy place to live and work. There are both environmental and financial benefits to earning LEED certification. LEED-certified building have lower operating costs and increased asset value, reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, conservation of energy and water, creates a healthier and safer building for occupants. Reduction of harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in hundreds of cities. Demonstrate an owner's commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
Propane can help your project achieve LEED certification. Propane helps builders meet up to 8 of the mandatory prerequisites for a LEED Home. Propane delivers nearly 40% of the points needed for a home to be LEED certified. This chart shows where propane can earn your project LEED points. Propane technologies like high efficiency furnaces, boilers, and tankless water heaters earn points for excellent energy efficiency and contributions to indoor environmental quality. Smart and innovative site installation practices like shared trenching and line boring minimize development impacts, while the ability to recycle system components like copper helps with materials and resources.
Selecting efficient propane space heating, water heating, and other appliances allows a homeowner to continue green practices once building is complete. For example, propane furnaces provide a central heating system that will produce warmer air while creating less environmental impact than either an electric heat pump or a geothermal heat pump. Almost half a metric ton of GHG emissions can be saved annually by selecting propane over an electric heat pump. In this module we’ll look at how homeowners can heat their home and water using propane and how these processes impact the GHG effect in comparison with less efficient electricity. We’ll also explore some of the other green propane applications from which homeowners can benefit.
A propane furnace is a central heating system in which fans or blowers force heated air from a centrally located furnace via ducts throughout the home. They provide up to 25-degree warmer air at the discharge registers and 10 year longer life span than electric heat pumps, all while running in short intervals to minimize costs. Some models are available with heat dampers which close when the heat demand has been met and trap residual heat for circulation. Additionally, furnaces are available in various shapes and sizes, allowing greater placement flexibility in small spaces, like attics and closets.
A hydronic heating system is a conveyor belt for heat. Heat is loaded on at a heat source, typically a boiler, then it is carried to where it’s needed by water moving through piping. As water travels through the distribution system, it remains a liquid, and is released into heat emitters where the heat is released into the room. Hydronic systems can be as simple as a water heater attached to plastic tubing that warms a bathroom floor to as large as having a wide assortment of heat emitters and multiple boilers. Some propane-fueled boilers can operate with efficiencies of 95% plus when combined with low temperature in-floor hydronic distribution systems. Such boilers extract almost all the available energy in each gallon of propane and pass it to the hydronic distribution system, which delivers it to the building in a way that’s ideally matched to human comfort requirements.
According to the study Propane’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions: A Comparative Analysis, (June 2007) residential space heating with propane has a lower amount of carbon dioxide emissions than an electric heat pump and the equivalent of natural gas furnace. The data shown below for a propane furnace also reflects the same energy efficiency of boilers, as they are comparable in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.
Conventional storage water heaters remain the most popular type of water heating system for the home. A single-family storage water heater offers a reservoir from 20 to 80 gallons of hot water. It operates by releasing hot water from the top of the tank when you turn on the hot water tap. To replace that hot water, cold water enters the bottom of the tank, ensuring that the tank is always full. However, you can expect to use only approximately 70% of the tank’s volume; i.e., a 50-gallon tank should provide approximately 35 gallons of hot water. Conventional storage water heater fuel sources include natural gas, propane, fuel oil, and electricity. Natural gas and propane water heaters basically operate the same. A gas burner under the tank heats the water. A thermostat opens the gas valve as the water temperature falls. The valve closes when the temperature rises to the thermostat's set point.
Propane tankless water heaters are an environmentally friendly option for builders and homeowners. They can lower household energy bills, are incredible space savers, and supply endless hot water. This is especially important as home buyers are demanding larger and more luxurious bathrooms. A major benefit of tankless water heaters is that, unlike tank water heaters, they don’t use additional energy to keep the stored water heated; therefore, they're not constantly operating. Tankless water heaters can reduce energy costs by more than 50% by heating water instantly to the desired temperature eliminating stand-by loss. For example, most propane tankless systems distribute between 5 and 10 gallons of hot water per minute so the homeowners can be assured of a continuous supply of hot water.
Scale build-up and rust may possibly accumulate in a standard tank water heater, reheating water that may have collected deposits or bacteria. In a tankless system, the water is always fresh and clean, with no threat of tank leakage since there is no stored water. The life span of a tankless water heater is 20 years, more than double the life span of a traditional tank water heater. A tankless water heater is easy to install, can be wall-mounted either inside or outside the home, and frees up the 12-16 square feet of floor space used by tank water heaters.
The energy factor (EF) indicates a water heater's overall energy efficiency based on the amount of hot water produced per unit of fuel consumed over a typical day. This includes the following: Recovery efficiency – how efficiently the heat from the energy source is transferred to the water. Standby losses – the percentage of heat loss per hour from the stored water compared to the heat content of the water (water heaters with storage tanks). Cycling losses – the loss of heat as the water circulates through a water heater tank, and/or inlet and outlet pipes. The higher the energy factor, the more efficient the water heater. The First-Hour rating tracks how much energy is required to return a standing volume of water to its set temperature once hot water is drawn from a water heater. This rating also tells the homeowner or builder how much volume of hot water the product can be expected to produce per use under worst case conditions such as colder incoming water temperatures that may be experienced during winter months.
Let’s look at a direct comparison of the effect of energy consumption for water heating on the carbon footprint. Earlier in the course, we defined the “EF” or Energy Factor as a rating used by the Department of Energy to evaluate the energy efficiency of water heaters. This bar graph shows the correlation between EF and the amount of carbon dioxide, measured in pounds per year, released in the atmosphere for several different tank sizes. As tank size of conventional tanked water heaters increases, the EF factor decreases and the amount of CO 2 emissions increases. However, for the tankless water heaters, the high EF factors yields the lowest amount of CO 2 released.
Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. Water heating represents between thirteen and seventeen percent of residential energy consumption, making it the third largest energy end use in homes. Therefore, beginning January 1, 2009 homeowners will be able to select from five categories of water heaters that can display the Energy Star label. These categories are High performance gas storage. Whole-home gas tankless. Advanced drop-in or integrated heat pump. Solar. Gas condensing. Propane water heaters will qualify in all Energy Star categories either as a stand alone appliance or as a hybrid partner. For information about the Energy Star program and the Energy Star logo provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, click here.
According to the American Gas Association, 96% of chefs prefer cooking with gas, as propane provides the following benefits. Instant gas flames allow cooking without waiting for burners to warm up. Propane provides greater control with precise temperature and even heat distribution. Propane burners cool quickly, while electric cools slowly, which can overcook food and can also be a safety hazard. Homeowners can equip their custom kitchens with gourmet commercial-grade propane ovens and cooktops, convection ovens, griddles, grilltops, and deep fryers.
Propane clothes dryers are less expensive to operate than electric dryers. They quickly reach the temperatures needed to dry clothes evenly. They extrude moist heat so they are less likely to discolor fabrics than electric and have the same operation and ventilation requirements as electric.
A fireplace is a cost-effective, secondary heat source that provides the homeowner a 75% return on investment. They make rooms cozier and can heat a large area reducing reliance on a furnace. While a wood-burning fireplace can lose 90% of the heat it generates, the propane fireplace and log sets can be up to 100% efficient and environmentally friendly. Wood fireplaces produce side products of smoke, soot, ash, and allergens that pollute the air quality both outside and in the home. Propane fireplaces offer all the ambiance of a wood fire without these negative side effects. There are several different venting options for propane fireplaces that make them versatile for installation in practically any area of the home with minimal installation costs. Direct vent propane fireplaces are an approved appliance in most green building programs.
According to Laneventure’s Home Lifestyle Report, two-thirds of respondents believe that a home’s outdoor space represents almost 30% of the total value of the property. Propane provides many solutions for well-designed, comfortable outdoor areas. Propane grills heat and cool quickly, are easy to clean, and are more environmentally friendly than charcoal which releases 105 times more carbon monoxide than propane. Propane outdoor fireplaces with weatherproof materials allow homeowners to use outdoor spaces all year long. Patio heaters can be portable or they can be permanently installed. They provide heat for up to a 20-foot radius and can raise the outdoor air temperature between 10 and 30 degrees. Pool and spa heaters burn propane in a combustion chamber and the heat is transferred to the water to maintain water temperature regardless of the weather. They are thermostat controlled, heat quicker than electric, and have an efficiency rating of 70% to 90%.
This course qualifies for Health, Safety and Welfare credit.
This program is registered with the AIA/CES for continuing professional education. As such, it does not include content that may be deemed or construed to be an approval or endorsement by the AIA of any material of construction or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in any material or product. Questions related to specific materials, methods, and services will be addressed at the conclusion of this presentation.
No evidence of global climate impact from propane emissions
GHG footprint of LPG is relatively small
Onsite and Offsite Emissions On-Site Emissions: Emissions released at the location where the energy is consumed. Indirect or Off-Site Emissions Emissions released at the location where the energy is generated.
The use of propane can contribute up to 101 points
Section 1: Lot Design, Preparation, and Development
Section 1 total: 10 points
Underground tank community systems can earn points for minimal site disturbance.
Section 2: Resource Efficiency Section 2 total: 8 points Scraps recycled offsite by propane marketers: 1 point Recycled, reusable, and recyclable: 2 points Propane tanks, water heaters, furnaces and boilers manufactured by an ISP certified facility: up to 5 points
Direct vented propane furnace or boiler earns: 5 points Direct vented propane water heater earns : 5 points Propane fireplace vented and complies : 7 points Propane air systems accept MERV 8 or greater filter earns: 3 points
Section 6: Operation, Maintenance, and Homeowner Education
Section 6 total: 7 points
Manufacturer spec sheets, location of safety valves, and safety sheet on handling propane: 1 point
Instructions provide with propane mechanicals should be used to train homeowners on how to operate the system: 6 points