Propane: An Energy-Efficient Alternative

According to the Propane Education and Research Council, approximately 5 million U.S. households use propane for home heating, and 3 million use propane for residential water heating. In addition, the Council states that emissions from propane consumption have lower carbon content than those from gasoline, diesel, heavy fuel oil and ethanol.

As energy costs rise, the benefits of using propane grow. “Propane can be used to heat the home, heat water, in the kitchen for the range or the cooktop, drying clothes, standby power generation and more,” says Tracy Burleson, director of residential trade outreach and partnership, Propane Education and Research Council.

The tankless gas water heater product category is one that takes energy efficiency to another level by heating water only when a faucet is turned on. Using propane instead of other types of energy can drastically reduce carbon footprints. “[Efficiency] varies from appliance to appliance. There are some furnaces that are 95 percent efficient,” Burleson says. “[Propane] is similar to natural gas in regard to efficiency and carbon footprint.”

Builders and architects should know that propane is available anywhere a home can be built, she adds. “It can be supplied to the home using underground tanks so they aren’t visible in the yard. And you can use it with any appliance that uses natural gas.”

The Propane Council provides trades with support on “It has white papers, case studies and links to educational courses designed specifically for architects,” Burleson adds. “It also provides information on underground tanks, water heating, hydronic heating and more."