A simple way to make yourself a go-to pro for heating upgrades

Two new courses at the Propane Training Academy will help make you an expert on high-efficiency propane building systems.

By Jeffrey Lee
Staff Writer

It happens every year at about this time. As autumn slowly gives way to winter and chilly temperatures settle in, we begin to feel the pain of our rising heating bills. Homeowners start to think about replacement options for their aging and inefficient heating systems, and new-home buyers remember to ask about energy costs in their home search.

One factor can set you apart in those customers' eyes: the knowledge to help them sort through the options and confidently select the best heating system for their homes. "A Comparative Analysis of Residential Heating Systems," one of two new residential courses at the Propane Training Academy, is designed to provide you with the knowledge to answer your customers' heating questions with clarity and precision.

The course analyzes brand-new research, conducted by Newport Partners, that used building energy modeling to compare 15 different heating systems using propane, electricity, or heating oil in new and existing homes in 20 locations across the United States. The course presents a number of highlights and conclusions from the research to help you fully understand the key considerations when choosing a heating system.

Naturally, economics and energy costs are forefront for both homeowners and building pros. The study found that a high-efficiency propane furnace paired with a standard central air-conditioning system yields both upfront savings and competitive energy costs.

Requirements in the 2012 IECC could affect common construction practices such as framing and testing.
Unlike air source heat pumps, propane furnaces supply consistent, warm air to the home and are unaffected by cold outdoor temperatures.

In new installations, high-efficiency propane furnaces were the most affordable to purchase and install of all the systems. In fact, because high-efficiency units can vent through plastic pipes, the furnaces had lower total upfront costs than even less expensive, standard-efficiency propane furnaces, which require metal venting. The lower first costs and lower energy costs associated with high-efficiency propane furnaces is good news for builders and homeowners eager to achieve rapid energy bill savings.

Energy costs aren't the only factor, of course. Comfort, environmental performance, and installation needs all play important roles in the heating system decision. Take the full course at the Propane Training Academy to learn which factors you should consider to make the best decision for your project.

Build to a higher standard

If you're more interested in learning about all the ways propane can contribute to a high-performance home, check out "Designing and Building High Performance Homes with Propane."

This course provides detailed data on the technology attributes, cost-effectiveness, efficiency, performance, and environmental footprint of 12 residential propane applications, including high-efficiency propane furnaces, propane furnace–ground source heat pump hybrid systems, and propane backup power. The practical, data-driven approach can help you find new opportunities to lower energy bills for your homeowners in remodeling and new construction projects.

"Building to higher standards of performance will often qualify builders and their homeowners for tax credits and other incentives."

Propane building systems can also help construction pros differentiate their projects by qualifying for above-code and sustainable building recognition programs. The course takes a detailed look at the Home Energy Rating System, LEED for Homes, Energy Star Homes, and the National Green Building Standard and highlights how energy-efficient propane systems can help builders improve their performance in those programs.

Building to these higher standards of performance will often qualify builders and their homeowners for tax credits and other incentives. The course discusses some specific incentive programs and shows how they can help offset higher costs for more-efficient propane systems.

To learn more about high-performance propane systems, check out these Propane Energy Update articles:

The amazing shrinking energy bill
The one appliance that kicks off luxury kitchen remodels
A simple way to make yourself a go-to pro for heating upgrades


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