Use Propane for Lower Carbon Emissions

If you are concerned about doing your part to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in your next housing project, either by mandate, preference, or market demand, a smart place to start might be your choice of heating and cooling energy.

A 2009 study conducted by Energetics Inc., on behalf of the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), compared common energy sources and their greenhouse gas emissions. Propane Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 2009 Comparative Analysis used the latest available data to determine and compare GHG emissions released during the production of those energy sources and in their application, such as a residential furnace or water heater. The study also looked at transportation and agricultural uses and impacts.

Across those applications, propane generates fewer GHG emissions (specifically carbon dioxide) per Btu compared to gasoline, diesel, heavy fuel oil, and even ethanol, and ranks close behind natural gas.

Specific to residential applications, the study found that propane furnaces produce 37 percent fewer GHG emissions than oil furnaces and 64 percent fewer GHG emissions than electric baseboard heat. Meanwhile, propane-fueled dehumidifiers produce 66 percent fewer GHG emissions than similar electric dehumidifiers.

For residential water heating, a system combining solar thermal collectors with a propane-fueled backup storage tank heater was found to emit less than 20 percent of the GHGs of a storage tank water heater.

Current measurements by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have not found a global climate impact from propane emissions. In addition, using propane gives off less than half the GHG emissions than using an equivalent amount of electricity generated from the U.S. grid.

Similar reports from organizations including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) support the results of the Energetics study. In fact, propane's ability to offer lower GHG emissions without compromising performance has earned it EPA approval as a clean alternative fuel Under the Clean Air Act of 2004 and Clean Energy Act of 1990.

To download a free copy of Propane Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 2009 Comparative Analysis, click here.

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