A Handy Tool for Battling Heating Costs
With heating bills set to rise this winter, the updated Propane Energy Calculator will help you meet customer demands for energy-efficient heating that reduces utility costs.
Colder temperatures this winter may have homeowners doing a double take at their utility bills. After an unseasonably warm winter last year, this winter is projected to be 20 percent to 27 percent colder east of the Rocky Mountains, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) most recent projection of heating degree-days.
The cold weather is expected to drive up average home-heating expenditures. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook projects that heating bills will rise 19 percent for heating oil customers, 15 percent for natural gas customers, 13 percent for propane customers, and 5 percent for electricity customers.
And while chilly temperatures may have an impact on heating bills, heating fuel costs are not the culprit for the higher cost projections. In fact, the EIA report predicts residential propane prices will drop 4 percent from last winter. Heating oil and natural gas prices are expected to rise by 2 percent and 1 percent, respectively, while electricity prices are projected to drop by an average of 2 percent.
The cold-weather predictions make this winter an ideal time to discuss heating system options with your customers, and we have an updated tool to help you start the conversation. The Heating Energy Cost and Carbon Calculator is an interactive module, tailored to a home's individual region and climate, that estimates the annual cost to run a home's space heating or domestic hot water system. Give it a try below.
The Propane Interactive Training Module allows you to:
- Estimate annual energy costs.
- Lower a home's HERS index.
- Identify the best heating system for your climate region.
- Explore a fully integrated propane home.
- Find high-perfomance propane products.
Interact with the tool icons at the bottom
to get started!
You answer a series of questions regarding your customer's home heating system type, energy source, age, and efficiency rating, and the calculator will generate the estimated annual energy cost and CO2 emissions levels that the homeowner can expect. The tool will also provide results for a comparable new product meeting Energy Star standards. We recently made several improvements and updates to the calculator:
- You can now compare boiler systems against a benchmark boiler system. This update will be helpful to construction pros evaluating the replacement of heating-oil boilers with propane and related hydronic heating systems.
- You can enter your own energy prices for each system you choose to compare. While the tool still offers a benchmark price, this feature gives the tool complete flexibility to use actual local energy pricing.
- Emissions results are based on the latest data from the EPA, allowing you to evaluate the environmental advantages of various heating systems and fuel sources.
- The benchmark propane furnace system has been updated to new Energy Star furnace specifications: 90 AFUE in warmer climates and 95 AFUE in colder climates. This update allows building professionals to compare a home's heating system with the latest propane technology available.
The Heating Energy Cost and Carbon Calculator also provides a searchable database of hundreds of propane products, including furnaces, boilers, and water heaters.
The calculator is just one of the five tools in the PERC Interactive Training Module at buildwithpropane.com. The training module can be easily placed on your own website to help your customers learn more about the versatility and performance of propane products.
The Propane Training Academy also provides many opportunities to learn more about the latest heating technologies. Try one of the following courses to learn more about the economic, environmental, and efficiency benefits of building and remodeling with propane.
A Comparative Analysis of Residential Heating Systems 2011 (available in on-demand webinar or print-ready PDF)
A Comparative Analysis of Residential Water Heating Systems (on-demand webinar or PDF)