Could one of these products be perfect for your project?

Make a resolution to check out our 2014 propane product picks.

By Jeffrey Lee
Staff Writer

Whether it's a new calendar, a new budget, or a new resolution for your company, the New Year provides an ideal opportunity to disrupt your business model and try something different. As you kick off the 2014 building and remodeling season, these eight building products deserve your consideration.

In our modern age, no homeowner should have to settle for a cold shower. Tankless water heaters like Rinnai's RL75i deliver on the promise of endless hot water by heating it on-demand, allowing you to enjoy your shower, wash your clothes, and run the dishwasher, all at the same time. And if you're using a tankless water heater only for domestic hot water, you might be missing out on additional opportunities. Rinnai's Domestic Priority Switch is one of several technologies that allow you to turn your tankless unit into a forced-air heater.

Rinnai's Direct Vent Wall Furnace is another creative heating option, and it's ideal for challenging installations. These compact, ductless units are mounted near the floor and vent directly through the wall, making them a cinch to install even in hard-to-heat rooms. Unlike furnaces that blow hot air and then shut off, the Rinnai furnace constantly monitors the temperature and modulates the fan speed, radiating just enough heat to maintain the thermostat setting. Available in sizes up to 38,400 British thermal units (Btu), the furnaces are capable of heating entire homes up to 2,000 square feet, provided air can circulate through wall registers or a two-inch airflow space under closed doors.

In the wake of 2012's devastating Superstorm Sandy, Americans were relieved that no major storms created electrical outages during the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season. But savvy pros know that with an aging electrical grid and homeowners more reliant than ever on a consistent power supply, propane standby generators remain an in-demand amenity. Generac's 20kW Guardian Series and Kohler's 20kW 20RESA are available with the latest generator technology, such as load monitoring controls that cycle circuits on or off to prevent overloading.


CHP units like Yanmar's CP5WN and Marathon's Ecopower (pictured) can drastically lower electricity bills with a quick return on investment
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Generac's LP5500 can accommodate a 20- or 30-pound propane cylinder within the chassis of the generator for excellent mobility.
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Compact and ductless, Rinnai's Direct Vent Furnace fits easily into challenging installations and reduces fuel usage by creating just enough heat to maintain the thermostat setting.
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For construction crews working on sites not yet connected to the electrical grid, a portable propane generator can be an expedient source of power. Unlike gasoline, clean propane won't spill during refilling and it won't degrade over time, so tanks can be stored indefinitely. Generac's LP5500 produces 5,500 running watts, and it boasts an easy-to-use Power Dial feature that groups the prime, choke, start, and shutdown functions together for quicker startup.

In the effort to reduce the electricity usage of American homes, photovoltaic panels get all the publicity. But another technology can actually provide a faster payback in some applications. Combined heat and power (CHP) units such as Marathon's Ecopower and Yanmar's CP5WN produce heat and power simultaneously, using the heat generated from their internal engines to feed a home's domestic hot water or space heating needs. They achieve the fastest payback — as little as three years — in applications with year-round demand for hot water, such as in homes with heated pools or spas. And propane units are eligible for additional incentives through PERC's Propane Heat and Power Incentive Program.

Greening your construction company's pickup fleet, or simply looking for a way to reduce costs? Consider the Ford F-250 powered by liquid propane autogas from Roush CleanTech. Fleets that switch to autogas can lower their operating costs, mostly from lower fuel costs. Propane autogas historically costs 30 to 40 percent less than gasoline. The trucks will also emit up to 24 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, a smart move for companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

If you're attending the International Builders Show in Las Vegas, February 4–6, there's one simple way you can see all of our product picks in person. Visit the Propane Education & Research Council at booth C6531, and you'll find displays from each of these manufacturers — and the opportunity to get a head start on your New Year's resolution.




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