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When the Propane Energy Pod Incentive is the obvious choice

In builder Sam Palazzole's New York community, a full suite of propane amenities is a must. The $1,500 incentive is icing on the cake.

By Jeffrey Lee

Staff Writer

At Saratoga Builders' Schuyler Pointe community, a 39-lot subdivision five miles east of Saratoga Springs, New York, four gas systems "are no-brainers," says partner Sam Palazzole: "The stove, the HVAC, the fireplace, and the water heater."

And because Schuyler Pointe is located on a site with no access to natural gas, sewer, or city water, propane is simply obligatory to meet those homeowner needs. "You have to have propane, because if you only had electric, you probably couldn't sell homes," Palazzole says. "Electric is just way too expensive."

With at least four propane systems going into each of the community's homes, Schuyler Pointe was an ideal candidate for the Propane Energy Pod Builder Incentive Program. The program provides incentives of up to $1,500 for homes that include propane space heating, water heating, cooking, and at least two additional propane applications — in the case of Schuyler Pointe, fireplaces and clothes drying.

The custom home builder has built 18 homes in the community so far, ranging from 2,000 to 3,500 square feet in size and from $300,000 to $700,000 in cost. The majority of buyers are either move-up or move-down homebuyers, Palazzole says: "People downsizing, or young couples just starting out." And while the community lacks natural gas and sewer, it boasts wooded home sites and proximity to Schuyler Park, a public park with playing fields, walking trails, and playgrounds built using land donated by the builder.


"In this area, [offering a gas home] is actually assumed. I don't know anybody who builds an electric home."


Each of the homes includes a furnace, a 50- to 75-gallon storage tank water heater, a high-efficiency fireplace, a gas stove, and a clothes dryer all fueled by propane from a buried tank. While the gas clothes dryers aren't seen as a requirement by homebuyers, they're still popular, Palazzole says. "There's a belief that the heat is better, and that they're less expensive to run." Including the propane clothes dryers also ensures that the homes have a fifth propane application, qualifying them for the $1,500 Pod Incentive.

That incentive goes straight to Saratoga Builders' bottom line, where it helps to offset the increased cost of achieving Energy Star certification. The certification indicates that the homes deliver energy efficiency savings of up to 30 percent when compared with typical new homes, but it comes with some costly added steps in the building process. "In order to have an efficient system, our HVAC provider charges us to make sure the ducts are properly taped and so on," Palazzole says. (To learn more about how propane systems can help your homes achieve above-code certifications like Energy Star, check out Designing and Building High Performance Homes with Propane at the Propane Training Academy.)

Even without the incentive, propane was the obvious choice for this community. "In this area, [offering a gas home] is actually assumed," Palazzole says. "I don't know anybody who builds an electric home."

To see whether your homes qualify for the Propane Energy Pod Builder Incentive Program, check out all details on the incentive page.

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