Training Profile: How Propane Offers Flexibility for Green Construction
A New York retrofit project relies heavily on
propane for energy efficiency and a cleaner environmental profile.
Sylvan Cote, CEO of South Salem, N.Y.-based Absolute
Green Homes, is sold on using propane in the projects he designs. That's
especially true of a current retrofit his "green" design/build firm is working
on in Westchester County, N.Y.
Naturally, he appreciates propane's
friendly environmental profile and relies on appliances and systems that use
this clean energy source to fulfill the design/build firm's green mission.
Propane also allows Cote's company to be nimble about appliance and system
choices during the construction process, especially with renovations.
Take that current retrofit job, for example. Dubbed the Beach
House Retrofit Project, it promises to be the first LEED Platinum home in
Westchester County and is designed to receive Home
Energy Rating System (HERS) Index score of 0. It will be a net-zero energy
home, which means it will produce as much energy as it uses.
include installing a propane range (cooktop and oven), a propane clothes dryer,
a see-through propane fireplace in the master suite, a stub-out for a future
outdoor propane grill, a propane outdoor fire feature, a whole-house propane
standby generator, and a propane boiler.
The flexibility of propane
applications is especially helpful when it comes to the boiler. "Our original
plan was to have a combination unit that would provide both radiant heat and
hot water," Cote says. "But we have a tank already installed that stores hot
water from the solar array, so we're looking into ways to accommodate that."
Whatever heat and hot water systems the company eventually installs in the
Beach House Retrofit, they will definitely be powered by propane. Cote feels
heartened by the many available choices when it comes to heating and hot water
systems, but expresses just one complaint.
"This house, which will come
in at 1,700 square feet, is insulated very well, so the heating load is low,"
Cote says. "We only need 30,000 Btu, which can be hard to find in a boiler. A
lot of models are just too big for these tight homes. Manufacturers need to
play catch-up and start scaling down their offerings."
behind the Beach House Retrofit Project closely mirrors the concept of the Propane Energy Pod, a
model for construction that treats a home's five key areas of energy use -
space heating, water heating, cooking, fireplaces, and clothes drying - as
parts of a whole-home energy package, helping to reduce a home's HERS Index
score. For more background on the Propane Energy Pod, consult our free online
continuing-education course, An
Energy and Environmental Analysis of Propane Energy Pod Homes, available
now at the Propane
To learn more about how propane lets you build
with efficient gas systems, anywhere, be sure to also check out the following
Comparative Analysis of Residential Heating Systems
Green with Propane: An Overview of Propane Gas Systems for Green Residential