Better Building Starts with PERC's Free Online Energy Training Courses

LAS VEGAS (January 20, 2010, Booth N2819)—In today's economy, builders are looking for a way to differentiate themselves from other construction professionals without sacrificing a great deal of time or money. Realizing professionals have limited time to attend formal courses, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) offers free online energy training courses backed by both the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Each continuing education course includes a 60- to 90-minute lesson on propane as a practical solution to green building. Course topics include how to incorporate propane and related equipment into design, building and installation practices, and how to explain propane's advantages to homeowners, homebuyers, and remodelers working beyond the natural gas mains.

"The free courses are online and easy to access, and they can fit into any busy schedule. Construction professionals can choose from a wide range of courses the ones that best fit their knowledge level or market," said Tracy Burleson, director of residential programs for PERC. "We want to help builders meet their CEU requirements, while gaining an understanding of the advantages of propane. Builders are some of our best advocates when it comes to propane education and accurately relaying information to vendors and homebuyers."

Eight of the nine courses for 2010 are currently available, with the remaining one scheduled to appear online in the next few weeks. The following courses are available now:

  • A Comparative Analysis of Residential Heating Systems
    This course describes general trends when comparing different residential heating systems, how they compare in terms of initial costs, operating costs, carbon emissions and rates of payback. The lesson also compares and contrasts the trade-offs in specifying high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment for residential project in terms of payback periods, and identifies where certain types of HVAC systems may be most appropriate.
  • Go Green with Propane: An Overview of Propane Gas Systems for Green Residential Construction
    This course explains the benefits of using propane over other energy options and it teaches participants how to describe the distribution of propane, find the available retail services, recognize residential propane storage options and applications, identify NAHB and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green-buildings standards related to propane use, and explain the greenhouse gas impact of conventional fuels.
  • Community Propane Tanks: Economical, Environmentally Responsible Energy Without Geographic Limits
    Participants will learn how to identify the advantages of using propane instead of natural gas as a community-level energy source, name community tank system configurations, understand piping networks and telemetry, describe sustainable development pillars and the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the environment, list NAHB Green Building Standards, and recognize where propane can contribute to this rating system.
  • Propane Gas Underground Systems: Residential Infrastructure Requirements and Energy Benefits
    This course teaches participants about multiple energy options for fueling or powering the home, the benefits of propane as a residential fuel, storage options, the benefits of underground propane tanks, and how to find a local propane retailer to help design homes that use propane as the primary energy source.
  • Water and Energy Efficiency with Tankless Gas Water Heaters
    Participants will learn about the several types of energy sources used to heat water, how they compare, how to identify at least two ways tankless water heaters save money compared with conventional water heaters, and explain how propane reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Hydronic Heating in Rural Residential Applications
    This course describes what hydronic heating is and why its use is advantageous to homeowners. Participants will learn the parts of a hydronic heating system, including the heat sources, and how to classify different heat emitters by component.
  • Propane-Enhanced Renewable Energy Systems
    Participants in this course will learn how to explain why supplemental energy is often required to support renewable energy technologies and how propane supplements three types of alternative energy technologies. The course also teaches how to identify basic functions of common features in three renewable energy technologies.
  • Propane and Tax Incentives
    This course describes tax incentives and credits available for residential propane systems, explores propane's advantages over other fuel options, propane's green benefits, and the history and effectiveness propane serves as a fuel source.
An additional course on outdoor living energy design will appear online in the coming weeks.

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