Save Green by Building Green

Building green has a reputation for being significantly more expensive than traditional building practices. While building sustainably or efficiently may require higher up-front costs, homeowners can benefit from the savings they will see in their energy bills over time and the comfort they will enjoy from the moment they move into their new or remodeled home. Propane-fueled appliances can provide homeowners with the comfort they need and the energy savings they want.

Propane tankless water heaters, for example, provide homeowners with the convenience of on-demand hot water. Because tankless water heaters only heat water that is needed, homeowners can expect to see water heating expenses cut by 30 percent over storage tank water heaters. Traditional tank-style water heaters also must constantly keep water heated, continually expending energy. In addition to being more energy efficient, tankless water heaters also ensure that hot water is delivered when a homeowner turns on the tap. Propane tankless water heaters are also the only tankless-type heaters that are Energy Star qualified. More than 200 models of tankless water heaters are Energy Star approved, whch means they qualify for a 30-percent of the cost (including installation) tax credit or up to $1,500 for the homeowner if installed before Dec. 31, 2010. Only eight models of electric heat pump water heaters are Energy Star approved.

Homeowners can also benefit from energy and environmental savings by installing a propane-fueled furnace in their home. A propane furnace emits more than three times fewer greenhouse gases than an electric furnace. Additionally, a propane furnace that is Energy Star rated and has an AFUE of 90 percent can save a homeowner approximately $600 over its lifetime. Furnaces with an AFUE of 97 percent will save about $900. High-efficiency propane furnaces also qualify for the 30 percent or up to $1,500 federal tax credit offered until Dec. 31, 2010. Check with your state or local propane gas association for additional tax credits on furnaces and other propane-fueled appliances.

Most homeowners appreciate the look and feel of a fireplace in their home. There is a misconception among some consumers that wood-burning fireplaces are better for the environment. Propane-fueled fireplaces actually emit 40 times fewer carbon emissions while keeping a room at the temperature the homeowner desires. Wood-burning fireplaces can lose up to 90 percent of their heat up the chimney as warm room air is exhausted to the outside. Direct-vent propane fireplaces have sealed combustion and do not vent any warm room air to the outside. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that a propane fireplace can cost 30 percent to 60 percent less to operate per hour.

With propane, your clients can take advantage of energy-efficient home and water heating applications, reduce their monthly energy bills, and be kind to the environment. To learn more about tankless water heaters and propane-related tax credits, register for our AIA- and NAHB-approved training courses here.

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