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Laura Barnard

Propane Powers Up International Builders’ Show with New Technology, Research, and Training

WASHINGTON (January 12, 2011, Booth #W3129) — The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is kicking off the New Year by introducing revolutionary generator technology, new efficiency-related research, and several live training opportunities, to construction professionals, during the International Builders’ Show (IBS), January 12-15, 2011, in Orlando, Fla.

 New Technology

Resulting from a partnership between PERC and Generac, the new EcoGen generator, an industry first automatic standby power generator, will be on display in the PERC booth, W3129. Warranted for off-grid use when paired with an alternative energy system, such as solar or wind, the Generac 6-kilowatt EcoGen generator set relies on propane to fuel the engine and meet cost and dependability requirements of construction professionals and homeowners.

“EcoGen offers a compact, quiet and energy-efficient solution for homeowners located off the grid,” said Tracy Burleson, director of residential programs for PERC. “This revolutionary new technology includes a control panel that automatically signals the engine to generate electricity when the energy supplied by solar or wind falls below a certain level, or when energy demand exceeds supply.”

New Research

In addition to introducing new technology, PERC is unveiling the findings of two new research studies, by Newport Partners LLC, which evaluate the economic and environmental impact of residential water heating and efficient upgrades to existing homes. Both studies were commissioned by PERC and serve as valuable resources for construction professionals.

On average, residential water heating consumes the third largest amount of energy within a home, and serves as a prime area to make homes more energy efficient. In the new study, Energy, Environmental, and Economic Analysis of Residential Water Heating Systems, 11 residential water heating systems in 10 geographic locations throughout the United States, were examined to determine which provided the best performance and return on investment. Key metrics included examining installation cost, annual energy costs, carbon footprint, and ability to provide an adequate supply of hot water.

“It’s common for homeowner to replace a water heater after 12 to 15 years. This study opens the conversation between construction professionals and homeowners about upgrading to more efficient systems,” said Burleson.

Other energy efficient upgrades for the home were analyzed in a second study. The Whole House Analysis of Energy Efficiency Upgrades for Existing Homes offers insight into how construction professionals can help homeowners prioritize energy-saving retrofits.

The study examined dozens of energy efficiency upgrades, such as appliances, building envelope improvements, space conditioning systems, renewable energy, and domestic water heating systems, in 10 locations across five climate zones within the continental U.S. Key metrics included simple payback and expected annual energy cost savings.

Both studies will be discussed during IBS; however, a full copy of each analysis can be downloaded at www.buildwithpropane.com.

2011 Training Opportunities

As part of the National Association Home Builders (NAHB) Custom Builder Symposium, PERC is hosting three free 30-minute “Meet the Expert” sessions and one full-length, 90 minute, training course. Training opportunities include:

Wednesday, January 12, 3 - 3:30 p.m.
“Specifying Standby Generators: Installation and Value Considerations”

Thursday, January 13, 9:30 – 10 a.m.
“A Comparative Analysis of Residential Heating Systems”

Thursday, January 13, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
“Custom Outdoor Innovations with Gas”

Friday, January 14, 9:30 – 10 a.m.
“Residential Water Heating: An Energy, Environmental, and Economic Analysis”

In addition to the live training at IBS, PERC offers 19 free online training courses approved by both the NAHB and the American Institute of Architects. Each continuing education course is available at www.PropaneTrainingAcademy.com and includes a 60- to 90-minute lesson on propane as a practical solution to residential and 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.

About the Propane Education & Research Council

The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) was authorized by the U.S. Congress with the passage of Public Law 104-284, the Propane Education and Research Act (PERA), signed into law on October 11, 1996. The mission of the Propane Education & Research Council is to promote the safe, efficient use of odorized propane gas as a preferred energy source. To learn more about the organization, please visit www.propanecouncil.org, for information on building with propane, visit www.buildwithpropane.com