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Laura Barnard

New Water Heating Analysis and Online Training Course Compare Performance, Costs Across Energy Sources


WASHINGTON (January 20, 2011) — 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. A new study by Newport Partners LLC — Energy, Environmental, and Economic Analysis of Residential Water Heating Systems — examined 11 residential water heating systems in 10 geographic locations throughout the United States in order to determine which provided the best performance and return on investment. Commissioned by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), the study’s key metrics included examining first cost, annual energy costs, carbon footprint, and ability to provide an adequate supply of hot water.

“Water heaters typically get replaced every 12 to 15 years, which gives construction professionals an opportunity to talk to homeowners about upgrading to more efficient propane systems,” said Tracy Burleson, director of residential programs for PERC. 

The study and complementary continuing education course serve as guides to construction professionals helping homeowners making water heating decisions. One of the most commonly installed systems, a standard efficiency electric storage tank, had the highest energy cost across all regions. The propane high-efficiency storage system had the lowest energy costs; about $100 per year lower than the electric storage tank models. Additionally, solar hot water systems with a propane tankless back-up had the lowest annual energy costs of approximately $150. The next lowest cost system is the condensing propane tankless unit, which averages around $240 annually.

A full copy of the study can be downloaded at www.buildwithpropane.com. To participate in the free online course, which has been approved by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), visit www.propanetrainingacademy.com.

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.