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Gregg Walker
Propane Education & Research Council


New Study Helps Building Professionals Navigate Performance, Cost, and Environmental Benefits of Water Heaters


WASHINGTON (October 26, 2011) — Residential water heating is often the second largest energy use in a home and can account for nearly a quarter of overall household energy consumption. A new study by Newport Partners LLC — Comparing Residential Water Heaters for Energy Use, Economics, and Emissions — examined 10 residential water heating systems in 10 geographic locations throughout the United States, informs construction professionals of the different performance and economic characteristics of each water heating system. Commissioned by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), the study’s key metric includes the annualized cost of ownership (ACO), which reflects each system’s first cost, annual energy cost, and service life. The study is based on energy pricing rates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“Homeowners depend on a reliable and sufficient supply of hot water, and this study helps construction professionals assist residents in making informed decisions about water heating systems based on their region, annual cost of ownership, and environmental impact,” said Tracy Burleson, director of residential programs for PERC. “An important factor to consider is the first hour of hot water operation. The study found that propane tankless systems could deliver more than triple the capacity of an electric storage tank or heat pump water heater.”

The study and complementary, free continuing education course are designed to help construction professionals make the best recommendation for their customers. For example, a new home located in the Northeast, with a standard electric storage unit received a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index score of 75. However, the same home with a propane condensing tankless water heater received a HERS Index rating of 69 — the home became approximately six percent more efficient. Across all 10 climate zones, the study found that the standard efficiency electric storage tank had the highest energy cost at an average of $449 per year.

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), and to download a full copy of the report, visit

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, for information on building with propane, visit