Posted: May 15, 2023
One of the biggest trends in home energy today is the aggressive government push for conversions to electric heat — at the expense of proven heating fuels like propane. The argument is that these electric conversions will reduce a home’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. But this logic doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.
Right now, energy from our electric grid is far from clean. In 2021, the combustion of fossil fuels like natural gas and coal for electricity generation was the nation’s second-largest source of CO2 emissions. And in Pennsylvania, more than 60% of the electricity generated is still sourced from coal and natural gas.
So how clean is propane? For starters, when you use propane appliances instead of electric ones, you’re relying on a fuel that produces far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than using an equivalent amount of electricity generated from the grid.
Just as important in the propane vs. electricity debate is the topic of energy efficiency, which has a big effect on the environment as well. Because the less energy you use, the less impact you have on the environment.
Propane generates more Btu than an equivalent amount of electricity, so you need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat energy. To appreciate propane’s big advantage over electricity in energy efficiency, you have to consider Btu content.
Btus can be used to compare energy sources on an equal basis. To compare propane to electricity, we need to know that:
To make these two energy sources “equal,” divide 91,452 Btus by 3,412 Btu. Your answer will be:
Propane101.com makes this comparison to illustrate the efficiency of propane compared to electricity. A 100-watt light bulb left on for a full day–24 hours–will consume 2.4 kWh. If propane could be used to power the same light bulb. it would only use 9/100th of a gallon of propane.
Almost all the propane used in the U.S. is produced domestically, meaning every gallon you buy contributes to the independence of America’s energy needs.
Maintaining a propane tank on your property gives you the ability to store a sufficient supply that’s always ready for immediate use, eliminating any dependence on an underground gas pipeline. That’s just one more reason to feel good about using propane every time you get a propane delivery.
Renewable propane represents the next step towards a zero-carbon emissions future for the propane industry and propane consumers.
Renewable propane is molecularly identical to propane. But it is made with renewable resources such as animal oils, plant oils, biomass, and other triglycerides.
As the renewable propane sector grows in the years ahead, more people will be able to use it to lower their carbon footprint even further than they do now with traditional propane.