Efforts by government officials around the country to mitigate the impact of climate change has focused solely on supporting wide scale conversions to electricity to replace traditional fuels like propane. But that’s an extremely expensive path to take, and one that’s not very popular for people in Iowa and elsewhere who love the comfort and savings they enjoy by using clean-burning propane.
How clean is propane? For starters, when you use propane appliances instead of electric ones, you’re relying on a fuel that produces 43% 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.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a British thermal unit (Btu) is a measure of the heat content of fuels or energy sources. It’s measured by the quantity of heat that’s required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit–at the temperature in which water has its greatest density (approximately 39 degrees Fahrenheit).
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.
Read more about using propane appliances for water heaters, space heating and more.
The success story of propane and the environment doesn’t end here. Renewable propane represents the next step towards a zero-carbon emissions future.
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 Iowans will be able to use it to lower their carbon footprint even further than they do now with traditional propane.
Read more about renewable propane.