Analysis of Residential Energy Efficiency Upgrades

Making good decisions about improving an existing home's energy efficiency and lowering its energy costs can be challenging for a consumer. Homeowners, builders, contractors, and weatherization agencies have a wide range of energy efficiency upgrades to choose from, each with different benefits and costs.

This course compares the popular upgrades and systems available to help you make the best choice for your projects and is intended to serve as a guide to answer questions about prioritizing energy efficiency investments for existing homes. By closely examining a study commissioned by the Propane Education and Resource Council, the “Analysis of Energy Efficiency Upgrades for Existing Homes,” this course will provide objective information about the most effective measures and/or equipment choices across five climate regions in the United States.

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Propane and Building Design for Commercial Businesses

Architects, engineers, developers, and facilities managers have numerous choices when determining fuel sources for commercial buildings, whether those choices involve the practicalities of space and water heating, the aesthetics of fireplaces, fire pits, and outdoor lighting, or the functionalities of building site energy needs.

Combined with these choices is the ever-increasing need to build and plan not only cost-effectively, but with sustainability in mind. This course will help specifiers compare the advantages and disadvantages of a variety of fuel sources and storage options, as well as examining the flexibility and reliability of propane, so that they can more readily determine which fuel source best meets the needs of individual commercial projects.

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Energy Diversity for Design Flexibility: Incorporating Dual-fuel Energy Systems in Residential Design (Print Course)

This course will explore the benefits of a flexible dual-fuel home and how partnering with propane can offer lower costs, fewer emissions, and greater stability. In addition, propane should be considered as a primary energy option in areas of the country not under electrification mandates, as it offers favorable cost and emissions savings over electricity.


It should also be incorporated into all homes as a backup power option, but this is particularly important in all-electric or electric-ready homes.

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Understanding Federal Standards for Residential Water Heaters — An Analysis of Energy, Economics, and Emissions

Water heaters are the second-largest energy user in the home, costing residents hundreds of dollars each year. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy updated the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) standards, which increased water heater efficiency requirements and drove major product changes in the U.S. market. NAECA standards include federal regulations for water heater minimum efficiency levels. Against this backdrop of updated standards, products, and decision-making factors, this course will review a detailed analysis of water-heating systems.

This analysis compares water-heating technologies based on their energy, economic, and environmental performance, with a focus on the performance of propane-based systems relative to electric and heating oil alternatives. The course also reviews the federal standards for water heaters and describes the market implications for both new construction and replacements.

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Emergency Preparedness — Risk and Resilience Planning with Propane (Print Course)

The world is experiencing an increase in extreme weather events due to climate change, which results in more power outages and stressed energy infrastructure. Energy resiliency and decarbonization efforts are expanding due to frequent and intense weather events, the influences of economic and political pressure, consumer interest, and technological advances.


This course will discuss the importance of emergency preparedness and current approaches to power generation and grid resiliency. It will then examine how propane can be used for energy generation, backup power, fuel conservation, and resiliency planning.

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Leveraging High-Efficiency Propane Systems in Zero Net Energy Homes

There is a misconception that zero net energy (ZNE) means all-electric, but in fact, propane has the ability to provide a clean, efficient, and affordable energy solution for both builders and their customers. This course will discuss how ZNE fits into the country’s energy landscape and how mixed-fuel homes featuring propane can be leveraged to meet ZNE homeowners’ energy and lifestyle demands.

The course will explore design strategies architects can use to achieve zero net energy homes and case studies where propane’s versatility and low-carbon output were harnessed to achieve resiliency, sustainability, and performance in ZNE builds.

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The Evolution of Universal Design: Accessibility to Empowerment (Print Course)

Over the past three decades society has had the chance to rethink discrimination, with growing social awareness of gender identity, differently abled individuals, and sensory sensitivity. This has led to a movement to make all spaces barrier-free, accessible, and inclusively designed so that they are safe, comfortable, and easy for all occupants to use.

This course will examine the history of inclusive and universal design, it’s relevance today, and how to design residential homes that are accessible for all. The course will also explore the 2021 Southern Living Showcase Home, which was the first of its kind designed to be fully inclusive and accessible.

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Propane Gas Systems: Considerations for Residential Construction

When planning and designing homes, architects should know that more than 12.6 million U.S. households rely on propane for their primary energy needs. Propane has many advantages such as offering heat for water, outdoor spaces, and inside the home. In addition, propane provides clean fuel for comforting fireplaces, cooking food, and drying clothing.

Propane can be stored above ground or in underground propane tanks, an option many builders are choosing in order to fuel homes off the natural gas mains. This course will cover important considerations when planning for propane use in residential construction.

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Designing and Building High Performance Homes with Propane

This course will explore how propane is effectively used in residential construction, specifically for: space heating, water heating, cooking, clothes drying, fireplaces, power generation and outdoor living. Today, several innovative technologies make propane a reliable, versatile and affordable choice for homes.

Throughout the US, in areas without affordable access to natural gas, high-performance propane energy applications are being installed in homes to meet efficiency requirements for tax credits, green building codes and sustainable building programs.

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Resilience and Energy-Efficiency Through the Lens of the Northern Maine Readiness Center

Ensuring facilities have a backup power source for resilience and redundancy is gaining traction as a goal by organizations everywhere.

In this Studio Session with ARCHITECT's Editor-in-Chief watch to learn how the energy and engineering team behind an Army National Guard project specified micro-combined heat and power (micro-CHP) systems to cut energy costs and carbon emissions while improving resilience.

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