Manufactured housing leader: Propane an important energy source

September 26, 2022 By    

LP Gas Editor-in-Chief Brian Richesson talked with Lesli Gooch, CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), about manufactured housing and propane’s role in it.

Gooch underscores the affordability of manufactured housing, which represents about 10 percent of new single-family home starts in the U.S., according to MHI, and how propane makes sense as an energy source in these homes. Here are some of her comments, organized and edited for clarity.

Affordable housing solution

Lesli Gooch


“I’m really excited about the attention that policymakers are paying to manufactured housing as one of the solutions to the supply shortage. The beauty of manufactured housing is it fits right in with respect to propane because homes are built in a factory and transported to the site. People choose to live in more rural markets in manufactured housing. That’s where propane becomes an important source of energy.”

“We do see that propane’s most prominent use is in the Northeast and Upper Midwest. When you talk about propane, maybe the [natural] gas line is not going to reach that site where they’re looking to build. This land in rural America is where manufactured housing customers can find an affordable home and an affordable source of energy for that family. That’s why propane is important in our industry. People appreciate that.”

Propane-fueled appliances

Gooch notes the many propane-fueled appliances for use inside and outside a manufactured home.

“When you talk about outdoor appliances, people are excited about that use for propane as well. Our houses can be placed anywhere, and propane helps make that a reality because where homes are, propane’s right there. The other thing that helps us, if you’re worried about a power outage, for those customers propane generators are a good option so they don’t have to worry as much. That’s a positive element.”

Government overreach concerns

“We spend a lot of time with the Department of Energy (DOE). There’s a lot going on in this administration that deals with energy efficiency and fighting the impacts of climate change. It’s been unfortunate that while this administration is very focused on manufactured housing to address the affordable housing supply shortage, you have people at DOE pushing too hard to move manufactured housing to be the energy-efficient form of housing in America. They are pushing standards on us that are not even used in site-built construction. When you are talking about affordability, it’s frustrating to hear the comments being made where they’re trying to push manufactured housing to the point of not being affordable. We’re working hard to address that.”

‘Commitment to energy efficiency’

“Our industry is very clear we’re not opposed to energy-efficiency improvements. We’ve been increasing the number of Energy Star homes and showing our commitment to energy efficiency. But to look at our industry – ‘You’re the most affordable form of homeownership in America, but we’re going to make you the most energy efficient.’ Those two things cannot coexist.”

Customer perception

“As an industry, we’re working to change that perception about manufactured homes and to make sure people view a manufactured house as indistinguishable from a site-built home. When you look at the quality of our homes, customers are very excited about what they can afford because they can get a brand-new home with today’s design features.”

How the propane industry can help grow the manufactured housing market

“As housing prices continue to increase at unprecedented levels, it’s really important to focus on affordability. To educate the customer about their energy options and affordability around them is extremely important. Manufactured housing is on the forefront of these conversations on housing affordability because of the quality of construction, because you can become a homeowner in a wonderful house at a price point you can afford. For propane, that’s a part of that affordability conversation around monthly cost of energy, making sure you have that education campaign. That’s the piece that’s so important.”

For more about the manufactured housing market, read “Manufactured housing remains high priority for propane industry.”

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About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at or 216-706-3748.

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