Propane consumption by end use in residential buildings in the US

In these applications, 85 percent of the propane is used for space heating, 12 percent for water heating, 3 percent for cooking and 1 percent for clothes drying. (Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) ResStock dataset/February 2024)

In these applications, 85 percent of the propane is used for space heating,
12 percent for water heating, 3 percent for cooking and 1 percent for clothes drying. (Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) ResStock dataset/February 2024)

ResStock is a residential building energy stock analysis tool developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). It helps to generate a set of residential dwelling unit models to statistically represent the residential building stock of the Lower 48 states of North America, including the District of Columbia, and then models the energy consumption of those dwelling unit models accounting for housing differences in age, size, construction practices, installed equipment, appliances, as well as a wide range of climates across the county. The NREL ResStock tool is calibrated based on 2018 energy consumption. The data was first released in October 2021, and the latest data update was released in February 2024 and is based on the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) RECs data from 2020 for building characteristics.

The data in the ResStock database is available at the state, county, city and representative individual building model. This data is a useful resource for state and local decision-makers considering options for energy retrofits for their housing stock to reduce carbon emissions, energy use, and/or utility bills and for business owners planning to offer energy services in these markets.

In this article, we provide an overview of the census region level propane consumption data by end use while also highlighting the propane customers by counties in the United States. The data behind this analysis is sourced from NREL’s website.

The NREL ResStock data is a useful resource for state and local decision-makers and for business owners planning to offer energy services in these markets. (Source: NREL ResStock dataset/February 2024)

The NREL ResStock data is a useful resource for state and local decision-makers and for business owners planning to offer energy services in these markets. (Source: NREL ResStock dataset/February 2024)

Commentary on propane end use by census region

⦁ As per the most recent data from NREL, the total end-use energy consumed across the residential sector (in 2018) is 11.9 quadrillion Btus. Natural gas and electricity account for 90 percent of the total end-use fuel consumption, while propane accounts for 4.8 percent of the total end-use energy consumption from the residential buildings in the contiguous United States. This is equivalent to 566 trillion Btus of the total end-use consumption.

⦁ Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York and Ohio are the five states with the highest level of end-use consumption of propane across the residential buildings.

⦁ The East North Central region accounts for the largest share of total energy consumption (21.1 percent) across the Lower 48 states, followed by the Middle Atlantic (16.2 percent) and South Atlantic (15.8 percent) regions.

⦁ Propane accounts for 6 percent of the total energy consumption across the residential sector in the East North Central region, 3.1 percent in the Middle Atlantic and 3.3 percent in the South Atlantic.

⦁ Propane has a much higher contribution to the total energy consumption in the West North Central region (~10 percent).

⦁ Across the United States, propane is primarily used for space heating with moderate usage for cooking, water heating, clothes drying and outdoor living applications. It accounts for 7.4 percent of the total energy consumed for space heating across the United States. Natural gas accounts for 66 percent of the total energy consumption for space heating, followed by electricity, which accounts for 17 percent.

The NREL ResStock data is a useful resource for state and local decision-makers and for business owners planning to offer energy services in these markets. (Source: NREL ResStock dataset/February 2024)

(Source: NREL ResStock dataset/February 2024)

⦁ As per the NREL data, between space heating, cooking, water heating and clothes drying, 85 percent of the propane is used for space heating, 12 percent for water heating, 3 percent for cooking and 1 percent for clothes drying across the United States.

⦁ The Midwest region, which includes the East North Central and West North Central regions, uses ~91 percent of the propane in the region for space heating.

⦁ The Northeast region, which includes Middle Atlantic and New England states, uses 81 percent of propane for space heating, 14 percent for water heating, and the rest is used for cooking and clothes drying.

⦁ The East South Central, West South Central and the South Atlantic regions, which are aggregated to form the South region, use 81 percent of propane for space heating, 13 percent for water heating and 5 percent for cooking.

⦁ The West region, composed of the Pacific and Mountain areas, uses 70 percent of propane for space heating, 25 percent for water heating and 4 percent for cooking.

Commentary on propane customers by county

⦁ The NREL database includes data on over 11 million customers of residential propane within the Lower 48 states.

⦁ There are 598 counties with fewer than 500 customers of propane and close to 216 counties with over 10,000 customers of propane in the residential sector.

⦁ Los Angeles and San Diego County in California; New York  and Suffolk County in New York; and Maricopa County in Arizona all have more than 60,000 propane space heating customers.

⦁ Griggs County in North Dakota has only 242 propane space heating customers, but each household consumes an average of 7,926 gallons of propane per household.

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