Study helps in prioritizing in-home energy upgrades

February 9, 2011 By    

A new study by Newport Partners LLC, commissioned by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), offers insight into how construction professionals can help homeowners prioritize energy-saving retrofits.

The study, titled the Whole House Analysis of Energy Efficiency Upgrades for Existing Homes, examined dozens of energy efficiency upgrades, such as appliances, building envelope improvements, space conditioning systems, renewable energy and domestic water heating systems. These upgrades were done in 10 locations across five climate zones within the continental U.S. Key metrics of the study included simple payback and expected annual energy cost savings.

“Homeowners rely on construction professionals to know which upgrades are the most cost-effective for improving a home’s energy efficiency. This new study serves as a guide to answering commonly-asked questions about prioritizing energy upgrades,” said Tracy Burleson, director of residential programs for PERC. “Construction professionals can also use the study to help their customers proactively replace targeted mechanical systems that are near the end of their life, with high-efficiency equipment that will yield good returns on investment.”

A consistent performer across most climate zones was a high-efficiency propane furnace in lieu of a standard efficiency propane furnace, according to the study. This option provided a payback of one year in mixed humid, very cold and northeast regions, and averaged annual emissions savings of 2.52 to 3.76 metric tons of CO2. Additionally, the selection of an Energy Star refrigerator versus a standard refrigerator provides a payback of five to seven years, but with low annual emissions savings, averaging 0.03 to 0.07 metric tons of CO2.

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