Natural Gas – The Efficient Energy
When you choose natural gas as your source of energy, you’re choosing the most efficient energy that’s produced in America with minimum environmental impact. With natural gas, 93 percent of the original energy that leaves the ground reaches your home. Only seven percent is lost in the drilling and distribution processes.
Compare that to the electricity that is produced in this area by burning coal and natural gas. Only 28 percent of the original energy reaches your home as electricity. Seventy-two percent is lost in electricity’s less efficient conversion and transmission methods.
Although natural gas is not as inexpensive as it once was, it’s still the most cost-effective way to heat your home and your water, to cook your meals and to dry your clothes. Fortunately, natural gas is also the largest source of energy produced in America. Increased drilling, plus conservation by you and other customers, make natural gas more plentiful and affordable.
Whether you are concerned about conserving our precious natural resources or conserving your family’s budget dollars, natural gas is the best energy choice.
Home Renovations: Converting To Natural Gas
Home renovations often require adding or replacing appliances and equipment. For example, a home addition can increase space heating demand, causing the need for a larger furnace, while a kitchen update may include a new stove. If you’re considering a remodeling project, low-cost, clean-burning natural gas is the right choice for today’s budget-minded, environmentally conscious homeowner.
Comparing energy costs
Fuels used for appliances and equipment are difficult to compare directly because they’re priced differently. For example, natural gas appears on your bill in therms or hundred cubic feet (ccf), electricity rates are based on kilowatt-hours (kWh), and propane and heating oil are priced per gallon.
However, by converting the output of each fuel to British thermal units (Btu), it is possible to compare on an energy-equivalent basis. For example, if electricity costs $35.17 per million Btu, while heating oil costs $27.14. At $14.50 per million Btu, natural gas is by far the most cost-effective option.
The green energy choice
Natural gas is also environmentally friendly because it burns cleaner than other fossil fuels. Coal-fired electric power generation produces carbon dioxide emissions at more than three times the rate of natural gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Using natural gas in appliances and equipment can significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions caused by electricity generation. For homeowners concerned about their impact on the environment, natural gas is a cleaner energy choice.
Making the switch
Home renovations are never easy, but the benefits of natural gas appliances and equipment make the difficulties easier to bear. The following tips will help make the transition go a little smoother:
- Contact a qualified plumber or technician to coordinate with your remodeling contractor about installing additional gas lines in your home.
- When installing a gas furnace or water heater, work with your contractor to make sure the unit is sized correctly. A new bathroom or newly finished basement can affect water heating or space heating demand.
- Consider installing natural gas convenience outlets. Similar to an electric outlet, they allow you to easily and safely connect natural gas appliances and equipment.
- Electric forced-air furnaces are relatively easy to convert to natural gas because most of the existing ductwork can be reused. Similarly, electric hydronic heating systems can easily be converted to a natural gas boiler.
- Natural gas stoves offer instant heat, greater heat control and simplicity in cleaning.
- If you have a wood fireplace, consider running a gas line to install a natural gas unit. Gas models provide the atmosphere of a traditional fireplace without the mess and hassle associated with wood.
- When purchasing natural gas appliances and equipment, select models that are ENERGY STAR®-qualified. ENERGY STAR appliances are up to 30% more efficient than standard models.
Whether you are making a few small changes or a major renovation, adding natural gas appliances and equipment can improve home comfort, while reducing your energy use and your impact on the environment.