Written on: September 5, 2023
From the Propane Education & Research Council
Power outages don’t care what day it is or what’s going on in your life—they just happen. On the night of my wedding rehearsal dinner, I drove up the driveway and realized the generator was running. Instantly I knew the power at the house was out. Lucky for me, because of my propane generator, the lights were still on, the house was functioning, and a very important night of my life wasn’t ruined because of a power outage.
The frequency of power outages in the United States, like the ones that I witness at my house, are increasing. Right now, only about 27 percent of homeowners report having any source of backup power, but that number continues to rise and most of those generators that are being purchased are diesel fueled.
In areas where natural disasters have occurred, many builders, like me, know the value of building and marketing more resilient homes. Resiliency is about more than “sturdiness”, and builders that work with their customers to incorporate a propane-powered generator into their homes can make a huge difference. Propane generators supply homes with heating and cooling, lighting, refrigeration, and the amenities their neighbors are without, after the power is knocked out. These are what make families feel safer and more secure when the rest of the neighborhood is without power.
All backup power can provide customers with a sense of security, but propane-powered generators are more environmentally friendly compared to diesel systems. According to the Propane Education & Research Council’s (PERC) data, compared to diesel, propane significantly improves local air quality by mitigating nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, both of which are known health hazards. Propane also emits significantly less carbon dioxide on a per unit energy basis. In fact, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), propane is 16 percent cleaner than diesel when it comes to carbon dioxide (CO2) per unit of energy.
My propane-powered generator is connected to my on-site propane supply, which means it starts automatically within 10 seconds of when the power goes out, no matter where I am or what is happening (like getting ready for my wedding). Once the generator starts, it can handle my entire home’s energy needs for several days, which is a benefit over solar or wind powered systems. And since propane doesn’t degrade over time and has an indefinite shelf life, I’m confident the energy source is going to work for me when it needs to.
Propane is an affordable energy choice capable of delivering efficient, on-site energy during power outages. I know this firsthand, and I encourage my colleagues and my customers to incorporate propane generators into their builds whenever possible.