Jesse Marcus: PERC study finds favorability for energy efficient homes
Gauging residential customers’ sustainability preferences uncovers opportunities for plumbers.
Sustainable, high-performance homes are on the rise.
A new study revealed that many residential customers — driven by cost savings and environmental impact — are placing a high priority on high-performance home projects. Those results create an opportunity for plumbing contractors who are well-versed in how propane can enhance a home’s energy efficiency to be at an advantage, as the study data expects this trend continues to grow.
The study was commissioned by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) and conducted by a third-party research firm, Harris Insights & Analytics. We at the Propane Council sought to assess the consideration and demand for energy efficiency in resi-dential projects and were wide in scope. We reached 2,200 U.S. residents who were self-described as soon-to-be buying a home, remodeling a home or building a home. In addition to the 2,200 residents surveyed, 200 construction professionals also provided input.
The results provide insight into what customers are looking for in their next home project, allowing plumbing contractors to ed-ucate themselves and, in turn, capitalize on this growing customer base.
Energy efficiency in demand
Customers want high-performance homes and they’re willing to pay more, too. There is a high consideration across audiences for the use of both energy-efficient appliances and high-performance homes. Notably, a large majority of residential audiences say it’s a very or somewhat high priority — 78% of residents remodeling a home, 87% of residents buying a home and 89% of residents build-ing a home to be exact.
Your professional peers are also seeing residential customers clamor for sustainable approaches. In fact, nine in 10 say they are being asked about energy-efficient methods by customers. That trend is only expected to continue. One-third of homebuilders say the demand for high-performance homes “increased significantly” in the last few years, while 65% expect that to continue over at least the next five years.
In addition to wanting high-performance homes, a high number — 81% of remodelers, 88% of buyers and 96% of builders — stated a willingness to pay substantially more to make a home or remodeling project energy efficient. Among the three residential respondent categories, the average willing monetary increase fell between 25% and 38%.
It is exciting for us at the Propane Council to hear that an overwhelming majority of people are adopting an energy-efficient mindset because propane can deliver so many solutions that these customers are looking for. Not only does propane have the ability to power nearly all of a home’s major systems, but many of them actually perform better with gas energy. When it comes to overall performance and energy efficiency, propane simply outperforms other energy sources — hands down.
Putting survey results to work
You may be asking yourself, how do these survey results affect me?
Knowing what your customers want in a home will always lead to more business opportunities. When appropriate, it allows you to cater your business to customers wanting higher-end sustainable home applications. That said, it’s imperative now more than ever to familiarize yourself and your team with energy-efficient appliances before your customers come calling for them.
Propane is becoming an increasingly common energy source used throughout the home as more homeowners become ac-quainted with it. The survey found that an average of 68% of the three residential respondent categories agreed that ener-gy-efficient propane appliances significantly lower a home’s energy consumption and monthly energy bill compared to similar elec-tric appliances.
One place that takes center stage with plumbers is with high-efficiency propane tankless water heaters. Propane tankless water heaters provide comfort, versatility and convenience by supplying high volumes of hot water with compact, highly innovative tech-nology. Most importantly, propane water heaters use less energy, cost less to operate and have fewer emissions compared with electric models.
High-efficiency propane tankless water heaters yield roughly half the carbon emissions of electric storage tank systems, and ap-proximately 33% lower carbon emissions compared with heating oil storage tank systems in the Northeast. In addition, they have relatively low fuel consumption and costs because they operate so efficiently. In fact, they save roughly $150 to $200 per year com-pared with typical electric storage water heaters or heating oil systems.
As you can see, propane has the power to provide a whole-home solution to customers as they work toward their sustainability goals. So as more U.S. residents place an emphasis on energy-efficient homes, it’s important for plumbers to educate themselves on how a home’s energy systems and appliances affect the overall efficiency of a home, not to mention, the preferences of their pro-spective customers. Visit Propane.com to learn more about the benefits of propane systems, how to select the right appliances for your projects, and how they can add value to your business.