Water heating is a major energy consumer in commercial buildings, which is why they require systems that are reliable, efficient and able to meet varying levels of demand.

Water heating systems can be powered by a variety of energy sources, but many building owners are finding propane tankless water heaters to be the best solution. High-efficiency propane tankless water heaters provide a versatile, sustainable and energy efficient solution in many commercial applications.

These systems heat water only when it’s needed, eliminating the need for a storage tank and the standby losses associated with maintaining a tank of hot water. Tankless units free up valuable square footage in commercial buildings by offering a compact, space-saving design, and because they don’t come with a bulky storage tank, they can be wall-mounted, free-standing, or even moved outside. Plus, tankless units are less labor intensive to install than tank-style units, and they can use the same plumbing as natural gas water heaters — which is a perk for plumbing professionals. 

As building owners and operators seek the best water heating solution for their operation, they will oftentimes look to plumbing contractors for help. Here are three key advantages of propane systems plumbing professionals should know:


1. They can meet the needs of any commercial project

Propane tankless water heaters offer a versatile, high-performance water heating solution — whether in a new project or as a replacement for an existing storage tank system. 

One of the biggest benefits of this tankless technology in commercial applications is its flexibility to meet a wide range of load types. Propane systems can provide water heating for a variety of commercial applications, including restaurants, multi-family buildings, hospitals, laundromats, salons, health clubs, educational facilities and hotels. Individual tankless units can meet the demand of many small commercial building applications. In high-demand commercial applications — such as hotels and restaurants where users need high flow rates, high temperatures or both — multiple units can be banked together in larger groups to provide a high-value design solution. 

Additionally, propane is a viable solution in buildings without access to natural gas — which is especially beneficial for resorts and lodging facilities that are oftentimes located well off the natural gas line.


2. Propane tankless systems offer increased energy efficiency

The trend toward energy efficiency and zero net energy buildings isn’t slowing down.

Commercial building owners are placing a larger emphasis on efficient energy usage and seeking energy-efficient products and design.

One of the most important benefits of propane tankless units to building owners and operators is their energy efficient operation and the cost savings that result. Propane tankless units have efficiency ratings of up to 98%, and many of these systems utilize a condensing design where additional thermal energy is extracted from the combustion gases to heat incoming water.

The Energy Star label is a clear indication of the efficiency of tankless units. Energy Star-rated units have the potential to use 25% less energy than a conventional commercial water heater. Tankless systems, which are eligible for the Energy Star commercial water heater label, have a capacity greater than 200,000 Btu/h, a thermal efficiency of 0.94 or higher, and an energy factor of 0.93 or higher. 

Beyond its noteworthy efficiency ratings, a propane tankless system’s lifecycle can span up to 20 years, strengthening its value proposition in commercial applications. High-efficiency propane tankless water heaters also offer attractive paybacks, better reliability and long-term energy savings — all helping offset the higher initial capital cost.


3. Propane tankless units help reduce a building’s carbon footprint

Global warming has become an incredibly hot topic in recent years, and as a result, green commercial building practices are growing in importance. Fortunately, commercial propane tankless systems offer an environmental impact that aligns with projects requiring green technologies — such as LEED certification and zero net energy buildings, for example. 

While nearly all water heating systems will have some environmental impact linked to their operations in the form of carbon emissions, propane tankless systems enable a commercial building to lessen its environmental impact compared with other energy sources. According to data from the Propane Education & Research Council, propane-powered tankless water heaters produce fewer greenhouse gas, nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions. 

Water heating continues to be a major energy consumer in commercial buildings. Whether seeking increased energy efficiency, better performance or a smaller carbon footprint, building owners can rely on propane to deliver a sustainable water heating solution in any size building.

To learn more about the benefits of commercial tankless systems, visit Propane.com/Water-Heating.