There are a lot of terms that get used when talking about clean energy and climate change-focused goals. One of them is achieving “Net Zero Emissions”. But what does that mean? In short, it’s about hitting a balance between emissions produced and emissions taken out of the atmosphere.
For example, you’ll hear that a certain measure to reduce carbon emissions (or “carbon footprint”) will be the equivalent of taking some number of gasoline-powered cars off the road. Switching to electric vehicles is a great way to take those cars off the road, but electric vehicles aren’t a perfect solution for everyone yet.
The need to decarbonize our energy sources is important, but there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making all homes and businesses convert to electric-powered heating systems is a bit misguided. Until there’s a reliable and affordable way to get all our energy from renewable sources like the sun and wind, we need to use a mix of the greenest options available.
Here are three big reasons why the smart solution is a balanced solution:
Why switch to a less efficient heating fuel when there are safe and clean-burning fuels to help keep your home and family comfortable, even on the coldest nights?
It costs more to heat your home with electricity. Electric heat takes much longer to reach a comfortable temperature. Additionally, it can struggle to maintain it when temperatures are frigid for sustained amounts of time—which is the description of a Vermont winter. Electric heat pumps become less able to keep your home warm the lower the temperature goes, as they rely on outdoor air. In fact, many homes with electric heat pumps also need to have oil- or gas-fired furnaces or boilers as a backup to keep the home safely warm.
Because they must work harder, electric heating systems will drive up your energy usage, which in turn drives up your utility bill. That’s without factoring in the cost to convert to electric heating systems, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars in itself!
One of the selling points of electricity is that it has “zero” emissions. However, did you know that the generation of electricity is the second-largest creator of greenhouse gases in the United States? That’s because most of our electricity supply is generated by coal-fired power plants. Only the transportation sector creates more greenhouse gases. More than 63% of our electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, mostly coal and natural gas.
Propane, on the other hand, is much more clean-burning, with nearly zero emissions created from its usage. Propane is a non-toxic, non-poisonous fuel that burns cleaner than other fuels. Additionally, propane will not create an environmental hazard if spilled.
Now, there’s an even “greener” type of propane. Renewable propane is made from sustainable sources—most commonly animal fats and vegetable oils. Much like other biofuels, it has a very small carbon footprint and requires no new or special equipment.
Everyone should have access to clean energy, but utility programs that promote rooftop solar power, electric vehicles, and home energy storage are largely inaccessible to low-income households. Achieving net-zero emissions is important, but we’ll only get there if everyone has access to cleaner-burning fuels.
The cost of electrification is too high—and while using electricity may be clean, generating all that electricity to meet the increased demand is not. With a balanced approach and a mix of clean energy sources, everyone can get to net zero, not just those with deeper pockets.
There are a range of factors to consider when choosing the energy source for your home heating and appliances, including cost, efficiency, dependability, and more. Thinking about making the switch to propane? You can feel comfortable knowing propane-powered appliances and equipment will not only create efficiency, but they’ll also keep your house running while helping the environment.
For more information about clean, versatile, and reliable propane for your home or business in southern Vermont, contact the pros at Dorr Oil and Propane today.