WASHINGTON, D.C. - A survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB’s) Research Center on behalf of the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC), found that 34 percent of homes built by surveyed builders over the last 12 months, in locations with partial or no access to natural gas, feature an underground propane tank.

The survey found that overall awareness of underground propane tanks was high, with eight out of 10 builders surveyed noting they are aware of the use of underground tanks. Underground tanks are strongest among builders in the Northeast followed by builders in the Midwest and West regions.

The survey also found that once builders understood the benefits of underground propane tanks, their intention to use propane in the next 12 months jumped from 18 to 29 percent. The greatest gains for propane were in regions without access to natural gas, but even in regions with access to natural gas, the likelihood of builders using underground tanks increased, with interest driven by outdoor living areas and identifying a reliable energy source for standby generators.

High-efficiency hydronic heating systems such as radiant floor heat also appear to be adding to builder interest in using propane, with builders saying they would install radiant floor heat in 13 percent of their homes in the next 12 months, an 11 percent increase over current usage of just 2 percent.

“As builders work with homebuyers to design cost-effective homes that deliver added value, homebuilders can count on their local propane retailer to help them understand the benefits of building a home that maximizes the benefits of an underground storage system,” said Jim Hitzemann of Ray Murray Inc., Huntersville, N.C. “Propane-fueled appliances such as tankless water heaters and high-efficiency gas furnaces help to fuel interest in propane, but the added value propane delivers for outdoor rooms and standby power generation are also important drivers.”

For more information, visit www.propanecouncil.org.

Publication date:09/03/2007