Climate change is accelerating at an alarming pace and scientists consistently call for urgent action. It’s easy to assume that the responsibility for averting the crisis lies in the hands of policymakers, but in reality, every one of us can make small changes which, added together, have a significant impact. One such change is switching to a more environmentally friendly and sustainable energy source - propane.
Words by Chris Turrell of Home Gas Ltd.
WHAT IS PROPANE?
Also known as Liquid Petroleum Gas, propane is a gas consisting of carbon and hydrogen, that is compressed and stored in liquid form in cylinders and tanks and can be used to power many household appliances.
It is non-toxic, colourless and naturally odourless. However, when imported to the Cayman Islands an odourant known as mercaptan is added to it (giving it that rotten egg smell) to aid in detection.
BENEFITS OF PROPANE
Environmental: Although derived from fossil fuels, propane is considered a clean fuel. It produces less harmful emissions
(such as soot, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide) than gasoline or diesel, and its low carbon content results in fewer CO2 emissions. Because it is a gas, should it leak, it will not spill, pool or leave a residue and so will not contaminate water, soil or air.
Economic: Propane is the most economical source of energy in Cayman. Using propane-fueled appliances to cook, heat water and dry laundry can save homeowners on average 40% on their electric bills each month.
Resilience: Because propane appliances are not connected to the grid, they are not vulnerable to power outages, giving homeowners peace of mind and a greater degree of self-sufficiency.
Virtually any household appliance can run on propane. Although electric appliances cannot be converted to propane, a wide range of gas-driven appliances are available. Because propane appliances heat up faster than their electric counterparts, it is the heat-generating appliances that are most efficient. Ovens, stovetops, outdoor grills and generators come to mind first, of course, but water heaters, pool heaters, clothes dryers and fire pits that run on propane are also available. Elsewhere in the world (and hopefully soon in Cayman) it’s also possible to power cars with propane.
SWITCHING TO PROPANE
As using propane to run appliances requires piping to connect appliances to cylinders or tanks, as well as storage for the propane, it is best considered at the build stage.
Where and how propane cylinders will be stored will depend on the plot of land and the number of appliances being run. Options range from personal cylinders to large bulk tanks that can be placed underground. An installation can span a single appliance to a whole housing complex.
Even if there are no plans to use propane appliances immediately, installing the necessary piping is a sensible way to future proof your home, by laying the groundwork – the switch can always be made at a later date.
The events of 2020 – wildfires, hurricanes, floods and a global pandemic, to name a few – have strengthened our desire to live in a more environmentally conscious, self-sufficient manner and switching to propane is one viable way to start on that journey.
To learn more, contact Home Gas Ltd.: