Having It All

Creating a circular economy in residential construction
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Sponsored by Bison Innovative Products, CRL, and Propane Energy for Everyone
By Amada Voss, MPP
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Onsite Energy, Ready for Resilient Homes

Power outages are becoming a more frequent fact of life. The average homeowner will experience 3.5 power interruptions in a two-year period. According to Eaton’s 2014 Blackout Tracker Annual Report, the United States suffered 3,634 power outages in 2014, affecting more than 14 million people. That’s 12 percent higher than 2013, and 285 percent more often than in 1984. Between 2008 and 2017, California endured 4,297 power cuts – more than double the number of next runner-up Texas, which experienced 1,603. New York came in third with 1,528 outages, followed by Michigan (1,369), Ohio (1,349) and Pennsylvania (1,256)20. What’s more, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, outages are also lasting longer. Despite the financial and emotional toll a power outage can place on a family, with even short outages lasting less than four hours costing homeowners an average of $1,250, only 27 percent of homeowners report having any source of backup power.

In areas where natural disasters occur, many builders have discovered the value of marketing more durable homes. This is certainly true for net zero or off-grid homes that may utilize multiple forms of power, including solar and wind. Propane standby generators offer a powerful, reliable way to protect homes and families, as well as buildings and businesses, from the damage a power outage can cause.

A standby generator powered by propane offers definite advantages over other fuel source generators. Propane doesn’t degrade over time, unlike diesel or gasoline, making it an ideal standby power fuel. Propane produces significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than diesel or gasoline and is non-toxic, non-poisonous, and won’t contaminate soil or water. Propane can handle an entire home’s energy needs for days, unlike solar- or wind-powered systems. Permanently installed and supplied by an above- or below-ground tank, a propane system starts automatically, the moment the power goes down, supplying supplemental electricity in as little as 10 seconds after an outage.

A propane standby generator provides homeowners heating and cooling, lighting, refrigeration, and the amenities their neighbors are without, after the power is knocked out. A reliable propane standby generator can be a key part of resilient, self-contained energy design, which allows a house to continue providing the primary function of a home after a disaster. On-site generators allow a home to resist hazards brought on by major disasters, such as damage to appliances or electronics, spoiled food, loss of heat or air conditioning, hotel costs, and more. Resilience through on-site power reduces the magnitude or duration of a disruptive event to a property and the impact on homeowners.

Photo courtesy of PERC

Resilience through on-site power reduces the magnitude or duration of a disruptive event to a property and the impact on homeowners. A propane standby generator provides homeowners heating and cooling, lighting, refrigeration, hot water, and other amenities their neighbors are without, after the power is knocked out.

HAVING IT ALL

Embracing circular economic principles as a residential design professional and a homeowner does not mean adopting a more restricted lifestyle. Rather, it offers every advantage one might want: from architectural flair, to safety and reliability, to a lifestyle that enhances physical and mental health and wellness. It also protects the environment by reducing the strain on resource availability through the efficiency and effectiveness of resource use and by reducing waste. It is truly a burgeoning way to have it all.

END NOTES

1December 2014. The Benefits of Construction and Demolition Materials Recycling in the United States Prepared for The Construction & Demolition Recycling Association. Prepared by The Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment University of Florida Timothy Townsend, Principal Investigator Christina Wilson, Student Assistant Blaine Beck, Student Assistant Version 1.1 (updated January 14, 2015) June 7, 2022
2Gabriel Luiz Fritz Benachio, Maria do Carmo Duarte Freitas, Sergio Fernando Tavares, Circular economy in the construction industry: A systematic literature review, Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 260, 2020, 121046, ISSN 0959-6526
3Ibid.
4Patrizia Ghisellini, Maddalena Ripa, Sergio Ulgiati, Exploring environmental and economic costs and benefits of a circular economy approach to the construction and demolition sector. A literature review, Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 178, 2018, Pages 618-643, ISSN 0959-6526,
5Ibid.
6Masoud Norouzi, Marta Chàfer, Luisa F. Cabeza, Laureano Jiménez, Dieter Boer, Circular economy in the building and construction sector: A scientific evolution analysis, Journal of Building Engineering, Volume 44, 2021, 102704, ISSN 2352-7102
7Ibid.
8(2020) IIEA - Methane Tracker 2020.
9(2021) EPA - CHP Benefit.
10(2021) Renewable Propane as a Sustainable Fuel Solution in California.
11Building design and construction strategies for a circular economy. Leonora Charlotte Malabi Eberhardt, Morten Birkved & Harpa Birgisdottir P Architectural Engineering and Design Management, Volume 18 Issue 2 Pages 93-113 | Received 15 Aug 2019, Accepted 09 Jun 2020, Published online: 23 Jun 2020.
12Masoud Norouzi, Marta Chàfer, Luisa F. Cabeza, Laureano Jiménez, Dieter Boer, Circular economy in the building and construction sector: A scientific evolution analysis, Journal of Building Engineering, Volume 44, 2021, 102704, ISSN 2352-7102.
13Patrizia Ghisellini, Maddalena Ripa, Sergio Ulgiati, Exploring environmental and economic costs and benefits of a circular economy approach to the construction and demolition sector. A literature review, Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 178, 2018, Pages 618-643, ISSN 0959-6526.
14Building design and construction strategies for a circular economy. Leonora Charlotte Malabi Eberhardt, Morten Birkved & Harpa Birgisdottir P Architectural Engineering and Design Management, Volume 18 Issue 2 Pages 93-113 | Received 15 Aug 2019, Accepted 09 Jun 2020, Published online: 23 Jun 2020.
15Ibid.
16Masoud Norouzi, Marta Chàfer, Luisa F. Cabeza, Laureano Jiménez, Dieter Boer, Circular economy in the building and construction sector: A scientific evolution analysis , Journal of Building Engineering, Volume 44, 2021, 102704, ISSN 2352-7102.
17Ibid.
18S. Balasubramanian. A structural analysis of green supply chain management enablers in the UAE construction sector Int. J. Logist. Syst. Manag. (2014), 10.1504/IJLSM.2014.064655
19S. Badi, N. Murtagh. Green supply chain management in construction: a systematic literature review and future research agenda J. Clean. Prod. (2019), 10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.03.132
20Eaton Blackout Tracker United States Annual Report 2018.

Amanda Voss, MPP, is an author, editor, and policy analyst. Writing for multiple publications, she has also served as the managing editor for Energy Design Update.

 

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Originally published in Architectural Record
Originally published in August 2022


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