Water heating is a major energy consumer in commercial buildings. It accounts for up to a quarter of all energy use in some buildings, which is why systems that are reliable, efficient, and able to meet varying levels of demand are necessary. Nearly 80% of energy use for water heating occurs in buildings built before 2000, so replacing outdated systems with newer, high-efficiency water heating technology can significantly improve performance and savings.

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 option for many commercial applications.

These systems heat water on demand, 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. 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. The design and installation is basically the same plumbing as natural gas water heaters, which is a perk for plumbing professionals working where natural gas isn’t available.

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

1. Propane tankless systems 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 water heating 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, multifamily buildings, hospitals, laundromats, salons, health clubs, educational facilities, and hotels. Individual tankless units can meet the needs of many small commercial building applications and in high-demand commercial applications, such as smaller hotels and restaurants, where users need high flowrates, high temperatures, or both. Multiple units can be banked together in larger groups to provide a high-value design solution or even use a single unit with multiple heat exchangers delivering up to 3 million Btu/hr. for larger commercial needs.

2. Propane tankless systems offer superior energy efficiency

The trend toward energy efficiency and zero-net-energy buildings isn’t slowing down. More commercial building owners are emphasizing sustainability and seeking energy-efficient products and design.

One of the most important benefits propane tankless units offer building owners and operators is energy-efficient operation and subsequent cost savings. Propane tankless units have efficiency ratings of up to 98%. These systems feature a condensing design that extracts additional thermal energy from combustion gases to heat incoming water.

Energy Star-rated units have the potential to use 25% less energy than a conventional commercial water heater. Tankless systems have a capacity greater than 200,000 Btu per hour, a thermal efficiency of 0.94 or higher, and an energy factor of 0.93 or higher.  

3. Propane tankless systems 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 have become more prevalent. Fortunately, commercial propane tankless systems have minimal environmental impact, aligning with projects requiring green technologies, like LEED certification and zero-net-energy buildings.

Nearly all water heating systems will have some environmental impact on building operations in the form of carbon emissions. However, propane tankless systems enable commercial buildings to decrease that impact compared with other water heating energy sources. According to data from the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), propane tankless water heaters produce up to 47% fewer nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, 61% fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and 91% fewer sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions than electric storage tank water heaters powered by grid-supplied electricity.

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 buildings of any size.

To learn more about the benefits of commercial tankless systems, visit propane.com/water-heating.