Abundantly Clear

Did you know that natural gas is so energy efficient that it is being used more often in power plants to generate electricity? The fact is, the direct use of natural gas is three times more efficient than using electricity to run home appliances.

How can that be? The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)’s Johnathan Cogan said the difference is based on a calculation of getting energy consumed in mining coal out of the ground, burning it in a power plant to turn it into electricity, sending it long distances along transmission lines and, finally, delivering it to homes to heat them or run their appliances.

In the case of natural gas, on the other hand, very little energy is consumed in transmitting it along pipelines and into homes. When you turn on the appliance, natural gas is transformed into energy immediately. By taking all the energy use into account, the EIA has calculated that natural gas is more than three times more efficient as a source of energy for the home and running its appliances.

But, when you compare appliances in a store, you don’t see this difference in efficiency. Why? When you look at appliance efficiencies in the store, you are only looking at the efficiency of the appliance itself; this figure does not take into account the process of getting the energy to your home. That’s why it can mistakenly appear that there is little difference in energy efficiency between them in some cases.

However, when all aspects of the energy production process are taken into account, it becomes abundantly clear that natural gas appliances are by far the winner! Not only that, they are cleaner, better for the environment and are cheaper to run than their electric counterparts.

Abundantly Clear was written by Drew Robb for Natural Living, a publication distributed by Southeast Gas and published by Energy Solutions Center.