In a state where the cost of living is above the national average, cutting expenses and stretching dollars is more important than ever. Many households rely on traditional cost-cutting methods such as packing lunches and not eating out, cutting down on paid services such as cable, limiting travel, utilizing public transportation or carpools, and various other options to reduce costs and marginalize budgetary concerns.
One alternative option that is rarely discussed is a switch to natural gas. Natural gas is a low-cost, reliable energy resource with a more than 100-year supply here in North America. Virginia homeowners can save up to 63 percent on their energy bills annually by switching to natural gas on heating and water heating – as heating and water heating typically make up the two largest home energy expenses.
To put that in perspective, let’s look at the possible household savings of using natural gas versus heating oil, electricity and propane.
- The average Virginia household using standard appliances would save $329 using natural gas versus electricity to heat the home, annually; versus heating oil that number jumps to $563; and versus propane the savings equate to $1111.
- The average Virginia household using high efficiency appliances would save $408 using natural gas versus electricity to heat the home, annually; $453 versus heating oil; and $949 versus propane.
- Virginia homes using standard efficiency water heaters could save as much as $268 annually by switching from electricity to natural gas; versus propane that number jumps to $502.
- Virginia homes using high performance water heaters could save as much as $271 annually by switching from electricity to natural gas; and $442 versus propane.
- Virginia homes using high efficiency tank-less water heaters could save as much as $320 annually by switching from electricity to natural gas; and $315 versus propane.
Those numbers represent a pretty significant chunk of change for households on a tight budget or otherwise. In addition to the economic benefits, natural gas is also better for the environment producing 30 percent fewer carbon emissions than heating oil and 40 percent less carbon emissions than an all-electric home.
If Virginia homeowners and businesses can drastically reduce costs and carbon emissions in one fell swoop, shouldn’t there be a more concerted effort to transition existing homes and businesses to this preferred alternative? The bottom line is natural gas is abundant, affordable and more environmentally friendly than the alternatives. The natural gas era is upon us and as one of our region’s greatest natural resources, it stands to play an integral role in the success and viability of Virginia’s economic future.