More than 64 million U.S. homes use natural gas. In new homes, natural gas continues to be the most popular energy source for home heating. In 2007, gas captured 60 percent of the home heating market in newly built single-family homes. In contrast, only 38 percent of these new homes featured electric heating systems.
In multi-family housing, 41 percent of the units completed in 2007 had gas heat, versus 58 percent with electricity.
Natural gas water heaters hold a 51 percent market share. Newer natural gas combination water/space heaters are gaining in popularity in the single-family and multi-family markets because they occupy less space than two separate systems, are priced competitively with the installed cost of an electric heat pump/electric water heater arrangement, and can be directly vented.
Natural gas fireplaces and other gas hearth products are rapidly gaining in popularity, in part because consumers desire the comfort and ambience of a fire without hauling and storing wood, cleaning ashes and worrying about fire safety. In 2007, U.S. shipments of gas hearth products accounted for 64 percent of the market, while shipments of traditional cordwood units comprised only 15 percent, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association.
There are more than 5 million commercial natural gas customers in the U.S., accounting for 20 percent of total gas consumption. Natural gas provides more than 35 percent of all the energy consumed in the commercial sector (such as office buildings, schools, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, malls and other retail establishments). Most (54 percent) of the natural gas consumed in the commercial sector is used for space heating and, to a lesser extent, water heating (14 percent), with cooling third (12 percent). A number of gas cooling products, such as engine-driven chillers, absorption chillers and desiccant dehumidifiers, are making inroads in the marketplace.
Homeowners and commercial consumers prefer natural gas heat because it performs well and is a good energy value. For more than 10 years, gas has captured more than 60 percent of the single-family home space-heating market. Commercial customers use more natural gas than electricity, and the demand continues to grow.
AGA Contact: Bruce McDowell, (202) 824-7131, bmcdowell@aga