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Energy Solutions Center Inc.

400 N. Capitol St., NW 4th Floor
Washington, DC 20001

Voice 202-824-7152
Fax 202-824-7096
E-mail dweiss@escenter.org


Construction Heater Workgroup

The mission of the ESC Construction Heater Work Group is to evaluate the market potential for the use of natural gas construction heaters and to share information about the operating and performance characteristics of the equpment, associated costs, marketing strategies, and builder relationships. The work group serves as an informal information exchange activity which meets periodically at the Technology and Market Assessment Forums and through periodic conference calls. Any member of ESC can participate in the work group without any additional cost. For additional information or to be included on the contact list, please contact Richard Biljetina of the ESC team at biljet@att.net.


Construction heating and dehumidification is a load growth opportunity for natural gas because both residential and commercial construction sites benefit from lower costs, improved curing times, and healthier work-place environments when natural gas is available and deployed in building projects. Furthermore, the early availability of natural gas service to residential and commercial developments may also result in ensuring that owners and architects have a broader choice in the selection of HVAC equipment, appliances, and living space enhancements.


The use of natural gas for construction heating provides a more cost-effective and convenient solution when compared to propane and diesel fuels. Natural gas construction heating provides faster curing times for both concrete and drywall; and it is more efficient for frost control or thawing applications. It also improves worker safety by eliminating the need to handle bulky fuel tanks, provides a higher level of comfort, and ensures a healthier air-quality in the workplace. The use of temporary natural gas heaters also protects permanently installed HVAC equipment and avoids unnecessary occupancy delays due to HVAC equipment failures and voided equipment warranties. Another benefit can be the prevention of mold growth in ductwork and wall spaces. Mold growth can occur in as little as 48 to 72 hours.


The use of natural gas provides a load growth opportunity for utilities that also promises to improve existing relationships with owners, builders, architects, and engineers by providing a better and more cost-effective solution for construction heating. Practices and procedures that allow the early deployment of natural gas services to construction sites foster improved relationships with the construction community and should increase the deployment of higher efficiency, green appliances and HVAC systems. The prevention of damage to permanent HVAC equipment also improves the business environment for natural gas equipment.


Although construction heating represents a significant and increasing market in the colder climate regions of the US and certainly all of Canada, applications for mold control and flood damage mitigation extend the market to a number of southern service territories. For the northern tier seasonal loads can reach 50,000 therms for large retail stores (100,000 sq. feet) to 100,000 therms for four-story office buildings (200,000 sq. feet) and it is estimated that savings in fuel and labor cost can reduce the expense to the construction site by 35 to 50%.


The objective will be to provide utility members with data, tools, marketing materials, and procedures that will both facilitate internal utility practices leading to an effective construction heating program and provide owners, architects and engineers with easy access to natural gas and equipment for construction heating. The consortium will actively seek the participation of construction heating equipment vendors, trade associations such as the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA), and HVAC equipment manufacturers, all of whom will benefit from the use of temporary heating and dehumidification equipment during the construction phase of residential and commercial developments. The goal will be to make the case that using natural gas will:

• Save on Fuel Costs
• Save on Labor Costs
• Improve on Site Safety
• Protect Permanent HVAC Equipment
• Improve Billing Processes
• Offer a Green Solution