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Navigating the Path to Sustainable Heating: Exploring Electric vs Gas Heat in Warehouses


In our white paper, “Electric vs Gas Heat”, we delve into the practical implications of using electric heat in place of highly efficient natural gas-fired heating equipment, with a specific focus on warehouses. As everyone embarks on a journey towards reducing their carbon footprint and embracing electrification, it is crucial to consider the practicality and limitations of electrical infrastructure capacity when implementing these changes.

We begin by highlighting the advantages of natural gas heating equipment, which offers high efficiency (92%) and is particularly suitable for spaces with high heat demands, such as warehouses. The high heat content per CFM of outside air delivered by natural gas heaters results in fewer units required to meet the building's heat load, ensuring efficient and cost-effective heating.

We acknowledge that some localities and states have imposed or are considering legislation and building code changes that restrict or prohibit natural gas usage. While these efforts are noble, it is important to remember that the transition to electric heat brings along practical implications and challenges associated with electrical infrastructure capacity constraints. Replacing natural gas with electric heat can lead to a significant increase in electrical service requirements, posing challenges for building owners and engineers.

To illustrate these implications, we analyze a sample 1.1M square foot warehouse in Kelso, Washington. Based on the design conditions and heat load calculations, we demonstrate the significant electrical service requirements for electric heat in comparison to natural gas. The building requires a substantial amount of electrical service, not only for heating but also for other building systems, resulting in higher ongoing utility costs.

Moreover, we cannot ignore the environmental impact and cost associated with manufacturing, transporting, installing, and maintaining additional equipment required for electric heating. It is essential to weigh these factors alongside the potential benefits.

We also highlight the environmental aspect of the discussion, emphasizing that natural gas-fired heating equipment can be an effective means of decarbonization. Surprisingly, electric heaters emit significantly more carbon dioxide compared to natural gas heaters when factoring in local emission rates for electricity generation.

Our white paper aims to provide valuable insights for building owners and engineers, equipping them with the information needed to make informed decisions when specifying buildings and selecting heating equipment. We highlight the practicality and efficiency of natural gas heating equipment for large spaces while acknowledging the need for responsible carbon footprint reduction strategies.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the implications of electric heat in large spaces, including detailed calculations and additional considerations, we invite you to download the full white paper here. We encourage you to explore the information provided and make informed choices for your heating solutions, as we collectively shape a more sustainable future.

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