Posted October 21, 2020

Exclusive: Job site fuels and indoor air quality

Support healthy indoor air quality with propane light construction equipment.

Matt McDonald is director of off-road business development for the Propane Education & Research Council.

By Matt McDonald

October brings awareness to an important topic in the construction industry: indoor air quality. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often two to five times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. The EPA also notes that the average person takes between 17,280 and 23,040 breaths a day, making the air in a person’s work environment of high importance.

Poor indoor air quality can have a significant impact on human health, which is why it’s a major focus for construction professionals across the country. Poor indoor air quality can lead to sick employees, absenteeism, and decreased productivity. On average, U.S. adults miss approximately 14.5 million work days due to asthma, according to the American Lung Association, while the most common health effects associated with indoor air pollutants include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, according to the EPA.

Working around heavy machinery and small-engine job site applications is so normal for construction employees that they may not often stop to think about how this equipment is impacting the air quality on project sites. Being cognizant of emissions and air quality is particularly important for projects located near sensitive populations or in areas with strict emissions regulations.

As construction pros work to keep crews healthy and improve the air quality on project sites, it’s important to consider the equipment and energy sources being used on site. Using clean energy sources, like propane, can help construction professionals maintain healthy air quality.

Propane can provide crews with a clean, versatile energy solution for a variety of light construction equipment including job site heaters, mobile light towers, portable generators, power buggies, scissor lifts, concrete grinders and polishers, power concrete trowels, forklifts, and more. Propane not only provides reliable power for all of these applications, but does so with fewer emissions, too.

In fact, propane produces fewer greenhouse gas and carbon monoxide emissions than gasoline and diesel equipment. Additionally, propane equipment emits fewer total nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions than equipment powered by electricity, gasoline, and diesel.

According to data from the Propane Education & Research Council, propane-powered small-engine job site applications can reduce carbon monoxide emissions by up to 50 percent compared with gasoline-fueled models. Propane equipment also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 17 percent and sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions by up to 16 percent compared with gasoline.

Construction professionals work in a wide variety of environments including indoors, outdoors, and in semi-enclosed spaces, which is why they need equipment that can safely operate anywhere. Fortunately, because of its low-emissions profile, propane offers the versatility to operate in properly-ventilated indoor spaces and support healthy air quality for both employees and the surrounding community. Gasoline and diesel equipment, on the other hand, can produce a variety of chemicals and pollutants.

This October, during Indoor Air Quality Month, we encourage crews to consider how the energy sources they’re using on-site can impact air quality. To learn more about propane equipment, visit CS

Matt McDonald is director of off-road business development for the Propane Education & Research Council. He can be reached at