Claire Zinnecker’s life is full of the unexpected. After graduating college, her original plan to live and work in Los Angeles turned into staying in her hometown and creating her own interior design firm. Now, she’s living in and renovating an 1899 folk Victorian house, which she’s named Ida.

The Propane Education & Research Council is partnering with social influencers like Claire to share real-life stories of how American families use clean energy like propane to support their sustainable lifestyles and businesses.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m an interior designer from Austin, Texas. I went to school for interiors at the University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture. When I graduated, it was 2009 and there were no job openings anywhere, so I worked for four different local designers until I started getting inquiries for my own personal design work. I then founded Claire Zinnecker Design, for residential and commercial projects.

Tell us about Project Ida.

Ida is the home I saved from East Austin. I moved her out to 5 acres on the San Gabriel River. Adam, my fiancé, and I are slowly breathing new life into her. Built in 1897, Ida is rich with history and we are having fun respecting that while also making her our own.

What propane appliances do you use in your home?

Currently, we use propane for everything in our house, including a stove and hot water heater. We are soon going to be building out our exterior space and will use propane on those pieces as well!

Why do you choose propane over other energy sources?

We are outside of the city limits, so utility set up was different than my normal experience. So, I decided to install a propane tank. Propane is clean energy! It produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than electricity and using propane appliances can help reduce your carbon footprint, which is something we are trying to do in every aspect of our lives at Ida. Propane appliances are actually more energy efficient which means my bills for a larger house are less than they were before! It’s better for the environment because it’s non-toxic and won’t contaminate the soil or groundwater.

How important are green/sustainable practices to you?

Very important! I’m always learning, growing, and trying to do better. It’s a slow process but I’m excited to continue to learn more and challenge myself to do better.

Claire Zinnecker Design_Home

Photo courtesy Claire Zinnecker.

How do propane-powered cooking appliances enhance a kitchen remodel?

Cooking with propane is a cost savings! Propane heats evenly and the heat goes away when turned off. Some appliances powered by propane won’t be affected in a power shortage.

Would you recommend propane-powered water heating to another homeowner?

Yes! Propane-powered water heaters heat much faster, have lower operating costs, provide continuous hot water, reduce the risk of power problems, have quicker recovery rates, etc., etc.

What does standby power mean to you? How important is it for homeowners to have backup/standby power?

After the terrible winter storm we had in Texas with massive power outages, we are definitely working on a plan for standby/backup power so that we aren’t put in that scary position again.

How do propane generators compare with other options, like electric or diesel?

They are more eco-friendly, less noisy, more powerful, easier for refuel (and also readily available), don’t have many temperature-related problems, and so much more!