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Vancouver Island apartments

​Natural gas becomes asset to rental property owner

When David Stalker set out to build a rental property, he wasn’t planning anything out of the ordinary. He had a small lot in Nanaimo where he planned to build a fourplex: four individual suites with electric heating and appliances.

A conversation with his FortisBC energy solutions manager revealed how natural gas could save money, both on construction costs and on energy costs down the road.

Piping pays off

He decided to include natural gas appliances in each suite:

  • wall furnaces
  • high-efficiency tankless water heaters
  • ranges
  • clothes dryers

With natural gas heating systems and appliances, the fourplex project could take advantage of FortisBC’s Piping to Suites incentive. This saved over $2,000 on the cost of installing gas piping between the individual meters and the four suites.

Plus, the high-efficiency tankless water heaters he chose were eligible for $1,600 in rebates from the New Home Program.

Surprising savings

Choosing natural gas heating and appliances also reduced his costs to install electricity. “We didn’t need as much power service put into the units and saved money on our electrical contractor by not having to run the heavier cables to power electric ranges and dryers and so forth,” said David.

Buying natural gas appliances cost a little more than their electric counterparts, but the price premium was smaller than he expected. “We were actually surprised at how inexpensive it was to go with gas appliances over electric. When we looked at what our savings would be for hydro bills versus gas, it wouldn’t take long to offset the price difference either. It just made sense to go with natural gas,” he said.

Affordable living

The tenants of the suites now enjoy the benefits. “Everybody who lives there just loves the natural gas,” said David. “They love cooking with gas, they love the on-demand hot water, and they love the heat.” The suites have individual meters. “We’re quite happy with it, because so far our bills have been very economical,” he added.

Save even more with common rates

Natural gas is expected to be even more affordable on Vancouver Island in the years to come. In 2015, we began phasing in common rates for all natural gas customers, with additional rate decreases through 2018 for Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and Whistler customers.

Moving forward with natural gas

David continues to develop other real estate projects in the Nanaimo area and plans to take advantage of natural gas wherever he can.

The FortisBC advantage

Incorporate an innovative energy solution into your next project with FortisBC, a leading energy provider. We work with you every step of the way. You benefit from industry leaders and energy experts with practical, real-world experience. We help you shape your energy strategy, with knowledge that could help you meet provincial greenhouse gas emissions targets. We also help you take advantage of available financial incentives.

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