Energy-efficiency pilot programs

As part of our commitment to helping all of our customers save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we offer rebates on high-efficiency heating systems and appliances. But before recommending new technologies with rebates, our innovative technologies team conducts pilot programs to evaluate their energy-saving potential and customer acceptance. 

Active pilots

We’re currently working on evaluating several technologies with the help of pilot participants:

On-demand recirculation controls

This pilot is verifying the energy savings, customer acceptance and installation of on-demand recirculation controls for central domestic hot water systems in 19 multi-family residential buildings in the Lower Mainland. Unlike systems that recirculate hot water throughout a building 24-7, demand controls operate the recirculation pump only in response to hot water demand. It is expected that reducing heating loads and pump operations will show natural gas and electricity savings. The pilot results will help determine the feasibility of offering a rebate program to our customers.

Results: Expected in spring 2019.

Gas absorption heat pumps

This pilot will measure domestic hot water savings of installing two Robur gas absorption heat pump units to cover 70 per cent of the domestic hot water load at up to six participating commercial buildings. The pilot will help verify the energy savings, customer acceptance and installation of the heat pumps, and the results will help determine the feasibility of offering a rebate program to our customers. 

Results: Expected in spring 2020. 

Carbon capture

A group of commercial customers in BC have been given carbon capture units, with the goal of evaluating how they can help save natural gas usage from boilers and convert carbon dioxide to soda ash, a usable byproduct. The pilot is also testing the acceptance of this technology, produced by Calgary-based CleanO2, in the marketplace. 

More information: Visit the carbon capture pilot program webpage

Success stories

We often work with manufacturers of new energy-efficient technologies to test them in real homes and businesses. Here are some recently completed pilots with positive results:  

Ice rink resurfacing efficiency pilot

This pilot validated energy saving claims, assessed customer acceptance rates and identified technical issues associated with installing and operating of vortex mechanical deaerator technology for ice resurfacing in BC arenas. Vortex mechanical deaerators reduce the need to heat the water applied to the ice during the resurfacing process

Results: The study showed savings of 330 gigajoules of natural gas per year, which is equivalent to about 79 per cent gas savings and 28 per cent electricity savings for ice arena customers. This technology is now eligible for rebates in our commercial performance program for existing buildings.

Combination space and water heating system pilot

This pilot focused on identifying field-validated energy performance of three different combination system types, technical issues, incremental costs, customer acceptance and effective marketing of home retrofit rebates. 

Results: Customer acceptance was high and savings of 13 to 24 per cent were identified across three different system types. This technology is now eligible for combination heating and hot water system rebates.

Condensing make-up air unit pilot

This pilot focused on validating energy savings claims, assessing customer acceptance, and identifying any technical issues associated with installing and operating condensing gas-fired ventilation units in British Columbia commercial buildings. 

Results: Based on the monitoring and verification results, condensing make-up air units showed natural gas savings of 28 per cent compared to pre-existing make up air units and 17 per cent compared to new make-up air units with 80 per cent efficiency. This technology is now eligible for rebates for commercial natural gas customers

Smart learning thermostats

More than 200 residential natural gas and electricity customers in Kelowna received up to a $100 rebate on purchasing and installing qualifying smart thermostats in their homes and answering questionnaires designed to assess energy savings, gauge customer acceptance and further evaluate the use of smart technology in homes. 

Results: Customer satisfaction with smart thermostats was high, with 95 per cent of participants indicating they’d recommend them to others. After installing smart thermostats, participants saved an average of 2.6 gigajoules of natural gas and 488 kilowatt hours of electricity per household over the study period (December 2017 to February 2019).

Questions?  

For more information about our pilot programs, email us at innovative.technologies@fortisbc.com or call 604-592-7918

Participate in a pilot

Sign up to be notified about future pilot program opportunities. By volunteering to take part in a pilot, you could receive financial incentives and the chance to be among the first to try energy-efficient technologies that are not yet widely available in BC.