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FortisBC introduces first commercial rebate for gas absorption heat pumps in Canada
Jun 22, 2022
Gas absorption heat pumps can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 50 per cent compared to standard efficiency systems
Surrey, B.C.—June 22, 2022: FortisBC Energy Inc. (FortisBC) is introducing the first commerical prescriptive rebate offer in Canada for innovative gas absorption heat pumps, helping building owners adopt this next generation of high-efficiency technology. These gas heat pumps were tested in B.C. and showed to reduce energy use by up to 35 per cent and potentially halve greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These units will meet the province’s commitment, outlined in the CleanBC Roadmap, to have all new space and water heating equipment sold in B.C. be at least 100 per cent efficient by 2030 and is also a significant step forward to achieving the province’s climate action goals.
“We’re the first utility in Canada to bring gas absorption heat pump rebates to our commercial customers and it’s an incredible milestone in helping them save energy, money and reduce GHG emissions, but our work doesn’t end here,” said Danielle Wensink, director, conservation and energy management at FortisBC. “This is another step in a new era of technologies that will help improve building and system efficiencies but not the last one. We’re looking forward to finding new ways and technologies to support our customers in achieving significant emissions reductions.”
Gas absorption heat pumps are one type of gas heat pump and use energy to capture heat from the outdoor ambient air as an additional energy source and then transfer it indoors to heat the building, heat water and/or be used for ventilation. Because the energy output is greater than the energy input, the units can achieve efficiencies greater than 100 per cent. This gives owners of commercial buildings, such as office towers, recreation centres and hospitals, an option to replace existing gas systems with higher-efficiency equipment, eight years ahead of the province’s 2030 commitment. Organizations can further reduce their GHG emissions by opting to designate up to 100 per cent of the gas used by their heat pumps to be carbon-neutral Renewable Natural Gas.
FortisBC started testing gas absorption heat pumps at the end of 2019 as part of a pilot program to better understand how these units would operate in real-world settings. The results showed sites that installed a gas absorption heat pump system could achieve up to 35 per cent in energy savings and a GHG emission reduction of up to 50 per cent compared to standard efficiency natural gas boilers.1 FortisBC is currently conducting similar tests on residential gas heat pumps in homes across B.C. to measure their efficiencies and performance.
Through FortisBC’s rebate offer, study funding up to $20,000 is available so organizations can better understand how this technology can work in their facilities. The offer can also help cover up to $35,000 of upfront costs for eligible building owners who install this next generation of high-efficiency gas technology. The program is widely available for commerical customers and FortisBC is already working closely with 17 organizations to install gas absorption heat pumps in their businesses including a healthcare centre, a firehall and multi-unit residential buildings. FortisBC will be working with these organizations over the next two years to learn more about the installation process, the customer’s experience and better understand ways to maximize energy savings with these heat pumps.
Driving forward with innovative technologies is one of the ways FortisBC is leading B.C. to a lower carbon energy future and supporting customers to help them achieve their energy efficiency goals. In 2021, FortisBC hit a significant milestone by investing almost $120 million in their conservation and energy efficiency programs–breaking the $100 million mark for the first time. Between 2019-2021, the company invested around $275 million in these programs and the British Columbia Utilities Commission has approved the company to invest $122 million in 2022.
To learn more about the technology and details about FortisBC’s first rebate program for gas absorption heat pumps visit fortisbc.com/heatpumpsavings.
1The boilers used as a comparison were the current market baseline standard efficiency.
About FortisBC Energy Inc.
FortisBC Energy Inc. is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, Renewable Natural Gas and propane. FortisBC Energy Inc. employs more than 2,000 British Columbians and serves approximately 1,054,097 customers across British Columbia. FortisBC Energy Inc. owns and operates approximately 50,182 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Energy Inc. is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry. FortisBC Energy Inc. uses the FortisBC name and logo under license from Fortis Inc. For further information on FortisBC, visit www.fortisbc.com. For further information on Fortis Inc., visit www.fortisinc.com.