Commercial natural gas heat pump pilot program

We’re always looking for innovative ways to help our customers save energy and money, while supporting the Province of BC’s climate action goals and our Clean Growth Pathway. One way we do this is by testing new energy-efficiency technologies in real life settings. 

Looking for small businesses

We need five small businesses to test the latest innovation in natural gas heating and cooling—a heat pump! Not yet available in BC, the ThermoLift heat pump is reported to offer efficiencies as high as 150 per cent, potentially reducing your space and water heating costs by 30 to 50 per cent.1 If accepted into the pilot program, you’ll receive this new technology installed in your business for free2 and have the chance to influence our future full-scale rebate programs.

But apply today, as applications are only being accepted until September 1, 2020, or until we have five approved businesses, whichever comes first.

Eligibility

Only applications that meet all of the following eligibility requirements will be considered:

  1. You must be a commercial natural gas customer under any rate class except Rate 1.
  2. You must be a property owner or long-term leaseholder of an existing small commercial building, (e.g. restaurant, small detached business, purpose built residential building, small retail) located in the Lower Mainland or Fraser Valley.
  3. The property must not have changed ownership since January 1, 2019.
  4. The property’s existing space and water heating systems must be natural gas fuelled.
  5. The property’s existing space and water heating equipment will not be removed for the duration of the pilot. Therefore, you must have an additional 20-40 square feet of conditioned indoor space near your current space and water heating equipment to allow for the installation of the heat pump and monitoring equipment.
  6. The property must have a minimum of eight square feet (e.g. two by four sq. ft.) of outdoor space available to house a heat exchanger fan unit.
  7. You must not be planning to sell your business and/or vacate the building for an extended period of time before January 1, 2023.
  8. The property must not have undergone any renovations and upgrades to the space and water heating systems after January 1, 2017, and you must not be planning any before December 31, 2021.
  9. You must be willing to complete surveys, participate in testimonials and allow FortisBC contractors occasional access to your business during regular business hours to monitor, troubleshoot and evaluate the performance of the heat pump.

Review all the terms and conditions.

Pilot program details

Timing

Prototype ThermoLift heat pumps, along with their components3, will be installed in successful participants’ businesses in the fall of 2020 and remain in operation for one year. Because this heat pump is a new technology not yet used in a small business setting, your existing space and water heating equipment will remain in place so it can be turned back on if the heat pump malfunctions for any reason, helping to ensure there's no interruption to your business.

ThermoLift and components

Example of a ThermoLift heat pump and its components

Options at end of pilot

At the end of the pilot, ThermoLift will offer you one of three options:

  1. The prototype will be exchanged for an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certified production unit and your existing space and water heating system will remain in place.
  2. The prototype will be exchanged for a UL certified production unit and your existing space and water heating system will be decommissioned and removed.
  3. The prototype will be removed and you revert back to your existing space and water heating system.

Note: if you choose option one or two, we’ll continue to monitor and verify energy savings on your UL certified ThermoLift production unit for one more year.

How to apply

  1. To be considered for this pilot, submit a completed application form by September 1, 2020.
  2. Allow us a minimum of 30 days to process your application. Note: applications will be reviewed in the order they’re received.
  3. If your application is shortlisted, we’ll contact you to schedule a date for a site visit to ensure there is ample space and the proper configuration in your business to install the prototype.
  4. If your application doesn’t meet eligibility requirements, you’ll be notified by email. Note: we’re always needing pilot program participants, so if you aren’t eligible now, sign up here to be notified of future pilot program opportunities.

Apply now

We’re here to help

If you have questions about this pilot program, please contact Mila Barbour by calling 604-592-7918 or emailing innovative.technologies@fortisbc.com.


1Oak Ridge National Laboratory test results state COP of 1.52 (150%) with ambient air temperature of 8.3 °C.
2 Participants are still responsible for paying their FortisBC natural gas bills during the pilot program. 
3 Component pieces may include an outdoor fan unit, valves, an indirect hot water tank, water, heating and cooling fan coils and new piping.