Toronto, ON — The earth has reached the point of no return, forests are burning up, the polar ice caps are melting—these are all stories that environmental experts have been sharing with the public now for decades.
The building industry is looking at electrification as a way to cut down on Canada’s carbon footprint. One viable option is the use of heat pumps. On June 28, the Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI), released “Driving Ground-Source Heat Pump Adoption,“ a report that lays out how Canada can save up to $148 billion by utilizing heat pump technology. The report was completed in partnership with Dunsky Energy and Climate Advisors.
Per the report, Canada has set ambitious greenhouse (GHG) emission targets. Electrification and moving away from fossil fuels is critical in meeting these targets, reports HRAI. According to the report, 17 per cent of Canada’s emissions come from buildings—more specifically due to heating and cooling.
Heat pumps are one way that users can heat and cool their homes while also cutting down the use of fossil fuels. “For many years, experts in the field have known that ground-source heat pumps (GSHP’s) offer considerable energy cost savings to Canadians while reducing carbon emissions,” explains Sandy MacLeod, HRAI’s president and CEO.
To implement this shift to electrification, the expansion of electrical grids needs to occur to meet heating demands during the coldest days, according to the report. In colder climates, GSHPs can maintain their efficiency as they rely on the temperature from the ground as a heat source. The report highlights that an adoption rate of GSHPs could save Canadians between $49 and $148 billion; while the net benefit of switching to an electricity grid will amount to around $40,000 thousand per installed GSHP system.
While GSHPs provide benefits, the report also highlights some of the barriers stopping the adoption of GSHPs. For example, the installation and equipment first cost of GSHPs is extremely higher than traditional technologies like natural gas or oil furnaces. The report also mentions that the lack of customer and industry awareness are also significant barriers in the adoption of GSHP.
Federal and provincial tax credits, upfront incentives, financing, and rebates can help the country ease into the GSHP lifestyle. “Through an optimal mix of policies aimed at increasing ground-source heat pump adoption, we can create a triple-win situation for Canadians: lower costs, lower GHG emissions and increased comfort and resiliency,” said MacLeod.