The Ontario Geothermal Association (OGA) 2022 conference returned on April 26. Held at the Hilton in Mississauga, the conference was host to municipal advisors, HVAC/R professionals, consulting engineers and designers, as well as developers, educators and utilities.
The theme for the conference was “Closing the Loop,” and the all-day event covered various topics and issues regarding climate change and how Canada can meet its goals of net-zero emissions by 2050. The conference had a jam-packed agenda and showcased new plans and technologies to help the industry meet its climate action goals.
Topics of discussion
The day commenced with a presentation by Martin Luymes, vice president of government and stakeholder relations at the Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) and Jean Philippe Hardy, managing consultant at Dunsky Energy and Climate. The presentation focused on the Dunsky Energy Report titled, “Driving Ground-Source Heat Pump Adoption.” For more details on the report, visit www.plumbingandhvac.ca/ground-source-heat-pump-adoption.
Hardy highlighted how the Dunsky report responded to an earlier report by the ICF and CGA, where they excluded ground-source heat pumps (GSHPs) from its electrification and decarbonization solutions analysis. “Our report essentially replaced air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) with ground source heat pumps, and the findings saw that GSHPs keep performing even in lower temperatures. Whereas ASHPs lose performance in lower temps.”
While GSHPs are costly, the Dunsky report demonstrated how Canada could see around $50 billion to $150 billion in savings.
The presentation showcased how Canada is lacking in the adoption of ground-source heat pumps, and Hardy further explained this by comparing Canada to other countries. “For every one GSHP installed in a Canadian home, that equals six in Austria and the USA, which equals 22 in Sweden.”
Another presentation from the day was held by Gabriella Kalapos, executive director at Clean Air Partnerships. During her presentation, Kalapos discussed the commitments made over the years regarding climate change and how most commitments have not been followed-up. She looked at how more collaboration within the industry could be made as Canada accelerates its net-zero plan. She highlighted that while reducing greenhouse gas in new builds is relatively easy, the challenge is retrofitting existing buildings to be more green.
Attendees of the conference were also able to hear additional presentations on “Successful Commercial Geothermal Project Analysis – Geothermal in Rental Building and Condos” by Jennifer Burstein, VP of Collecdev Developments, “Leveraging Collaboration Between Municipalities and Contractors for Small and Rural Community Climate Action Plans” by Adler Gross, climate change project officer of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and “Residential Decarbonization 2030—How do we motivate the unwilling residential contractor?” by Victor Hyman, executive director of ClimateCare.
The conference also hosted a Town Hall meeting that discussed membership and industry engagement related to the OGA’s vision and how it can continue to grow in geo-exchange. The Town Hall meeting consisted of a question session featuring a panel made up of Jeff Hunter, chair of the OGA board of directors, Luymes, Tim Weber, business development lead at Diverso Energy, and Jim Bolger, owner and president of Waterloo Energy Products.
During the questioning session, Hunter was asked to explain and give more detail on the OGA’s vision for the future. Hunter responded by saying that “Buildings in the future need to be connected geo-thermally. We as an industry have to continue advocating for this change, and we can do this through advocacy, education, industry leadership, and a growth mindset.”
The conference also featured a small tradeshow, which saw several exhibitors, including Belimo, Geosmart Energy, Versa Profiles, First Work Ontario’s Youth Employment Network, EnerTech, Rathco, Eden Energy Equipment, and GPA Inc.