FortisBC promotes hybrid heating systems

Hybrid heating promoted

FortisBC has been given approval by the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) for a demand-side management plan aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of customers that use natural gas for space and water heating.

The company plans to spend $695 million on programs intended to lower the use of natural gas, including hybrid heating systems that combine electric heat pumps with high-efficiency natural gas furnaces. FortisBC already offers some rebates to residential customers for things like insulation, windows and doors that improve heat efficiency.

“With this funding, we can support some of the most challenging but impactfull ways to reduce energy use and help transform how customers use energy in their homes and businesses,” Joe Mazza, FortisBC’s vice president of energy supply and resource development, said in a press release.

FortisBC is hoping to reduce GHG emissions in B.C. by 740,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through its plan. According to FortisBC, that’s equivalent to taking 228,000 cars off the road. The lion’s share of these reductions are expected to come from buildings and industry.

A key part of the strategy is offering incentives to customers to adopt hybrid systems that would use electric heat pumps for heating, backed up by high-efficiency natural gas furnaces for cold winters when heat pumps alone might not cut it.

FortisBC is also testing a new kind of heat pump – one that uses natural gas, not electricity -- but which the company says “achieve energy efficiencies of more than 100 per cent, which reduce energy use and meet stringent energy standards while leveraging the strengths of the existing gas system.”

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