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FortisBC first in Canada to offer commercial rebate for gas absorption heat pumps

August 4, 2022  By  Anthony Capkun

FortisBC says its Innovative Technologies team—left to right: Jim Kobialko, Marysol Escamilla, Mila Barbour, Rav Deol—was instrumental in testing Robur gas absorption heat pumps, and helped install the units at seven commercial sites to see how well they performed in real-world settings. Photo: FortisBC.

August 4, 2022 – FortisBC says it is introducing the first commercial prescriptive rebate offer in Canada for “innovative gas absorption heat pumps [GAHPs], helping building owners adopt this next generation of high-efficiency technology”.

“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, FortisBC.

Scroll further down for rebate details.

Tested in BC, these GAHPs reduced energy use by up to 35% and have the potential to halve GHG emissions, says FortisBC, adding these units will meet BC’s commitment to have all new space and water heating equipment sold in the province be at least 100% efficient by 2030.

Diagram shows how a gas heat pump can achieve efficiencies of more than 100%. Source: FortisBC.

Gas absorption heat pumps use energy to capture heat from the outdoor ambient air as an additional energy source, then transfer it indoors to heat a building or water, and/or be used for ventilation, explains FortisBC. Because the energy output is greater than the energy input, the units can achieve efficiencies greater than 100%.


FortisBC started testing GAHPs at the end of 2019 as part of a pilot program to better understand how these units would operate in real-world settings. The units selected for testing were from Italy-based Robur.

Sites that installed a GAHP system could achieve up to 35% in energy savings and a GHG emissions reduction of up to 50% as compared to standard-efficiency (market baseline) natural gas boilers.

These heat pumps range in price, and the units themselves can range between $15,000 to $20,000, says FortisBC, adding that factors such as installation, piping and insulation will impact the total cost—depending on the size and scope of the project.

“This is another step in a new era of technologies that will help improve building and system efficiencies, but not the last one,” Wensink added. “We’re looking forward to finding new ways and technologies to support our customers in achieving significant emissions reductions.”


To help you determine whether a gas absorption heat pump system is a fit for your building or facility—and to reduce the cost of installation—FortisBC’s rebate program offers both feasibility study funding and product rebates.

• Feasibility study – FortisBC can provide up to $20,000 in funding to help with the cost of having a detailed engineering analysis performed. You’ll need to work with your engineering consultant to submit a feasibility study proposal to FortisBC to apply for this funding.

• Product rebates – Rebates of up to $35,000 are available for installing gas absorption heat pumps in commercial, multi-unit residential or institutional buildings. Get bonus rebates for creating a comprehensive system combined with smart controls and a high-efficiency boiler and/or water heater to optimize performance and efficiency. FortisBC offers additional rebates for upgrading your boiler or water heater.

FortisBC says it is currently conducting similar tests on residential gas heat pumps in homes across the province to measure their efficiencies and performance.

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