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FortisBC piloting ThermoLift and Stone Mountain gas heat pumps in 20 residences

June 6, 2022  By  Anthony Capkun

June 6, 2022 – FortisBC Energy Inc. says it is installing “the next generation of high-efficiency home and water heating equipment” in 20 residential homes across the Lower Mainland and Southern Interior as part of a pilot program.

“We’re excited to be testing gas heat pumps in residential customer homes,” said Danielle Wensink, FortisBC. “These heat pumps will give our customers the ability to upgrade to the next generation of high-efficiency gas equipment, helping them lower their energy use and GHG emissions.”

These units are the first of their kind to be installed in British Columbia, says FortisBC. They have the potential to cut the energy needed for space and water heating by up to 50%, lower emissions, operate in colder winter conditions, and exceed 100% efficiency.

Gas heat pumps work by using energy to capture heat from the outdoor ambient air as an additional energy source, then transferring it indoors for space or hot water heating, explains FortisBC. These units have the potential to replace both natural gas furnaces and hot water systems, using as little as half the natural gas needed today while still promising the same level of comfort for homeowners.

“Improving energy efficiency is one of the ways we can help our customers decarbonize their homes and, by testing these gas heat pumps today, we’re continuing to advance and provide our customers with new options for the future,” Wensink added.

FortisBC is working with two manufacturers for the pilot: ThermoLift Inc. and Stone Mountain Technologies Inc. (SMTI).

As part of pilot program, the 20 homes that have been selected will have either a ThermoLift or Stone Mountain gas heat pump installed. Afterward, FortisBC will work with a third-party consultant who will measure the performance and efficiencies of space and water heating of the units for a year.

Based on those results, the team will determine whether these units meet the criteria for the launch of a “full-scale energy-efficiency rebate program”.

Customers who install either one of these units could save up to 40 gigajoules (GJ) of natural gas a year, which is roughly about six months of annual use by a typical household, says FortisBC. This equates to lowering energy bills by up to almost $500 annually, and reducing household GHG emissions by up to ~2 tonnes of CO2e compared to a standard natural gas furnace and hot water heater.

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