Electric Heat Rebate – Creston Valley Advance

By Susan Eyre, member of the Creston Climate Action Society

Hello Creston and locals, let’s talk about heat pumps. The federal and provincial governments are currently offering rebates to BC residents for the purchase of electric heat pumps to replace their expensive electric baseboard heaters and methane-emitting natural gas heating systems.

Some of us have already gone through the refund qualification process, so I thought it would be good to pass on our tips to hopefully make it easier.

Why are residents now turning to electric heat pumps, when just a few years ago the BC government was promoting natural gas furnaces as a transitional energy bridge? It turns out that natural gas is about 80% methane, a very potent greenhouse gas that accelerates climate change much faster than carbon dioxide.

To do our part to mitigate climate change, we residents must reduce fossil fuel emissions by 50% by 2030. In the first 10-15 years after emissions are released, heat from trapped methane is 34 times more intense than carbon dioxide emissions.

So super methane is accelerating climate change and weather chaos. By switching to electric heating, residents reduce methane emissions and slow the rate and intensity of climate change.

Most homes burning natural gas for heating, hot water and cooking generate considerable carbon pollution, around 6.3 tons of CO2 every year, about the same as a typical car in Colombia -British. Conversely, a house using only electricity for the same purpose produces only 0.2 tonnes of CO2. British Columbia’s hydroelectricity produces 16 times fewer emissions than natural gas.

Electric heat pumps are an energy efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to natural gas and oil heating systems, electric furnaces and baseboard heaters. They can also provide air conditioning. Most heat pumps produce 97% less greenhouse gas emissions than a high-efficiency natural gas furnace.

In winter, a heat pump transfers heat from the outside air to the inside through a cycle of compression and expansion of a refrigerant. In the summer, it works in reverse and transfers heat from inside your home to the outside, like an air conditioner. Many heat pumps dehumidify and provide healthy airflow, with optional filtration to clean indoor air pollutants, dust, pollen and other allergens.

Our personal effort to reduce our carbon emissions by installing a simple ductless heat pump for the main floor of our house has been very positive. The discount covered half of our expenses. This year, we will be investing in a ductless mini-split heat pump to heat and cool the upper floors. After experiencing the crippling heat dome last summer, we are eagerly awaiting the heat pump technology that will provide us with air conditioning.

Installing a heat pump system can be quite expensive. Fortunately, federal and provincial rebates can be combined to significantly reduce the cost of purchase and installation. To benefit from energy discounts, you have to pay attention to the small details.

Visit betterhomesbc.ca/rebates/cleanbc-better-homes-and-home-renovation-rebate-programs for more information, and be sure to read the entire rebate website to find out how to contact qualified local contractors , the type of systems offered and the best prices for local purchase and deposit fees. Often the company that sells and installs heat pumps will offer professional help in completing reimbursement forms, avoiding frustration and possible loss of reimbursement qualifications. The discount website also offers phone consultations – use these services!

Here are some important tips from experience for reimbursement qualification:

• Find out if there is a qualification or grant deadline to meet

• The heat pump must heat the space that your natural gas furnace or electric baseboard heaters used to heat; a single room will not entitle you to a discount

• Have a written and signed agreement with your installer

• An “energy smart” heat pump designation is required, the CleanBC website listing will provide this information

• Carefully keep all your receipts and a dated expense report, and answer questions about reimbursement very carefully.

Currently, CleanBC, BC Hydro and FortisBC offer rebates of up to $6,000. Federal rebates of up to $5,000 for space heating upgrades may also be available through the Canada Greener Homes Grant. Do your research.

Need help? Get in touch with an energy coach by calling 1-844-881-9790.

I hope sharing our personal experiences of qualifying for heat pump rebates helps you. To get involved, visit Creston Climate Action on Facebook for more information, or contact [email protected] Or visit Creston Climate Transition to record your visions of a fossil fuel-free Creston in 2030.

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