Wondering how to reduce your home heating and cooling bills? Consider your options. The lowest cost options over 15 years are electric cold climate Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) even after including capital costs of installation. Calculate your savings from switching from fossil fuels at CleanAirAlliance.org/calculate2. And because the carbon taxes on all fossil fuels will increase from the current $65 tax per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions to $170 by 2030, your annual savings from switching to electric heat pumps will rise in the future.
Natural gas is as natural as oil and coal. They are all fossil fuels which add to global warming as they release greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide and methane. Emissions globally need to fall by about 7.6% a year between now and 2030 to meet the 1.5C target according to the UN Environment Program, yet last year they fell by only 2.9%.
With more climate-change catastrophes, there will be increased pressure to produce and use clean energy. The IEA (International Energy Agency) stresses NO NEW GAS (HEATING) SHOULD BE INSTALLED AFTER 2025. “Heat pumps are expected to be a better, low-carbon alternative to heating homes in the foreseeable future. The UK’s official climate advisers recommend that all gas (heating) should be banned by 2033 to end the UK’s further contribution to climate change”. That’s 10 years away. Enbridge says of its Hidden Valley gas pipeline “Fifty years of operation is used as an assumption, although the pipeline may be operational beyond fifty years”.
Enbridge has applied to the OEB (Ontario Energy Board) to construct the Hidden Valley Pipeline this summer. The OEB considers many factors including Enbridge’s ER (environmental plan) but nowhere does the plan look at the effect of the fossil gas on the climate.
While gas is advertised as a cheaper alternative to oil and propane, its price fluctuates by as much as 300% (between 2020 and 2023) and needs costly pipeline infrastructure. The Hidden Valley pipeline, to serve only 110 homes, costs $3.5million or $32,000 per home, and that average climbs if fewer homeowners hook up. This capital cost far exceeds installation costs of cold climate air-source heat pumps (Approximately $14,000 after $5,000 Government of Canada rebate). The pipeline will be paid for, Enbridge states, over 40 years by adding a surcharge of 23 cents a cubic metre to new Hidden Valley users, and by a $1.9 million subsidy from all of Enbridge’s Ontario fossil gas users.
Enbridge surveyed the 110 households in 2022. Of the 42% who responded, 37% knew nothing about heat pumps. If not committed to Enbridge Gas please look at CleanAirAlliance.org/heat-pumps-can-save-you-money to see what options might work best for you, whether you have an old or new, oil or gas furnace, or water radiators.
Besides lower cost and environmental impacts, Cold Climate ASHPs’ additional advantages (as compared with fossil systems) are:
- providing heat from minus 30C outside air. (Think of a fridge that can produce cold air and ice in a very hot room)
- providing air conditioning at the touch of a button.
- connection to existing forced air duct systems.
- often quieter than air conditioning units
- significant operating cost savings, because ASHPs have an energy efficiency of approximately 300% versus approximately 95% for modern gas furnaces
- increase the value of your home as gas is gradually phased out.
The federal government’s Canada Greener Homes programs offers grants of up to $5,000 and 10-year interest-free loans to help with capital costs of ASHPs. Operating cost savings 0f ASHPs compared with fossil gas will more than pay for the loan and electricity used.
Let’s go electric.
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