The future is heat pumps
Across BC, The use of fossil gas in buildings accounts for 11% percent (7.0Mt) of British Columbia’s greenhouse gas emissions; in urban centres, such as Vancouver, they represent 54 percent of emissions.
Electrifying our heating and cooling is a key step toward addressing the carbon footprint in our built environment – and heat pumps are the most efficient technology for electrification.
What’s a heat pump?
A heat pump is a device installed outside a home that pulls heat from cooler outdoor air and transfers it indoors. In warmer months, it operates in reverse by pulling heat from indoors to cool the home. Heat pumps are powered by electricity and use refrigerant, a chemical that circulates through the heat pump to absorb, transport and release heat.
What’s the market for heat pumps in Vancouver?
Heat pumps are a major economic opportunity. In 2019, VEC estimated that the total market for green building technologies would surpass $3.3 billion by 2032. Since then, the number has radically increased, buoyed by the passing of Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan, Metro Vancouver’s Buildings Road Map to the Clean Air Plan, and the implementation of buildings-related activities in the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030. Heat pumps are now a critical part of BC’s green buildings economy.
How do we redirect the Vancouver market towards heat pumps?
Together with the BC Building to Electrification Coalition (B2E), Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) has developed a BC Heat Pump Technologies Attraction Strategy that explores opportunities related to heat pump technologies in BC. Along with identifying needs, availability and gaps, the strategy proposes a series of actions to overcome the barriers hampering local and provincial decarbonization goals.
Following the vision outlined in the BC Building Electrification Roadmap and VEC’s Zero Emission Economic Transition Action Plan, the BC Heat Pump Strategy acts as a proof of concept for work on other technologies, while ensuring heat pumps have a strong foundation for success in BC. Ultimately, the strategy aims to improve access for British Columbians to an affordable supply of high-performance heat pumps, which will help to meet building electrification, climate action, and economic development goals.
What’s in the BC Heat Pump Strategy?
The BC Heat Pump Strategy aims to meet the following objectives:
- Identify the availability, needs and gaps of heat pump technologies in BC.
- Identify and understand barriers to addressing these gaps.
- Develop actions and implementation steps to overcome barriers.
While most of BC’s heat pump needs are met by currently available technologies – particularly for single-family homes and new construction – gaps remain in key segments, including lower global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant options for space heating systems, high temperature (>180°F/82°C) air-to-water space heating units, very low-capacity 120V in-room units for low heating demand applications, and in-room units that integrate ventilation.
The strategy proposes to increase the number of available heat pump models and manufacturers in BC to improve awareness and reassure the market that heat pump technology is ready for the challenge of electrifying BC’s building stock.
Eleena Marley, Chief Executive Officer, Vancouver Economic Commission
“VEC is pleased to release the BC Heat Pump Technology Attraction Strategy in support of the City of Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan and Province of British Columbia’s CleanBC Plan. Supply chain issues are one of the most difficult challenges facing Vancouver businesses today, and this is especially the case for those working in construction. We believe that this strategy will provide a framework to move towards making it easier for Vancouver businesses to get access to the equipment they need while ultimately helping to create safer, cleaner, more resilient homes for all Vancouver residents.”
Robyn Wark, Manager, Advanced Demand Side Management, BC Hydro
“Heat pumps are a clean and efficient way to heat and cool homes and businesses in B.C. where 98 per cent of the electricity BC Hydro generates comes from clean or renewable resources that are mostly powered by water. The BC Heat Pump Technology Attraction Strategy is an important resource that will help ensure we attract the best possible heat pump technology to B.C., and we look forward to working with the VEC and other partners to implement it.”
To read the BC Heat Pump Attraction Strategy, visit vancouvereconomic.com/programs/bc-heat-pump-strategy.