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More households saving money with expanded heat-pump program

July 3, 2024 at 1:01 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

B.C.’s expanded heat-pump program is now taking applications, helping more households stay cool in the summer, warm in the winter and saving up to $24,000 when making the switch.

“We’ve seen the benefits of heat pumps – both for the environment and in terms of long-term household energy savings,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “By expanding this program and increasing rebate amounts, more British Columbians can now get a heat pump at a significantly reduced cost that fits into their family budget, with some households qualifying for heat pumps at zero cost. This program is helping more people and families save money, increase the comfort and safety of their homes, and build cleaner communities.”

The CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program is open and is offering as much as $16,000 in rebates for heat-pump upgrades to people in British Columbia with the program increasing the available rebate values for heat-pump upgrades and adding an additional income tier for middle-income homes.

This means through this expanded program many families can switch to a free heat pump without needing to pay up front. Instead, applicants register for the program to verify their eligibility and rebate amount, then contractors will deduct rebates from their final invoice.

“If you have ever thought about switching to a heat pump to reduce home energy costs, cool your home in summer and help create a cleaner B.C. too, now is the time,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “By expanding this program, we will help thousands more people and families make the switch and feel the multiple benefits heat pumps bring.”

Through the expanded program, a family of four with two adults and two children making $185,620 or less on their combined pre-tax annual income is eligible for a rebate of as much as $10,500 when they switch to a heat pump. Previously, the income threshold for a family of four was $114,647.

The average heat-pump installation costs between $8,000 and $19,000, depending on the equipment type and heating load.

For a family of four making less than $87,350 annually, rebate amounts for a heat pump have been increased to $16,000 up from $9,500. Additional rebates are also now available for electrical-service upgrades and for people living in northern B.C. communities, meaning some families could receive as much as $24,000 in rebates when switching to a heat pump.

The expanded CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program is a result of $151-million investment from the Province and a federal investment of $103.7 million from Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Fund and the Oil to Heat Pump Affordability (OHPA) program.

Heat pumps are a proven technology in Canada, capable of providing year-round comfort control for a home by heating it in winter, cooling it in summer and, in some cases, heating water. Powered by electricity, a heat pump combines a heating system and an air conditioner. In winter, a heat pump transfers heat from the outside air to the indoors through a cycle of compression and expansion of a refrigerant. In summer, it operates in reverse and transfers heat from inside a home to the outdoors, as an air conditioner does.

Along with increased rebates to install heat pumps, the CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program also provides funding for home upgrades, such as the installation of energy-efficient windows and doors, insulation and ventilation.

Quick Facts:

  • The number of households in B.C. with heat pumps has increased by approximately 80% since 2017, from an estimated 142,000 to 254,000.
  • Approximately 13% of B.C. households currently use a heat pump.
  • It is estimated there are 28,000 homes in British Columbia heated with oil, which typically incur the highest heating costs.
  • Households that switch from fossil fuels to electric heat pumps for space heating can see energy savings of as much as 80%.
  • An additional rebate top-up of up to $3,000 is available for people living in northern B.C. who are switching from natural gas, propane or oil space heating to an electric heat pump.

Learn More:

To apply for the CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program and verify eligibility, visit: https://www.betterhomesbc.ca/rebates/energy-savings-program/

To use a heat-pump cost calculator to estimate savings on specific home situations, visit: https://www.bchydro.com/powersmart/residential/tools-and-calculators/heat-pump-cost-calculator.html

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