Peterborough part of 4-city pilot project to bring hybrid heating to up to 1,000 households

Natural gas meter. Global News File

The Ontario government’s new clean home heating initiative will see as many as 1,000 homes in Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sault Ste. Marie and London retrofitted for what the province says will be cheaper energy costs and reduced emissions.

The province is providing up to $4.5 million for the project that will provide qualified homeowners with incentives of up to $4,500 for the installation of electric heat pumps with smart controls to pair with their existing natural gas furnaces.

“The clean home heating initiative will provide the opportunity for Enbridge clients in the city of Peterborough to reduce their energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions while making the community healthier,” Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith said.

“Switching to hybrid home heating could save homeowners up to $80 every year on energy bills — an annual savings that would increase over time — and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 30 per cent,” stated Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith.

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The heat pump will heat a home when temperatures are moderate and electricity rates are low.

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At colder temperatures or when electricity rates are high, the system will automatically switch to the furnace.

Ian Boland, Peterborough’s watershed senior project manager, called the program critical for the city to its climate change goals of 45 per cent reduction of community greenhouse gases by 2030.

“Our existing housing stock represents 39 per cent of the community’s overall emissions profile.  Alternatives, including hybrid heating systems, are a near-term solution that will help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by that housing stock,” Boland said.

“Introducing dual-source heat pumps in Peterborough homes is an important step to community decarbonization because of the amount of natural gas that can be avoided for space heating through utilization of less carbon-intensive electricity.”

Tom Grochmal, the manager of program design for Enbridge Gas, told a press conference at Morrow Park in Peterborough Thursday that every homeowner that enrols will receive a limited-time incentive to replace their air conditioner with a heat pump.

He says it’s an efficient and economical way to heat your home.

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“You may be wondering why sustainability rhetoric is coming from a natural gas utility,” Grochmal said.

“Let me be clear, addressing climate change is the right thing to do and we at Enbridge are committed to being leaders in the energy transition.”

The program is open until March and homeowners can see if they qualify online.

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