Expanded heat pump program helps British Columbians save on home-energy costs

Province of British Columbia
By Province of British Columbia
May 14th, 2024

British Columbians are seeing first-hand the costly impacts of more frequent and intense, extreme weather events fuelled by climate change.

Reducing pollution and making life more affordable, while building a strong economy will help ensure a secure, healthy future for everyone.

Steven Guilbeault, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, announced a federal investment up to $103.7 million from Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Fund and the Oil to Heat Pump Affordability (OHPA) program to support climate action in B.C. and help people with low or middle incomes reduce their energy costs.

They were joined by Josie Osborne, B.C.’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, and George Heyman, B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, who announced an investment up to $151 million from the Province of British Columbia toward this initiative.

“More and more British Columbians are ready to switch from fossil fuels to clean energy, while making their homes more efficient and comfortable,” Osborne said. “We are working to make electric heat pumps and efficiency upgrades more affordable for low- and middle-income households across the province, helping them to save on their energy bills and build cleaner, more resilient communities.”

Funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada and Energy and Natural Resources Canada will be used by British Columbia to provide grants to enable residents to switch their home heating systems from oil, propane or natural gas to cleaner heating and cooling options. Funding will also enable building upgrades for income-qualified homeowners and tenants through the CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program, which aims to support the installation of heat pumps to reduce energy bills for low- and middle-income households. Heat pumps also provide cooling in summer, protecting residents against extreme heat and replacing the need for separate air conditioners.

With the support of the OHPA program, income-qualified applicants could receive a rebate of as much as $16,000 to switch to high-efficiency heat pumps in homes currently heated with oil. With the support of the Low Carbon Economy fund, these changes will also apply to homes heated with natural gas and propane. This is an increase in support of approximately 70% from B.C.’s existing rebate program.

Those who are eligible and living in northern B.C. can access up to an additional $3,000 toward the installation of a heat pump. Homes that require an electrical system upgrade can also qualify for a rebate of up to $5,000 to complete the work.

This funding could help income-qualified applicants receive a total of as much as $24,000 to cover the costs of heat-pump installation, including electrical upgrades.

In addition to these increased rebates, successful OHPA applicants who make the switch from oil heating to an electric heat pump will also receive an up-front, one-time payment of $250 from the Government of Canada.

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.

These programs will reduce emissions and build a clean economy by facilitating 16,000 retrofits in low- and middle-income households. This program is estimated to reduce more than 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030. This is approximately the same as removing more than 12,000 passenger vehicles from the road, and will create more than 900 full-time jobs.

At the same time, the programs will improve affordability by improving energy efficiency and lowering monthly utility costs. Households that switch from fossil fuels to electric heat pumps for space heating can see energy savings of as much as 80%.

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. Heat pumps, despite their name, can also act as air conditioners.

Learn More:

About the CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program (former CleanBC Better Homes Income Qualified Program): https://www.betterhomesbc.ca/rebates/income-qualified/

About Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Fund:

About Canada’s Oil to Heat Pump Affordability Program:

About Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan:

Learn more about Canada’s Budget 2024: https://budget.canada.ca/2024/home-accueil-en.html

Categories: General