June 3, 2020, 9:00 AM EDT
Moving forward with virtual site assessments keep FortisBC pilot projects on
track during pandemic
SURREY, BC, June 3, 2020
Video calling aids effort to test natural gas appliances that show promise in
meeting ambitious climate action targets
SURREY, BC, June 3, 2020 /CNW/ – Going virtual has helped FortisBC continue to
advance its plans to test a new ultra-efficient natural gas heat pump, the
first of its kind in B.C., while respecting physical distancing measures. With
the help of video calls via customer cell phone, FortisBC staff are able to
tour potential pilot sites without ever having to enter the property.
FortisBC is in the process of identifying six residential and four small
commercial properties to test a promising natural gas heat pump unit from
ThermoLift , a North American heat pump manufacturer. These heat pumps can
heat and cool the home as well as heat water, meaning they can function as a
furnace, water heater and air conditioner. In lab environments, the units were
over 100 per cent efficient, lowered energy costs by 30 to 50 per cent for
space and water heating and worked even when outdoor temperatures dropped to
-25 degrees Celsius. If they perform as well in real-world settings, they will
meet the federal government’s goal, 15 years ahead of schedule, of having all
space and water heating appliances over 100 per cent efficient, as outlined in
the Pan Canadian Framework .
FortisBC launched its search for suitable test properties in March and began
assessing early applicants with a plan to conduct in-person site assessments
but suspended work mid-month in response to COVID-19. Using Google Street view
as well as photos sent in by potential participants of their existing space
heating and hot water systems, home assessments were able to restart. With the
help of interested property owners, FortisBC has completed 18 virtual home
assessments over video calling so far and identified the top residential
candidates to move forward in the next stage of the pilot program.
Applications are still open for small commercial properties and interested
property owners can learn more about the program and have until Friday, July
31 to apply.
“Our team continually works to identify the next generation of high-efficiency
technologies to help British Columbia meet climate action goals,” said Jim
Kobialko, manager of innovative technologies and projects. “The sooner we
complete the pilot, the sooner we can prove the technology, quantify energy
savings and provide incentives for our customers. By thinking a little outside
the box, we’ve been able to keep moving forward.”
FortisBC expects to install and begin testing the units later this year and
early in 2021. In exchange for the heat pumps, participating property owners
will allow the unit to be monitored and provide regular feedback for one year.
This information will help FortisBC better understand how these units operate
on a day-to-day basis in a real world setting and determine if they meet the
requirements for a full-scale energy efficiency rebate program.
Testing innovative technologies is one of the ways FortisBC is advancing
energy efficiency in B.C. and working toward its 30BY30 target of reducing its
customers’ greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by the year 2030. Since
2009, FortisBC has invested $12 million into developing and piloting new
technologies and plans to invest an additional $10 million over the next five
years. FortisBC has identified and evaluated several technologies and among
those, 19 became full-scale rebate programs .
FortisBC also looks for potential pilot participants for a range of
technologies on an ongoing basis. Participants are selected based on the
timing of their application and whether their home or business meets
For more information on FortisBC’s pilot programs visit fortisbc.com/letsgo.
FortisBC Energy Inc. is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and
reliable energy, including natural gas, propane and thermal energy solutions.
FortisBC Energy Inc. employs more than 1,800 British Columbians and serves
approximately 1,008,400 customers in 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC Energy
Inc. owns and operates approximately 49,000 kilometres of natural gas
transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Energy Inc. is a subsidiary
of Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas
utility industry. FortisBC uses the FortisBC name and logo under license from
Fortis Inc. For further information visit www.fortisinc.com .
Cision View original content:
MEDIA CONTACTS: Lauren Lea, Corporate Communications Specialist, FortisBC,
Phone: 604-312-8158, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, fortisbc.com @fortisBC,
24-hour media line: 1-855-322-6397; Paul Schwartz, Director, ThermoLift,
Phone: 631-779-1370, Email: email@example.com, www.tm-lift.com
For further information: MEDIA CONTACTS: Lauren Lea, Corporate Communications
Specialist, FortisBC, Phone: 604-312-8158, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
fortisbc.com @fortisBC, 24-hour media line: 1-855-322-6397; Paul Schwartz,
Director, ThermoLift, Phone: 631-779-1370, Email: email@example.com,
ST: British Columbia
NI: OIL UTI