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TitleCold-climate air source heat pumps: assessing cost-effectiveness, energy savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions in Canadian homes
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorFerguson, A; Sager, J
Source 2022, 36 pages Open Access logo Open Access
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Mediadigital; on-line
File formatpdf
SubjectsScience and Technology; Economics and Industry; energy conservation; Buildings; Housing; Alternative energy; Energy efficiency; Energy technology; Heating; Costs
Illustrationsplots; time series; tables; bar graphs
ProgramCanmetENERGY - Ottawa Buildings and Renewables Group - Housing and Buildings
ProgramCanmetENERGY - Ottawa Buildings and Renewables Group - Alternative Energy Laboratory
Released2022 03 08
In this report, CanmetENERGY examined the cost-effectiveness of new cold-climate air-source heat pump (CC-ASHP) technology in Canadian homes. This study focused on comparing the energy costs of CC-ASHPs relative to conventional electric, gas and oil furnaces. CanmetENERGY researchers considered the integration of CC-ASHP technology in four different types of Canadian homes, ranging from pre-1980 construction to Net-Zero-Energy Ready levels of performance.
Results from this study showed that CC-ASHPs were more efficient and cheaper to operate than electric resistance or oil furnaces. Homeowners choosing CC-ASHP systems instead of electric resistance heating systems can expect to save $700-1900 each year on utility costs, while homeowners choosing CC-ASHP systems over oil furnaces can expect to save between $1000 and $3500 annually (depending on region and home performance level).
Utility bill savings relative to natural gas furnaces are smaller - ranging from $50-150 in most parts of Canada, but higher in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. In regions west of Quebec, the largest share of these savings come from fixed charges associated with the natural gas connection to the home. Homeowners that replace gas furnaces with CC-ASHP equipment but elect to retain a gas connection for use in other appliances may see an increase in their utility bills.
This study also examined the potential for gas-hybrid systems, which can combine CC-ASHP technology with conventional gas furnaces. Smart controls can be implemented, which choose from the lowest-cost heating source depending on the climate, building loads and energy prices. In these scenarios, the hybrid technology costs less to operate than the gas-furnace and delivers a 15-35 % reduction in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This report addresses the need for an understanding of energy savings, utility bill savings and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reductions that could be expected from the installation of a cold climate air source heat pump (CC-ASHP) or hybrid heat pump (gas furnace + heat pump) when compared to conventional home heating systems in a variety of different types of homes for different locations in Canada.
The study accomplishes this by using four different home archetypes ranging in levels of performance from pre-1980's construction to the latest net zero energy ready home. Load calculations are made for these homes using NRCan's Hot2000 software. Heat pump and other home heating system performance data was gathered and used to meet the loads for the different archetype homes. Based on the energy used by each home heating systems to meet the loads, utility bills, annual energy use and GHG emissions were computed.
The report will be of interest to homeowners, mechanical systems designers, energy service organisations, manufacturers and distributors as it improves awareness of the benefits of using CC-ASHP and hybrid system technologies in Canadian homes.

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