OCAA Releases Study on Ground Source Heat Pumps

Last week, the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA) released its latest report on the role of heat pumps in saving energy, improving IAQ and combatting climate change, with this report focused on ground source heat pumps (GSHPs).  

Authored by Heather McDiarmid, PhD, the report models the lifetime savings and annual greenhouse gas reductions for Ontario single family homes that choose heat pumps over conventional gas-based equipment when their heating system is at the end of its life. The analysis focused on GSHPs with a horizontal closed loop paired with an electric resistance water heater. Modeled outcomes for homes that choose other heat pump systems such as air source heat pumps (ASHPs) and ground source heat pumps with vertical loops are also provided (see the August 2022 analysis of ASHPs for Ontario’s gas heated homes on the Ontario Clean Air Alliance’s website). 

According to the report, “electric heat pump systems are the most cost-effective and climate-aligned options available for space and water heating in Ontario residential homes. Compared to conventional gas system, a rural Southern Ontario homeowner that chooses an ASHP and HPWH over a conventional gas system will save $9,785 over its 15-year lifespan. If they instead choose a horizontal loop GSHP paired with an EWH, they will save $24,193 over its 20-year lifespan.  As electric heat pumps gain market share, their technologies improve, and governments make stronger investments in climate policies, these savings could increase. The carbon emissions savings are impressive, with a 35% reduction in emissions for ASHP/HPWHs and 45% reduction for GSHP/EWHs now and a 100% reduction once our electrical grid is net zero emission. 

OCAA’s next report will look at the effects of electrifying residential heat pumps on peak electricity demand in winter as well as the technologies and measures available to reduce that peak. 

Click here for the report!

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