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Province announces new heat pump rebate for northern B.C. homeowners

The pumps show promise as an alternative to air conditioning but may be limited in colder climates
Bruce Ralston, B.C.’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation (right), talks heat pumps with Deon Lane (centre), an instructor at VIU’s refrigeration air-conditioning mechanic shop located in the university’s Cowichan Trades Centre, and student Taylor Bacon. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

The provincial government has launched a new heat pump incentive for northern residents as part of a broader effort to create more climate-friendly infrastructure.

The incentive can help British Columbians anywhere in the province save $300 on their purchases of a heat pump, while northern homeowners can save $3,000.

Heat pumps are an alternative to regular heating and air-conditioning systems. Instead of pumping in warmer or cooler air, heat pumps simply move hot air in or out of a room depending on the temperature.

When warming a building, heat pumps take hot air from outside (even when it is cold) and pressurize to increase the temperature more, before pushing the warmer air into the room. When cooling, this process works in reverse.

Heat pumps are powered by hydro energy and are not reliant on fossil fuels. As the climate crisis worsens and its effects become increasingly difficult to handle, heat pumps offer a potential remedy that does not exacerbate the problem.

While heat pumps do show some promise, their reliability in extreme cold has not yet been proven.

In a statement, Finance Minister Selina Robinson called the rebate versatile.

“There are heat pump options that will work for every part of the province.”