Heating Electrification: Policies to Drive Ground-Source Heat Pump Adoption
Ground-source heat pumps (GSHPs) are typically the most efficient form of heating and cooling for buildings. For every unit of electricity a GSHP system consumes, it produces roughly 3-4 units of equivalent heat (or cooling), thanks to the solar energy naturally stored underground.
Because of these efficiencies, GSHPs can provide significant cost savings in the effort to decarbonize Canada’s building sector. In cold climates in particular, GSHPs can greatly minimize winter peak demand – one of the greatest challenges associated with electrification in Canada. In the first phase of this study, we found such savings could reduce the need for large-scale expansion of Canada’s electricity grid, which would more than offset their higher upfront costs. In fact, we found that a reasonably ambitious adoption rate of GSHPs could save Canadians between $49 and $148 billion relative to electrification through air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) alone, which comes down to about $40,000 in savings per installed GSHP system.