Affordability key in reducing our emissions

Re: 'Rick Koechl & Mike Kroecher: CleanBC's pricey, wishy-washy math,' January 24, 2019

Affordability is important as we reduce greenhouse gas emissions but there are at two errors in Rick & Mike's assumptions.

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The first is Rick & Mike assumed electricity would be used in resistive heating like traditional electric base boards. Electricity can be used efficiently to drive compressors for heat pumps. Refrigerators work like heat pumps pulling heat out of the fridge and expelling it from coils on the back using a refrigeration cycle. Heat pumps can upgrade outside air, ground and waste heat sources. Heat pumps typically have a Coefficient of Performance (COP) of 3 or better. A COP of 3 means they produce 3 times as much heat as the electricity they use in the compressor and fans.

Because our power grid is mainly low carbon renewable electricity I cost-effectively heat my home with an air source heat pump. Air source heat pumps work well in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island where most of BC's population live.

The second error is assuming no change to the heating load and thermal insulation of buildings. The BC Step Code and building stock replacement will result in less heating loads for buildings in the future. A renovation we did of our home a few years ago significantly reduced the heating loads and improve the comfort by improving wall and attic insulation and upgrading windows.

Rerunning the math with the assumptions noted above shows clean electricity is an efficient, cost-effective, low carbon solution to heat our homes and businesses in BC.

— Ron Monk, Burnaby

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