As Canada moves toward decarbonization to reach its net zero goal by 2050, we’re seeing 2023 as a year in which more commercial property owners in Ontario are made aware of carbon-neutral options to replace traditional gas-fired HVAC systems.
The government’s ambitious goal will undoubtedly cause a certain amount of doubt among large building owners. Potentially expensive transitions and adopting new ways of thinking tend to turn people away. Whether we like it or not, gas-fired equipment’s days seem to be numbered. The most prudent approach to decarbonization would be to focus on how our industry can collectively work together to help reduce carbon emissions and protect our environment.
Reducing The Use Of Gas-Fired Equipment
There are millions of fossil fuel-heated units in use across Canada right now. For us, as a country, to reach the government’s 2050 goals, these units need to be phased out and replaced with technology that lowers carbon emissions.
Most of these units are used for indoor space heating, which has prompted the government to set two ambitious targets to cut their carbon emissions:
- By 2025, all fuel-burning technologies for space heating sold in Canada must meet an energy performance of at least 90%
- By 2035, all space heating technologies for sale in Canada must meet an energy performance of more than 100%
These targets will transform how residential and commercial property owners heat and cool their homes. However, traditional fossil fuel boilers, water heaters, and furnaces might still stay on the market in the short term. There are still availability and accessibility barriers to overcome as the replacement technology is not heavily commercialized or widely known in Canada.
With 2025 quickly approaching, HVAC professionals and commercial property owners will need to start investing in education about the benefits of new carbon-free systems. We’re expecting this to begin in 2023.
Reduce Carbon Emissions By Powering Systems With Electricity
Natural gas is still abundantly available and affordable in Canada. However, the government’s mandate to cut carbon emissions means that new technology, such as ground source heating pumps, is designed to run on electricity.
Electricity is currently more expensive than natural gas. It also serves only 20 percent of Canada’s energy needs, which means a significant expansion of our electrical infrastructure will be necessary to meet the government’s carbon-neutral goals. This costly proposition will likely require a marketing campaign to bring the public on board.
Expect messaging about the benefits of electricity over gas to start over the next 12 months.
Adopting More Ground Source Heat Pumps
Ground source heat pumps have been gaining popularity with commercial property owners due to their high-efficiency rates and low running costs. They’re also low-carbon systems perfectly aligned with Canada’s net zero ambitions.
Also known as geothermal heat pumps, ground source heat pumps work in a straightforward way: they transfer heat from the ground to your building. The underground pipes capture this heat, adjust it to your desired temperature, and transport it to your building’s interior spaces.
Ground source heating and cooling systems offer several clear advantages to commercial property managers, including:
- Lower operating costs: In many cases, you save on energy bills because the compressor is the only basic element of the system that requires electricity to operate
- Low carbon heating and cooling: Carbon emissions are minimized as ground source heating systems don’t involve fuels
- Reliable year-round service: Ground heat is usually constant and inexhaustible, delivering even heating and cooling throughout the year with almost no fluctuation
- No external parts: The heat transfer component is kept underground, meaning that it is not subject to wear due to external elements
- Quieter operation: These systems are among the quietest ever designed, paralleling the noise volume of a refrigerator
- Enhanced safety: Ground source systems have no flame, flue, odours, or danger of fire or toxic fumes
- Flexible operation: The systems allow you to heat one zone or room and cool another at the same time
- More storage space: Less space required for HVAC equipment translates into more office, storage, or production space, optimizing your working capital
Naturally, any system upgrade or replacement needs the guidance and expertise of qualified HVAC specialists. These trained professionals will ensure proper equipment installation and distribution of the pipe network that will deliver heat from and back to the ground. Springbank Mechanical Systems can help with that.
Read More: Why Choose Springbank
We’re always on board with new technology to help preserve the environment for future generations. We stay updated with the latest commercial HVAC innovations so property managers like you can prepare for a new carbon-free future with all the benefits and cost savings that come as a result.
Contact us anytime to discuss how Springbank makes commercial HVAC maintenance easier and cost-efficient for your commercial properties.
Gregg Little, Paul DeThomasis, and Hugo Lopes are co-owners of Springbank Mechanical Systems. You can reach them at 905-569-8990 or via email at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.