Electrification of home heating in Ontario with the air-source heat pump
Home heating is the primary energy end-use in Ontario homes. Consequently, it is also the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the residential sector, particularly because most homes in Ontario use fossil fuels to generate heat. The objective of this thesis is to investigate whether the air-source heat pump is a viable technology to allow the electrification of home heating in Ontario. At stake is considerable potential for energy conservation, reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and cost savings on home heating bills. Chapter two presents a new system-dynamics-based method for predicting homeowners’ future adoption of heat pumps. Exploring two facets of the development of heat pump technology–low temperature operating limit and increasing coefficient of performance–we predict the extent of future adoption, and find little change is likely by 2025. The main mechanism affecting adoption is the change in operating cost due to technological advancements; however, the method applied in this research accommodates future work that includes other driving forces of adoption. Chapter three examines the performance potentials for three different types of air-source heat pump: single-stage, variable-speed centrally ducted, and variable-speed ductless heat pumps. The last, and most expensive of these three types, realizes the greatest reductions in energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and heating costs. Chapter four more closely examines the effects of several time-of-use pricing rate plans on heat pump use in cities in direct competition with natural gas forced-air heating. Homeowners could replace ageing central air conditioning units with single-stage heat pumps at an added cost of approximately $1000. Policymakers can choose rate plan price policies to significantly improve the economic feasibility of running a low-cost, low-performance heat pump, making widespread adoption more likely. Such policies could more than halve energy and greenhouse gas emissions, while saving homeowners hundreds of dollars per year. Heat pump technology can benefit Ontario homeowners, and society at large, by providing a cost savings to the former and a reduction of energy use and greenhouse emissions for the latter.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/26162
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