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VIDEO: Haíɫzaqv Heat Pump Project – Ha’aikila Qnts ‘Waxv:wiusax (Taking Care of Our Land)

Over the last year, Haíɫzaqv’s Heat Pump Working Group has been hard at work replacing diesel furnaces with central air-source heat pumps in Waglisla (Bella Bella). While there is much more work to be done to retrofit the entire housing stock, the intention of this video is to highlight the success of the project to date.

Haíɫzaqv’s Heat Pump Working Group consists of representatives from Heiltsuk’s Capital Projects, Housing, and Climate Departments, Heiltsuk Tribal Council, Tagila Consulting, and Ecotrust Canada. Together, the diverse contributions and team expertise have enabled the project to install 117 heat pumps since October 2020.

Combined with installations completed in 2018, heat pumps are now operating in 154 homes, which is more than a third of all homes in the community. So far, energy consumption, emissions, and costs are down across the board. Each home switching from oil heating is estimated to eliminate at least 5 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions per year. Data from 28 homes show reduced annual oil consumption of nearly 1,700L, which corresponds to $2,500 in household savings every year. An analysis of total home energy cost and consumption will be completed later in 2021, but with heat pumps operating at such high efficiencies, the net annual energy savings are expected to be significant.

This past winter, Heiltsuk’s Housing Manager, who has been in the role for more than five years, reported a significant drop off in calls to service heating systems. The Housing Department used to get five calls a day about heat related issues, but this winter received almost none. Members of the Housing staff are also being trained by the project’s contractor — Coastal Heat Pumps — to complete maintenance and repairs of the systems.

In addition to the heat pump installations, air sealing and draft proofing work is ongoing to improve the air-tightness of homes to further increase their energy performance. This was a primary recommendation from a number of Natural Resources Canada EnerGuide Evaluations.

With momentum behind multiple home energy efficiency initiatives in the community, there is great optimism that Haíɫzaqv’s housing stock will be increasingly safe, comfortable, affordable, and climate resilient.

[Published August 5, 2021]