Hybrid Gas / Electric Home Heating System
It is safe to say that the last thing on most people’s minds during the hot summer months is to optimize their home heating systems. But if you did not know, this is the right time to do the math and check out the stats concerning your home heating system. Ideally, during these hot summer months, researchers from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) created their own statistics.
Of course, they did that after spending a cold winter measuring comfort levels and energy use in test homes. They used hybrid heating to measure comfort levels and energy use. Hybrid heating is a combination of an electric air source heat pump and a natural gas furnace.
Although all these were done during an extremely cold season, researchers felt that it was worth it. That is because CanmetENERGY-Ottawa researchers realized that one way to save energy is to use hybrid heating. Furthermore, hybrid heating greatly reduces GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions not to mention building the resilience of Canada to changing energy prices as well as a changing climate.
According to Jeremy Sager, a research engineer, their role is to recognize the potential and the opportunity. Jeremy focuses on the residential sector and he has massive experience in heating systems. He says that they have carried out comprehensive research on air-source heat pumps for several years. This research led them to start thinking about the possibility of homes stopping the use of air conditioners and switching to heat pumps.
Jeremy wonders that if your air conditioner starts to age and you need to replace it, what if, instead of replacing it with another air conditioner, you switched to a heat pump? That is because the heat pump saves energy without sacrificing heating.
Save Energy by Making the Switch
To determine whether hybrid heating systems save energy, Jeremy and Co. monitored three model homes in a new housing development east of Ottawa. These model homes had hybrid heating systems. The early findings that Jeremy and his colleagues gathered were very much encouraging. They showed that energy savings were substantial.
Over the entire heating season, the group realized that GHG emissions were reduced by 30% for the hybrid system equipped with smart switching controls versus the natural gas furnace. According to Jeremy, there was even one instance where CO2 emissions reduced were by 7.58 kilograms. During this period, the heat pump ran from midnight to 6 p.m.
Space Heating is Canada’s Biggest Energy End-Use
Space heating accounts for over 60% of the energy consumption in the average Canadian home. Needless to say, energy savings in Toronto, Ontario is incredibly important. Other factors that make energy savings particularly significant are, one; space heating is Canada’s single biggest energy end-use and, two; it is the second-largest GHG emission contributor in the country.
Hybrid heating is highly recommended because it reduces both GHG emissions and energy consumption. It does that by relying on the heat pump during off-peak times and when the outdoor temperatures are moderate. It is cheaper to heat with a heat pump when these two factors are met. During peak times and when the temperatures are cold, hybrid heating switches to a natural gas furnace.
Making Smart Controls Save Energy the Smart Way
To achieve this, you will need Wi-Fi-enabled smart switching controls. These smart switching controls automatically send a signal to the hybrid heating system. Once the system receives the signal, it switches to the heat pump or the furnace, depending on the mode of operation that is the least expensive at the time.
What’s more, the smart system relies on several factors to perform effectively. These are:
- Outdoor air temperatures
- Natural gas and electricity prices
- Time of use
- Performance of the heat pump
- Performance of the natural gas furnace
Homeowners living in Toronto are encouraged to switch to hybrid home heating systems. Designed to provide efficient space heating and space cooling, these systems are the real deal when it comes to saving energy. Furthermore, you can retrofit and use them with any fossil fuel furnace or a combination system powered by oil, propane, or natural gas.
How Hybrid Heating Saves the Environment and Economy
In Canada, 5.1 million homes, which account for 35% of homes in the country, are currently heated with a natural gas furnace in areas with higher-cost electricity and low-cost natural gas. Well, one of these areas is Ontario. And, that being said, homeowners in Toronto are advised to start using hybrid systems since they offer a cost-effective way to reduce GHG emissions.
NRCan has done a lot, to say the least. That is why it comes as no surprise that Better Builder magazine recognized their contributions to the implementation of gas hybrid systems not just in Ontario but Canada as a whole. According to the magazine, a carbon tax is not sufficient enough to stop people from relying on natural gas furnaces as the primary source of heat.
That is where hybrid heating systems come into play. It incorporates an electric air source heat pump so it can minimize reliance on natural gas for space heating. In so doing, hybrid systems offer environmental benefits as well as improve economic savings. It is worth noting that the operating cost of a hybrid system is equal to that of a natural gas furnace heating system in Toronto and other areas in Ontario.
Toronto homeowners looking to replace their aging air conditioners should consider switching to an electric air source heat pump designed to provide efficient space heating and space cooling.
Hybrid heating systems may not be new, but they are still emerging on the market. They are becoming more widely available so you can easily get access to them. Ideally, CanmetENERGY and NRCan’s Office of Energy Efficiency are starting to collaborate with manufacturers of controls, thermostats, and equipment to enhance market uptake. This, in turn, optimizes the performance of hybrid heating systems.
The benefits of hybrid heat HVAC systems are numerous. Some, such as enhanced heating efficiency, reduced carbon footprint, and improved savings are already explained in this post. Besides, hybrid heating systems offer unrivaled comfort throughout the year. They are helpful during the winter, plus, in the summer, you can use them as a standard central A/C unit to cool down your home in Toronto, Ontario.
These HVAC systems are extremely easy to operate. For instance, when the weather is hot, all you need to do is reverse the operation of the heat pump so the cool air can circulate throughout your home. In a nutshell, a hybrid heating system offers affordable heating as well as cooling in Toronto homes throughout the year.
Toronto homeowners looking for a cost-effective alternative for heating sources should go for a hybrid heating system. This dual-fuel system makes life incredibly easier by letting you choose between installing a gas furnace and a heat pump. It is crucial to note that the heat pump of this system is electric-powered and its furnace uses natural gas, oil, or propane to operate.
Moreover, adequate research has been done on hybrid heating systems. In other words, it has been proven to work as imagined. This also brings us to the analysis and data CanmetENERGY team collected at their site last winter. The team plans to include the analysis and data in a report of use to designers, manufacturers, utilities, policy-makers, and the housing industry.