The City of Delta has earmarked more than $267,000 to replace an aging boiler at Fire Hall No. 1 in Ladner with an emerging technology that’s promised to be more energy efficient.
Council recently approved asking FortisBC for an additional grant of $70,000 towards a new gas absorption heat pump for the facility.
The heat pumps are essentially air-source heat pumps, driven not by electricity, but by a heat source such as natural gas, propane, solar-heated water or geothermal-heated water.
Because natural gas is the most common heat source for absorption heat pumps, they are also referred to as gas-fired heat pumps.
Gas absorption heat pumps, like conventional electric heat pumps, transfer heat from outside to inside and vice versa using a refrigeration cycle.
The GAHP uses heat from gas combustion to drive an absorption refrigerant cycle, whereas conventional heat pumps use electricity to drive a vapour compression refrigeration cycle.
A staff report to council notes GAHPs are more efficient than the highest efficiency condensing boilers because they achieve energy efficiencies of up to 145 per cent, by capturing and moving ambient heat without having to produce the heat.
A FortisBC funded prefeasibility assessment completed last year found that Fire Hall No. 1 is a suitable building for the installation of the system.
Following that study, in late 2021, Delta was selected as one of 13 participants to be part of the GAHP Early Adopter program and to receive up to $20,000 in grant funding to complete a more detailed study.
The proposed upgrades have the potential to reduce natural gas consumption by 30 per cent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 14.9 tonnes annually and save an estimated $5,500 annually, the report notes.
The next steps including completing a detailed engineering design and tender package and sign a capital incentive letter with FortisBC.
The report adds that while the additional cost of the GAHP system compared to a conventional boiler replacement is approximately $30,000, the higher cost is expected to be recovered within five-to-six years as a result of natural gas, carbon tax and operation and maintenance savings totalling approximately $5,500 annually.
In addition to FortisBC incentive funding, the project requires capital funding, which could come from allocated funds carried over from prior years and the Climate Action Reserve Fund, the report adds.
Installation of the system is expected to be completed this December.