Canada as a NetZeroPlus nation

24 Nov 2016

An industry sector will start to market itself as a major contributor to Canada’s energy and environmental challenge.

The average household in Canada consumes 30,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy each year, according to government data, with the vast majority needed for temperature applications of space heating, water heating and air conditioning.

A NetZeroPlus heat pump produces twice as much renewable energy as the whole house consumes for all end uses, surpassing the definition for ‘net zero energy’ and classifying the building as ‘zero emission’ if the power is generated from carbon-free sources.

“The heat pump industry has never quantified the renewable energy that we produce from the ground,” says Bill Eggertson, Executive Director of the Canadian Chapter of the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA).  “With more than 150,000 systems across Canada, that makes us one of the largest producers of renewable energy in the country.”

An average heat pump produces 25,600 kWh of heating and cooling energy, but it requires 7,800 kWh of electricity to operate.  When added to the 4,900 kWh used for appliances and lighting, the building’s total annual consumption of energy is 12,700 kWh, but it produces 25,600 kWh ... well above the definition for net zero.

The industry has suffered from marketing confusion by using terms such as geothermal, earth energy, GeoExchangeTM or ground source, and IGSHPA Canada decided to promote its energy and environmental assets, not its technology.  The initiative will allow the industry to work with other stakeholders to boost a building’s energy performance beyond NetZeroPlus by increasing efficiency in all areas.

“This marketing focus will engender more co-operation with low-carbon power generators, to complement Canada’s climate change plan that was filed in Marrakesh,” says Eggertson.  “For example, the solar industry can install PV panels to generate 12,700 kWh a year, rather than 30,500 kWh, and that will accelerate the transition to zero-energy buildings while enhancing all the benefits from a NetZeroPlus heat pump.”

Tools to explain Canada’s energy options, including a 3-minute video to illustrate the vision of transitioning Canada into a NetZeroPlus nation, are posted at