Pumping Energy Savings

Seamless background of water pipeline


Heating Ontario homes and commercial buildings with natural gas is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Given the high cost of electricity, property owners with electric heating systems are transitioning to cheaper natural gas options instead. If all property-owners with electric heating transitioned to natural gas, the GHG emissions in Ontario would increase significantly.


Air-Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) and Ground-Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) harness heat from the air or ground to provide low-carbon space heating. While these technologies have huge potential, market adoption has been slow due to a lack of real world data in retrofit cases. Without data, building owners lack confidence in heat pump performance, limiting broad adoption. TAF is addressing the data deficit and reducing perceived risk for market stakeholders by demonstrating the opportunities and benefits for heat pump retrofits. We are focusing on electrically heated multi-unit residential buildings, which represent approximately 24% of Ontario’s multi-family housing stock. Facing increasing cost pressures as electricity prices increase, these buildings are an excellent entry point for accelerating heat pump adoption. Conversion from electric resistance heating to heat pumps can reduce heating energy use by 50% or more.


Market Characterization Study: TAF’s Heat Pump Researcher Devon Calder examines advancing the conservation opportunities of air and ground source heat pumps in the Ontario Electrically-heated Multi-unit Residential Building sector – Ontario EMURB Market Characterization Study

Preliminary research: TAF commissioned a team of graduate students from the Masters in Environment and Sustainability program at Western University to complete report – Global Heat Pump Performance Review.

Over the next two years, Pumping Energy Savings will consist of two phases that will generate information, resources, and tools for key stakeholders:

Phase 1: Market characterization study
Phase 2: Feasibility study and assessment of the energy and GHG reduction potential
Phase 3: Develop tools and resources for stakeholders: retrofit guidelines, business case assessment tool, recommendations for conservation programming, and communication materials.
Phase 4: Final project report


This project was made possible through the financial support of the Independent Electricity System Operator, and further financial and in-kind support was provided by Horizon Utilities, Ontario Property Management Group, and Toronto Hydro.

For more information, read our blog series on heat pumps, or contact Devon Calder.