Extreme weather home makeovers increase as summers get hotter in B.C.
VANCOUVER: A new BC Hydro report finds worries over hotter summers and climate change are causing British Columbians to make home improvements to cope.
The report titled, “Extreme weather home makeover: how climate change is changing home improvements,” finds 69 per cent of British Columbians are concerned about how climate change will affect their home’s comfort and are focusing on making renovations to prepare for extreme weather. One of the most in-demand home improvements is installing central air conditioning (AC).1
“With almost 90 per cent of British Columbians directly impacted by last year’s extreme summer temperatures, it is no surprise that AC use is on the rise,” said Kevin Aquino, BC Hydro spokesperson. “BC Hydro data shows AC use has increased by about 50 per cent over the past decade from a quarter of British Columbians using it at home to nearly 40 per cent and new research suggests that figure could be even higher.”2
Last summer 14 per cent of British Columbians said they purchased some type of AC to improve the comfort of their home. This year, a quarter of British Columbians want to install central AC. However, many do not know what the lead time is to prepare, or that heat pumps may be an option to cool. In fact, 16 per cent said they are not aware that a heat pump can be used to cool in the warmer months and therefore are missing out on substantial rebates.
In recent years there has also been a dramatic increase in the addition of inefficient portable AC units in B.C. homes as British Columbians try to manage hotter summers. BC Hydro data3 shows portable AC units are the most widely adopted type of air conditioner in B.C. However, portable units use more energy than a central air conditioning system or a heat pump and use twice as much energy as a window unit.
BC Hydro recommends the following to prepare the home for warmer weather:
- Consider a heat pump: Because BC Hydro generates 98 per cent of its electricity from clean, renewable resources that are mostly powered by water, using a heat pump to heat in the winter and cool in the summer is more environmentally friendly than a system powered by gas. It is also more energy efficient than using multiple portable AC units. BC Hydro offers up to $3,000 in rebates for switching from a fossil fuel based system, which can be combined with provincial and federal rebates for a total savings of up to $11,000 on cost and installation with some municipalities adding additional rebates on top of that. Up to $2,000 in rebates are available for customers switching from electric baseboard heating. Visit powersmart.ca for more information.
- Start preparing today: Get quotes for renovations and cooling equipment early. Currently, there is about a three-month “order-to-installation” wait for a heat pump.
- Research rebates: For other ways to keep your home cool in warmer weather, including insulation upgrades, BC Hydro’s Home Renovation Rebate Program offers several energy savings rebates.
BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468
 Online survey conducted by Majid Khoury of 800 British Columbians between Feb. 22 – 28, 2022 margin of error 3.46%
 BC Hydro residential End Use Survey 2020
 BC Hydro Residential End Use Survey 2020