(photo from Gitga'at FB)
This past weekend, the government travelogue took us all to Hartley Bay where the Heat Pump program in the community was in the spotlight, with a mix of geography, culture and energy saving technology all making for the weekend feature.
Hartley Bay is a long way from where most people live and work. The First Nations community at the mouth of the Douglas Channel is 630 kilometres north of Vancouver and 145 kilometres south of Prince Rupert. It is home to the Gitga'at First Nation, part of the Tsimshian peoples.
The community made the decision to leverage funding from the Province’s CleanBC Indigenous Community Heat Pump Incentive to equip each of the 52 homes in the community with an energy-efficient heat pump.
Heat pumps are a good option for heating and cooling homes and buildings here, saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from BC Hydro’s diesel generators that power the community. Hartley Bay features an oceanic climate with chilly winters and mild summers that occasionally – to the delight of all – crank the thermometer into the 30s.
The community’s coastal location means the village gets a lot of rain, and likely more than you’re thinking: an average of 4,500 mm of precipitation falls each year. Heat pumps cope just fine with seasonal differences in temperature and precipitation, keeping homes cozy and comfortable all year long.
The migration to the heat pump system has found fans among many residents of the community, including Gitga'at Elder Lynne Hill, who notes of the benefits both for winter and summer ahead.
“Previously I had an electric furnace. The great advantage of the heat pump is that it has virtually cut my power bill in half. The actual size is less than the electric furnace and took up less room in my basement. I am very excited to look forward to the air conditioning feature when the hot summer days make my house terribly unbearable.”
The energy makeover has also been seen when it comes to larger community facilities, with the government's information piece noting of the success found at the Hartley Bay School, where Principal Cameron Hill notes the new addition has been well received.
“We now have a good, reliable heating system that does not use extensive amounts of power or fossil fuels to provide heat, We are very grateful for the financial support from the B.C. government to have been given this opportunity to not only provide green energy to heat our school, but also to use the savings to spend on other avenues of education.”
The Hartley Bay heat pump program is part of a provincial initiative for Indigenous communities.
The details of the program and more on the province's look at Hartley Bay can be explored here.
More notes out of Victoria can be reviewed through our Legislature Archive page.