In 2010 Island Futures initiated a bulk purchase arrangement whereby Gabriolans can acquire heat pumps at a discount off retail price in return for a $200 donation that goes towards projects and initiatives that benefit the community.
Replacing baseboard heaters with a heat pump has the potential to save the average Gabriola homeowner who heats (only) with electricity an estimated 1100 kWh or around $1200 per year.
As of August 2019, over 700 heat pumps have been installed under this social enterprise. Donations have gone towards various sustainability oriented endeavours, such as Sustainable Gabriola meetings and forums, the 3-year pilot project which launched Gertie (the community bus), a thermal imaging camera and two Kill-a-Watt meters for the library, and the organizational work that went to getting three new co-ops off the ground – empowergabriola.ca, investingabriola.ca, and cooperategabriola.ca.
This popular program is now being run by EmPower Gabriola, a co-op established in 2018 to help Gabriolans become more energy efficient.
For more information to do with heat pumps, including ordering, operating, and servicing, please visit empowergabriola.ca.
George and Kit Santo (above) purchased Heat Pump # 400 in 2016