Low-income homeowners in Nova Scotia are eligible to receive a free heat pump through a $140 million provincial outlay announced today, and middle-income homeowners are eligible for financial assistance to install a heat pump.
For purposes of the program, “low income” is defined as a two-person household making less than about $50,000 annually, said Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables. And “middle income” includes those two-person households making up to about $66,000.
If fully used, the funding will help about 13,500 low-income households and about 30,000 middle-income households.
The program is administered by Efficiency Nova Scotia, and applications are open now, here.
About half of all houses in Nova Scotia are heated by oil, said Rushton. One goal of the Climate Change Action Plan announced last week is to eventually eliminate the use of oil for heating entirely. But while homes with heat pumps might continue to sometimes burn oil, especially when the outdoor temperature is 20 degrees below 0 Celsius, they can make a big reduction in heating costs.
Heat pumps are powered by electricity. They take heat out of the outside air and transfer it into the house. (The government of Canada has published a short primer on heat pumps here.)
The money announced today includes $10 million repurposed in the current year’s budget, and then $43.3 million over each of the next three years.
The federal government will announce details of a $300 million program for similar climate change strategies next week, and the money Rushton announced today will complement whatever money comes into Nova Scotia through that program.
Heat pumps are horribly named. Not only do they heat homes, they also cool them efficiently during increasingly frequent heatwaves, brought on by global heating.