130+ Residents Attend ENWINs Pilot Program Launch for Electrically Heated Homes

March 31, 2016

Windsor ON: More than 130 residents of the Little River Acres (LRA) community in Windsor attended an information session on March 30 at the WFCU Centre, during which ENWIN Utilities Ltd. (ENWIN) announced the launch of a new pilot program to reduce electricity usage and costs for homes that rely solely on electricity for heating and cooling.

Director of CDM Services, Lawrence Musyj, described ENWIN’s Heat Pump Pilot program as “an outcome of the Little River Acres Community Action plan, completed in May of 2010, which identified heat pumps as an alternative to electric baseboard heating.”

The Heat Pump Pilot is a unique program, designed by ENWIN with the financial support of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), to test the viability of heat pump technology to reduce reliance on both electric baseboard heaters and window A/C units, as a means to condition air within electricity-reliant homes.

As well as providing consumption and cost reductions for homeowners, the program seeks to determine if air-source heat pumps are a viable option to reduce reliance on both electric baseboard heaters and window A/C units, and to gather insight into application, reliability and customer interaction with the technology. It will be implemented in LRA through Honeywell.

With the financial support of the IESO, ENWIN will be able to subsidize 40% of the cost to purchase and install a ductless heat pump system. The homeowner will be responsible for the remaining 60%. It is estimated that qualified residents could save as much as $960.00 a year in electricity, over a 15-20 year period.

With the funding currently available, the utility expects to be able to help approximately 385 applicants, or 35% of eligible homeowners in LRA, to lower their electricity consumption and therefore their bills. ENWIN will offer the Heat Pump pilot on a first-come-first-serve basis in the LRA community.

“Ultimately, we would like to see this program prove its value for implementation on a broader scale, either locally or across Ontario,” said ENWIN’s Manager of CDM Services, ChrisRoutliffe, who designed the Heat Pump Pilot program.

More than 100 LRA homeowners signed up during the meeting for an assessment of their properties and needs, and further information about the program. Mayor Drew Dilkens and Ward 5 Councillor Jo-Anne Gignac were on hand to support the program and the LRA community.

ENWIN Utilities Ltd. (ENWIN) is the licensed electricity distribution company, serving customers in the City of Windsor. ENWIN is also the licensed operator for the water system owned by Windsor Utilities Commission. ENWIN works with Windsor to provide a safe, reliable source of electricity and water for our community.

Little River Acres (LRA) is a unique housing development, originally developed in 1972, under the name of The Villages of Riverside. It represents one of the earliest attempts at zero-lot-line development in Ontario. The zero-lot-line approach takes advantage of limited space on small lots by allowing the house to be situated on one of the side lot lines, and in some instances the rear or front lot line.

When it was created, the community was considered a model of economic housing. However, today, because of limited space between the houses, it is not possible to install gas lines for most of these homes. The result is that 89% of the 1,100 homes in LRA are heated solely with electric baseboard heaters. These residents must rely on electricity for heating, despite soaring electricity costs across the province, because the community design does not allow for natural gas distribution to these houses.