Study: Electric Water Heating is Cost Competitive with Natural Gas

All-electric household hot water options remain comparable or cheaper to operate than natural gas over a 25-year period when accounting for equipment purchases, operating costs and maintenance costs.

That is the conclusion of Residential Hot Water Electrification, a new City Green Solutions case study published by B2E—the Building to Electrification Coalition.

According to the analysis, second only to space heating, water heating uses the most energy in the home. Currently, water heating accounts for about 23 per cent of total household energy usage in British Columbia.

Although more than 98 per cent of the province’s electricity is produced through low-carbon, hydroelectric generation, 66.1 per cent of the province’s homes heat their water with natural gas, a fossil fuel, rather than electricity.

With gas hot water heating typically emitting over 1 tonne of GHG emissions per home annually, gas-fueled water heating is a significant contributor to climate change.

Thankfully, the process of switching from gas tank or tankless type water heating systems to electric water heating systems is one of the easiest, most practical and most cost-effective upgrades a homeowner can do to reduce their household GHG emissions.   

City Green Solutions, which produced the case study, is an enterprising non-profit with a mission to excite, inspire and lead British Columbians in finding innovative home and building energy efficiency solutions.

B2E is Canada’s first building-electrification coalition, based in British Columbia. It works to create opportunities for multiple stakeholders to work collaboratively to identify and address barriers to electrification and take actions that contribute to a meaningful and equitable market shift to decarbonizing the province’s building sector.