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The Secret to True Comfort

Natural gas is able to deliver comfort better: efficiently, consistently, economically and collaboratively. By looking at the way homes can be built, taking advantage of diverse energy options and working together, we can make a real difference for homeowners, families and our province as a whole.

Say you’re visiting someone’s home for the first time – a friend or relative. They’ve never had you stay over before, so they give you a tour of the house.

You walk into the living room. It’s very nice, feels comfortable, maybe the vibe is like this:

Then they show the guest bedroom, and THAT room feels more like this:

And you wonder, if maybe instead of a walk-in closet… they actually put in a walk-in refrigerator.

Today we’re going to learn why that happens in some homes, why it doesn’t happen with centrally heated homes, and why it definitely doesn’t happen with natural gas. We’re going to introduce you to a kind of comfort that feels different.

Natural gas is all around us. It heats homes and businesses. Many families in New Brunswick have come to enjoy the affordability and convenience of natural gas. The heat is instant. The temperature control is precise.

Throughout the province, natural gas is in buildings and providing energy in many places. Close to half-a-million New Brunswickers benefit directly or indirectly.

We are in all the public schools and hospitals in Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton.

We are in the Université de Moncton. We are in St. Thomas University and we are in the University of New Brunswick, in both Saint John and in Fredericton.

We are even in the Legislative Assembly. So, you can count on natural gas to keep our MLAs comfortable, even when the debates become heated.

To give you an idea of how big a role natural gas plays in New Brunswick today, according to NB Power’s annual report, our province consumed 13 million Megawatt hours of electricity in 2017.

In that same year, we consumed 43 million Gigajoules of natural gas.

The way we measure natural gas is different from the way we measure electricity. One gigajoule of natural gas is equivalent to 277 killowatt hours of electricity. So, if we did the math, 43 million GJ is equal to 11.9 million MWh.

Natural gas consumption in New Brunswick, is just slightly lower than electricity. Or, as we would see it, almost even. Either way, it gives you a sense of just how far natural gas has come since it was first introduced in the province in 1999, and how important of an energy source it is in New Brunswick today.

We bring comfort to customers and their homes. That’s what matters to the people and communities we serve. It just so happens that natural gas is able to deliver comfort better.

It’s able to do it efficiently.

It’s able to do it consistently.

It’s able to do it economically.

And it’s able to do it collaboratively – working well with other solutions to create a better and cleaner energy future.

Natural gas is about enjoying true comfort. To understand what that means, let’s start at the place where comfort matters most – at home.

True comfort is a warmth and coziness that’s unlike anything else. It fills your whole home. People who have natural gas will often say that their homes feel cozier. “Cozier” is more than just a feeling – there’s a science to coziness. And it has everything to do with how natural gas brings warmth to your home in a way that other types of heat don’t.

The majority of homes in New Brunswick are heated with electric baseboards. While they are relatively inexpensive to purchase and install, your comfort pays the price over the long-term. Electric baseboards don’t fill your whole home with warmth, they just heat one area. And electricity is expensive to generate and distribute to end users.  In order to try to save a little on your energy bill, you heat some rooms, and turn others into cold rooms.

Remember those friends you visited? That’s what’s happening in their house.

That’s not true comfort. That’s true compromise.

One answer to addressing the limitations on electric baseboards has been to promote electric heat pumps. Heat pumps draw heat from the outside air. On average, the temperature of the air at the register inside your home is about 33 degrees Celsius. That’s if the outside temperature is 2 degrees Celsius.

As we know, here in New Brunswick, our winters aren’t quite that tropical. Let’s say the outside temperature decreases to -7 degrees Celsius.

Then the temperature inside at the register drops to 29 degrees Celsius. That’s enough to heat a room, but it can’t heat your whole home effectively. The truth about the comfort of a heat pump, is that when you need warmth the most, it is not at its best.

For natural gas, the outside temperature doesn’t matter. Natural gas heat is delivered from central forced-air heating systems at temperatures ranging from 48 to 60 degrees Celsius. That doesn’t just heat a room, it blankets your whole home in warmth.

Here’s the secret to true comfort:

The average human skin temperature is 37 degrees Celsius. If the air temperature being supplied at the register is below that, then you are going to have the perception of being cooled. Above it, and you will feel warmed. Natural gas consistently heats your entire home at temperatures above your body’s!

Now you know why it feels warmer and cozier. It’s true comfort. And if you have electric heat, and someone asks you this question: “Is it me, or is it cold in here?” – Now you know the real answer.

In addition to the warmth it brings your home, there are other things to love about the true comfort of natural gas.

You can always count on natural gas. It’s one of the world’s safest and most reliable energy sources. With natural gas, the weather outside doesn’t affect the heat inside. Natural gas keeps you warm whether we’re in the middle of a cold snap or a snow storm. Even if there’s a power outage, natural gas can still operate your heat, hot water and appliances.

The uninterrupted supply is also great for barbecuing. If you’re still using propane tanks, as you know they run out, which means you have to run out, and get your tank filled or exchanged. You don’t get any advance warning that you’re running low. If anything, you can expect it will happen at the most inconvenient time when you just put on everyone’s steaks.

Everyone’s comfortable spending less on energy.

The efficiency of natural gas along with rates that are lower than electricity and oil adds up to real savings. How much you can save depends on a number of factors like your current energy source, the energy efficiency of your home and so on. There are many stories of customers who were surprised at how much they saved.

If you want to see a real example, we did an energy deep dive with one of our residential customers, the Dean family in Fredericton.

The full story is on our blog. You can see their comparative energy costs and what their real savings were. We won’t spoil the ending for you, but if you like the idea of spending less on energy so you can have more left over to spend on other things, it’s a great read.

Natural gas burns cleaner than any other fossil fuel and has significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions. It produces 50% less CO2 than coal and 30% less than oil. When you consider that New Brunswick’s winter power is generated primarily from oil and coal, you can see that the environmental impact is significantly less with natural gas.

These days, a lot of focus is on zero-carbon renewables. There is great potential for the future. Part of realizing that potential is taking advantage of cleaner and more dependable energy sources like natural gas that are here today, to help create a cleaner tomorrow.

Some see natural gas as a bridge fuel. We believe it’s that and more. More on that later.

This is what true, modern comfort can be like. It’s about enjoying life inside and out. Instant cozy heat. Laundry that dries faster. Cooking with a modern range that can’t help but bring out your inner chef. Creating the atmosphere you want in your home, with natural gas fireplaces. And extending that atmosphere outside to the deck or backyard. There are many appliances that run on natural gas that will turn your outdoor space into your favourite spot to get together.

Not only does natural gas add comfort to a home, it adds value. That should make you feel warm and cozy too.

Bringing True Comfort to homes in New Brunswick

By now, hopefully you’re convinced that natural gas is true comfort. You understand why natural gas makes homes cozier and warmer, and all the other benefits that go along with it.

Building homes and neighbourhoods in New Brunswick with natural gas central heating systems should make sense. Imagine, more homes that are low on energy, yet big on comfort. Homes where the whole home is more efficient and more environmentally friendly. They can take advantage of smart technologies and modern appliances, and have energy savings built in from the start.

And not only can they use natural gas, they can use multiple energy sources better – it’s not just about natural gas, it’s about using energy better. By looking at the way homes can be built, taking advantage of diverse energy options and working together, we can make a real difference for homeowners, families and our province as a whole.

Here’s a real example of this.

The Bobak Subdivision is a neighbourhood of single family and semi-detached homes. It’s the only Net Zero-ready community in Fredericton, and it includes the first Net Zero-ready homes being built with natural gas in New Brunswick.

The homes use a high-efficiency modulating natural gas furnace paired with an air source heat pump for heating and cooling, and a high-efficiency natural gas tankless water heater for domestic hot water. Most of the homes also take advantage of natural gas for their cooking needs with range and BBQ hook ups.

This video by Hill Brothers Realty will tell you about a typical home in this neighbourhood. There were many impressive features and efficiency ratings mentioned in the video, including the 95.3 per cent efficiency of the natural gas furnace.

The Bobak subdivision shows us what’s possible when we look at all the technologies and energy options we have in front of us and work together.

We’re excited about the role natural gas can play, and we imagine a day when homes like these aren’t one-of-a-kind, but common in communities throughout the province. We want to help make that possible, by making it easier for more New Brunswickers to enjoy true comfort with natural gas.

Whether you’re a homeowner, a contractor, a business or a commercial builder, we’re here to help.

There’s a residential rebate program for homeowners, contractors and developers who want to install natural gas in homes. There are different amounts you can qualify for so get in touch with one of our account managers and they can help you take full advantage of this program.

Our Connect to Comfort website is another great resource. If you’re upgrading equipment, building a new home or renovating, or just want to get some inspiration, you can see the latest natural gas products all in one place. There are many rebates and offers available on high-efficiency natural gas appliances and equipment.

For commercial developers, Enbridge can help you take advantage of incentives for multi-unit residential buildings. If you need help developing your business case, our technicians, account managers and consultants are ready to lend their expertise as well.

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Remember that friend or relative you visited? It didn’t go so well. But they’ve invited you back. This time you decide to wear long underwear. You bring a bottle of wine as a gift. No need to chill it, you can do that in the guest room.

Again, they give you a tour of the house. But this time, things are different.

The living room is warm and cozy. Then they show you the guest bedroom. You walk in and your spouse turns to you and asks:

“Is it me, or is it WARM in here?”

The thing is, since they’ve put in forced-air natural gas central heating, the temperature at the register is now above your average skin temperature, so you feel warmer.

It’s true comfort!