VANCOUVER — A report from British Columbia’s main electricity distributor says many residents are “misinformed” about the most efficient and cost-effective ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

The BC Hydro report says 40 per cent of those who responded to a survey said they would cut carbon dioxide or other emissions by installing solar panels rather than buying an electric vehicle or a heat pump for their home.

Hydro spokeswoman Simi Heer says swapping a home power source from electricity to solar simply replaces one source of clean electricity with another.

A statement from Hydro says a more effective choice would be to switch to an electric vehicle, significantly reducing a driver’s carbon emissions while lowering fuel costs.

The Crown corporation’s report says another choice is to replace a fossil fuel-burning gas furnace with a heat pump that heats in winter and cools in summer, potentially shrinking the average home’s greenhouse gas emissions by about two tonnes every year.

The study shows nearly half of respondents believe solar is the cleanest power, followed by hydroelectricity, wind and nuclear sources, but Hydro says a switch from electricity to another green option would have less environmental impact in B.C. because the province already relies mainly on renewable, water-generated power supplies.

Heer says Hydro is working to improve carbon literacy for its customers.

“There’s an opportunity to raise awareness about how electricity is generated in B.C. so people can make wise choices and invest their money into technology that will have the biggest impact,” she says in the statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press