Montreal Climate Summit: new buildings will be 'zero-emission' by 2025

Montreal buildings will be fully powered by renewable energy by 2040 rather than 2050, according to Mayor Valerie Plante.

Plante made the announcement Tuesday morning at the Montreal Climate Summit held at the Marche Bonsecours.

The "zero-emission" threshold will come into effect as early as 2024 for buildings of less than 2,000 square metres, she said, and as early as 2025 for building permit applications of 2,000 square metres and more.

Also, as of 2023, it will be mandatory for owners of small buildings to declare all heating appliances using oil or gas.

The objective for already-existing buildings is to have them powered with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2040.

"This is an important and necessary step that we are taking to accelerate the ecological transition because, I repeat, we can no longer wait to act," said Plante.

The city will work with Hydro-Quebec "to encourage all promoters and developers to implement the most promising solutions" in energy efficiency.

"The decarbonization of our economy requires the efficient electrification of existing buildings. As much as we need to reduce the use of fossil fuels, it is important to do so at the best possible cost. We are very pleased to support the City of Montreal in implementing best practices in this area," said Sophie Brochu, president and CEO of Hydro-Quebec.

Property management company Ivanhoe Cambridge also announced it will reduce the carbon footprint of its Montreal assets by 55 per cent before 2030.

"This commitment, which is currently equivalent to a reduction of approximately 8,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents, will allow the company's Montreal portfolio to follow a trajectory aligned with a 1.5-degree Celsius scenario, in line with the objective of the Paris Agreement," the real estate developer said in a statement.

CHARRETTE AND GUILBEAULT ATTEND

Nearly 500 people are attending the Montreal Climate Summit, which aims to accelerate climate action in the city.

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault addressed Montreal's business, philanthropic, political, community and environmental leaders attending the event.

"I have to accept that I won't be able to win all my battles, don't think that by being in government I can solve everything on my own," said Guilbeault, noting that he understands people's disappointment with the controversial North Bay oil project, which he has endorsed.

A handful of protesters dressed as clowns entered the Marche Bonsecours to express their disappointment with the North Bay project.

The protesters chanted Guilbeault's name during a speech by Quebec Environment Minister Benoit Charette, but security officials quickly put an end to the demonstration.

Montreal's Regional Director of Public Health, Dr. Mylène Drouin, is also among the speakers at the summit.

Several workshops will address topics such as climate change adaptation measures, alternatives to fossil fuels for the housing stock, financing the fight against climate change and accelerating the electrification of transportation.

This summit is organized by the Montreal Climate Partnership and the City of Montreal, in collaboration with the Conseil regional de l'environnement de Montreal, Vivre en ville, the Institut du Quebec, Propulsion Quebec, the Trottier Family Foundation and the Jeune Chambre de commerce de Montreal.

This report was first published in French by The Canadian Press on May 3, 2022.  

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