Building heating can engender greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Transforming buildings by enhancing their energy efficiency and supplying them with clean, renewable energy such as hydroelectricity or geothermal energy can contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of buildings and thus reduce Québec’s GHG emissions.
To this end, to promote the use of low-carbon energy the installation of oil heat appliances is now prohibited in new residential buildings in Québec. Starting from December31, 2023, it will also be prohibited to install this type of appliance in existing residential buildings and carry out major repairs on existing appliances.
The Construction Code, which governs building design standards, also plays a key role in the rapid development of greener buildings. From the design stage, the code enables buildings to meet the most stringent energy efficiency and sustainability standards. Low-carbon materials such as wood can also be preferred in new buildings.
To facilitate this transition and the installation of clean, sustainable heating systems, building owners can obtain government financial support through various programs such as Chauffez vert in the residential sector and Écoperformance in the commercial and institutional sector.
Examples of low-carbon building projects
Numerous innovative construction projects are being carried out in Québec to reduce the GHG emissions of big buildings or to enhance their energy efficiency. The government has funded several initiatives to tackle climate change. Here are some examples.
Enhance energy efficiency in big buildings
The Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de la Côte-Nord is undertaking major work in its building to replace its steam heating system with a hot water system. It will also establish an exhaust air heat recovery system to heat fresh air and will install a heat pump to satisfy its heating needs. The project will reduce the building’s light fuel oil consumption by roughly 48325l annually, equivalent to nearly 132tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Grow cucumbers using hot water from a plant
Les Serres Toundra is growing several million cucumbers each year partly by means of heat provided by hot water from a pulp and paper mill situated near the greenhouse. This energy harvesting is significantly reducing the use of natural in the greenhouses.
Heat a hospital with steam
A Québec City project is using exhaust vapours from its incinerator to heat and air-condition a hospital. This reuse of the steam is enabling the Hôpital de l’Enfant-Jésus to reduce its annual greenhouse gas emissions by 10000tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, equivalent to the withdrawal of more than 2900light-duty vehicles from the roads. At the same time, the hospital is saving on energy costs.