Decarbonizing buildings

Transforming buildings by enhancing their energy efficiency and supplying them with clean, renewable energy such as hydroelectricity 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 heating appliances This hyperlink will open in a new window. is now prohibited in new residential buildings in Québec. Starting from December 31, 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 This hyperlink will open in a new window. can also be preferred in new buildings.

To facilitate this transition and the installation of clean, sustainable heating systems, residential building owners can obtain government funding through programs such Chauffez vert This hyperlink will open in a new window., Rénoclimat This hyperlink will open in a new window., Novoclimat This hyperlink will open in a new window., and Hydro-Québec This hyperlink will open in a new window. financial assistance, while Écoperformance This hyperlink will open in a new window. provides similar support in the commercial and institutional sectors.

Other measures can be taken to ensure strict energy management in buildings. A building mechanical retrofit to optimize heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems can result in energy savings of 5-15% with little capital investment. ÉcoPerformance also has funding available for interested businesses.

Many industrial facilities also release large amounts of heat into the atmosphere. The heat can be recovered and directed to nearby buildings and plants for heating or meeting energy needs. The Valorisation des rejets thermiques This hyperlink will open in a new window. program supports companies, institutions and municipalities that seek to put this type of project in place.

Finally, in accordance with the Act respecting the environmental performance of buildings and to amend various provisions regarding energy transition, the government plans to establish environmental performance standards for all types of buildings. Initially, this would be achieved by setting up a reporting, rating and performance system for buildings. In a second phase, the government plans to introduce regulatory requirements for construction work covering the entire building lifecycle, from construction to demolition.  

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.

Enhancing 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 48,325 l annually, equivalent to nearly 132 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Growing cucumbers using hot water from a pulp and paper mill

Les Serres Toundra grows several million cucumbers each year, partially using hot-water heating from a pulp and paper mill situated near the greenhouses. This energy harvesting process significantly reduces the need for natural gas in the greenhouses.

Heating a hospital by recovering industrial thermal waste

A Québec City plant is using thermal incinerator exhaust to heat a hospital. The reuse of thermal waste enables the Hôpital de l’Enfant-Jésus to reduce its annual greenhouse gas emissions by 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, equivalent to the withdrawal of more than 2,900 light-duty vehicles from the roads. All the while, the hospital saves on energy costs.

Last update: April 12, 2024


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