Woodstove and fireplace changeout program for the island of Montreal – Official launch of the Feu vert program
Montreal, November 2011 – Today marks the launch of the Feu vert program, which aims to improve air quality by encouraging Montreal Island residents to get rid of their old woodstoves and fireplaces. The new site www.feuvert.org explains how the program works.
Funded by the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, and administered by Equiterre, the Feu vert program targets woodstoves and fireplaces that are neither certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nor compliant with the standard of the Canadian Standards Association (CAN/CSA-B415.1). A financial incentive of up to $900 is available to residents of the island of Montreal who replace their old stove or fireplace with a less polluting electric, pellet-burning, natural gas or propane appliance. The Feu vert program also offers the option of removing an old stove without replacing it.
“More than 85,000 homes on the island of Montreal are equipped with a woodstove or fireplace– the majority of which do not comply with current standards,” says Sidney Ribaux, executive director of Equiterre. Owners of theses appliances claim that they are used for ambiance rather than heating, but they still have a significant impact on air quality, and are a cause of winter smog. “Not everyone realizes it, but residential wood heating is the main source of fine particles in Quebec, ahead of both transportation and industry,” adds Isabelle St-Germain, deputy executive director of Equiterre. It is estimated that a conventional woodstove or fireplace burning for only nine hours emits as many fine particles as a car does in one year (18,000 km of driving).
Fine particles are harmful to health because they penetrate deep into the lungs and seep into the bloodstream, affecting the cardiovascular system. When wood burns, other hazardous toxins are also released into the air. These substances have been linked to a worsening of such health problems as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and heart disease. Smoke from burning wood is bad for everyone’s health, but some are especially vulnerable, including young children, the elderly, and people suffering from heart or respiratory problems.
“By reducing the number of woodstoves and fireplaces on the island of Montreal, the Feu vert program tackles the area’s largest source of fine particle emissions – emissions that have an impact on health and the environment. The program will therefore improve both air quality and quality of life,” says Pierre Arcand, Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks.
“Because of the high concentration of woodstoves and fireplaces on the island of Montreal, wood heating is a major public health issue. We are extremely pleased that the Feu vert program is offering financial incentives to help Montrealers get rid of their polluting wood-burning heating appliances,” explains Alan DeSousa, vice-chair of Montreal’s executive committee, where he is also responsible for sustainable development.
“Of the 85,000 woodstoves and fireplaces on the island of Montreal, more than a third are in the reconstituted cities. We hope that citizens across the agglomeration won’t hesitate to use the Feu vert program to get rid of their polluting wood-burning appliances and, at the same time, improve the air quality of their city,” concludes Philippe Roy, mayor of the Town of Mount-Royal.
Residents of the island of Montreal have until December 31, 2012 to remove, replace or convert their old woodstoves and fireplaces, and to return their completed voucher and supporting documents to the Feu vert program. For more information on eligibility criteria, financial incentives, and how to participate, Montreal Islanders can visit www.feuvert.org or phone 514 871-VERT (8378).
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