Starting next year, gas will no longer be an option for heating or cooking in most new homes and buildings in Montreal.

A bylaw will prohibit gas connections for new buildings with one to three floors from October 2024 onward. The ban will be implemented for larger buildings in April 2025. This rule applies to all new buildings that don’t obtain permits by the specified deadlines.

The aim of this policy is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the building sector, according to Marie-Andrée Mauger, the city’s representative for ecological transition.

The prohibition covers gas stoves, water heaters, and heat pumps in all new buildings, including single-family homes. It encompasses propane, natural gas, and heating oil.

Exceptions to the ban include outdoor heaters, generators, professional stoves for commercial use, temporary heaters used for construction, and barbecues with propane tanks. Industrial buildings and buildings connected to district heating systems are also exempt.

To prevent overloading the electricity grid, the city will allow larger buildings with more than three floors to connect to renewable natural gas sources.

Currently, only a small fraction (around two percent) of Énergir’s network consists of renewable natural gas. However, the city plans to expand this through a biomethanization plant under construction in Montreal East. The plant will become operational in 2025.

The ban is part of the city’s efforts to make its buildings emissions-neutral by 2040. In implementing the ban, the city is following the advice given by Montreal’s permanent commission on water, the environment, sustainable development, and large parks.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante emphasized that the city collaborated with Hydro-Québec and Énergir to ensure the ban won’t strain the electricity grid excessively. She stated that this is the first step in an overarching plan to significantly diminish emissions from homes and buildings.

According to the Montreal Gazette, the ban will help prevent around 400 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. However, this is only a tiny fraction of the 2.4 million tons that Montreal’s buildings currently emit.

As Montreal announces the ban on fossil fuel use in new buildings, it’s following in the footsteps of major US cities like Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York.

Opponents of the ban are concerned that it will increase utility costs while doing little to protect the environment.