No more wood-burning Fireplaces & stoves in Montreal

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No more wood-burning Fireplaces & stoves in Montreal

Postby Wilberforce » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:14 pm

No more wood-burning Fireplaces & stoves in Montreal
John Symon, Life, Montreal, News

In August, Montreal adopted a new bylaw concerning wood stoves, fireplaces and other solid-fuel-burning devices, prompted by concerns about public health. In the short term, the use of such devices will be prohibited during smog warnings, effective immediately. The provisions of the bylaw also require owners of such appliances to declare them by December 22.

In the longer term, the use of solid-fuel-burning appliances will be prohibited unless they are recognized by the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and emit no more than 2.5 g/hr of fine particles into the atmosphere. This provision will come into effect on October 1, 2018.

“In Montreal, there are around a dozen smog episodes each winter. Winter smog is formed mostly of fine particulate matter and can be observed in the form of yellowish fog that affects visibility and reduces air quality. During winter smog warnings, you must stop using your solid-fuel-burning appliance, no matter what type of appliance you have (fireplace, wood stove or pellet-burning stove) and even if it is EPA-compliant,” reads part of a Montreal communication on the subject.

RéalMénard, the city’s executive committee member responsible for the environment, recently labelled the wood smoke “a real threat for our environment and the quality of air that we breathe in Montreal.”

Wood smoke in Montreal is responsible for 39 percent of the fine particulate matter, second only in importance to transportation, which is responsible for 45%. Wood stoves also produce carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, etc. These pollutants from burning wood can adversely affect health and aggravate asthma, childhood bronchitis and lung cancer. According to the Directeur de la Santé publique à Montréal, wood smoke contributes to causing 1,500 premature deaths yearly in Montreal.

Sylvain Ouellet, who is the opposition Water, Sustainable Development, Environment, Large Parks and Green Spaces critic, supports the bylaw, but wonders why the deadline for compliance was not put in 2016. “The bipartisan Environment Committee at City Hall unanimously recommended this legislation many months ago. If the Coderre administration had acted sooner, we could have enacted it months ago. Each year we delay could lead to hundreds of deaths.”

Wood heating in Quebec became popular after the 1998 Ice Storm when some homes were without electricity for weeks in the middle of winter. Ouellet mentioned that Hydro Quebec and Montreal are much better prepared for such an event now; he also noted that there is an exemption in the new bylaw permitting all wood stoves should power outages exceed three hours. Ouellet further mentioned that some clean-burning natural gas fireplaces can operate without electricity.

The new bylaw applies to all 19 Montreal boroughs (i.e. Ahuntsic, CDN-NDG,LaSalle, Pierrefonds, etc), but not to de-merged municipalities on Montreal Island (i.e. Baied’Urfé, Dorval, Westmount, etc).

There are an estimated 50,000 functioning wood stoves and fireplaces in Montreal; the new measures could reduce particulate matter pollution by 80 percent reports the Journal de Montreal. Non-compliance may result in fines of up to $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for businesses. or 514 280-4326.

source ... -montreal/
Smoke signals: Wood burning still pollutes Aspen
By Elizabeth Stewart-Severy • Mar 14, 2017

It’s an idyllic scene out of a ski resort ad: After a long day skiing, return home and warm your bones by the roaring fire. Donnie Lee, general manager at the Gant, knows the appeal this has for visitors.

“They come to the mountains,” Lee said. “The crackling of the wood and the smell of the smoke is certainly an ambience feature.”

That feature is unique to a handful of vintage complexes in Aspen, and there’s a reason that scene feels nostalgic.

To meet EPA requirements for clean air, the City of Aspen stopped allowing wood burning fireplaces in new construction about 35 years ago. Now Aspen’s air quality is typically quite good, but old timers remember when the town was blanketed in a brown cloud, in part because those old wood burning fireplaces are dirty.

Matt Coggon from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is studying Aspen’s wood smoke. Last winter, Coggon and other NOAA researchers measured the amount of fine particulates, called PM 2.5, in Aspen’s air. In resort towns, most of those tiny particles come from wood smoke, vehicles and restaurant grills. PM 2.5 is a concern.

“Those are the particles that can get deep into your lungs,” Coggon said. “They can penetrate very, very deep into your lungs and then contribute to pulmonary disease.”

To identify how much of that pollution comes from wood smoke, researchers use a tracer — a compound that only comes from burning wood. It’s called furan.

Jannette Whitcomb, Aspen’s air quality specialist, was instrumental in bringing the researchers from NOAA to Aspen. The data they collected, she said, “was so eye opening.”

The amount of particulates in Aspen’s air spikes at certain times of the day. Those spikes “mimicked the marker for wood smoke,” Whitcomb said.

Coggon and his team haven’t finished analyzing the data yet, but he says these spikes in Aspen are tied to time of day, when cars hit the roads and skiers come down and light fires.

“But the real driver of pollution events is always weather. It’s always meteorology,” Coggon said.

In Aspen, that meteorology deals with temperature inversions and a low ceiling. Inversions are common in valleys like this, which Coggon compares to a bowl. At night, as the snowy earth cools, the air close to the ground also cools down. At some point, a layer of air develops that is less dense than the air above it, and those layers, like oil and water, don’t mix.

“You have a lid on top of the air in your city and it doesn’t allow the pollution to get diluted or to exit,” Coggon explained. “And so it tends to cause pollution during the evening.”

In Aspen, that lid — or ceiling — sits only about 50 to 100 feet above town, which, Coggon noted, is not much higher than some of the tallest buildings.

Most of the pollution that hangs around the top of the buildings is from wood smoke, more than you might find in a bigger city. So even as the team at NOAA works to understand all the data they collected, Jannette Whitcomb wants the City of Aspen to make a change.

“That study started us thinking,” she said. “As the air quality specialist, I need to spend some time on wood smoke.”

It’s not clear yet what that looks like. The city doesn’t keep an inventory of how many wood burning fireplaces there are. The most recent count is 20 years old. The historic problem — when a brown cloud of pollution blanketed Aspen during temperature inversions — has been addressed. But Whitcomb wants to keep moving the dial by replacing the dirtiest source: wood fireplaces.

“It’s making a significant impact,” she said, even just replacing one fireplace at a time.

Large, multi-unit complexes might be a good place to make an impact by transitioning to gas fireplaces, but there are challenges.

In a place like the Gant, with 143 units, cost is an issue. General manager Donnie Lee said it’s a conversation they’ve had, but to run gas to all the buildings and make the switch would be a $3 million investment.

It’s also not clear yet what a total conversion to natural gas powered fireplaces would mean for greenhouse gas emissions. That work will mean partnering with the city’s climate action team, the Canary Initiative.

Whitcomb will ignite the discussion about what that could look like this summer.

source ... utes-aspen
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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