Montreal's sustainability commission has recommended banning indoor appliances that use fossil fuels, including gas stoves, "as soon as possible."

The recommendation is part of a series of guidelines issued Thursday by city council's Commission sur l’eau, l’environnement, le développement durable et les grands parcs (commission on water, environment, sustainability and major parks).

The commission, composed of borough mayors and city councillors, was formed by the city in October 2022 to develop recommendations that will make "all Montreal buildings zero-emission by 2040," promised by Mayor Valérie Plante at the Montreal climate summit last summer.

Buildings are responsible for nearly 30 per cent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Montreal, according to the Plante administration.

The committee is calling for the "gradual withdrawal of fossil fuel heating systems in existing buildings based on their useful life and environmental impact, to decarbonize energy consumption as much as possible."

The commissioners' report, released Thursday afternoon, also states that "the installation of new indoor stationary appliances, including gas stoves, using fossil fuels in buildings covered by the roadmap should be banned as soon as possible, and the replacement of existing ones with zero-emission, high-performance appliances in accordance with the highest standards of the day should be promoted."

It is also recommended to "couple the decarbonization of Montreal's building stock with energy conservation and efficiency measures" by implementing "high energy reduction targets" and promoting heat pump installation.

The commissioners point out that commercial and institutional buildings emit 57 per cent of the greenhouse gases in the building stock, even though they represent only 4.1 per cent of buildings.

The report, which contains 25 recommendations, will be tabled by commissioners at a city council meeting in March. Plante's administration will then be asked to vote on its findings.

In a statement sent to The Canadian Press, Marie-Andrée Mauger, the councillor responsible for the environment on Plante's executive committee, said that "with the magnitude of the climate crisis, this is no longer the time for half measures."

"We will take the time to analyze all the recommendations and we will follow up in the coming months," she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Feb. 16, 2023.