Greening Montréal to adapt to climate change

Last updated December 10, 2020
Reading time: 2 min

Trees and green spaces reduce the effects of climate change. Greening is thus among the city’s core actions. What commitments has the city made? How can businesses and residents help the city meet those commitments?

Many beneficial effects

During heat waves, trees help curb heat island effects in the city. They also absorb rainwater and protect buildings against strong winds in winter and sunlight in summer, thus reducing energy costs associated with heating and air conditioning. In addition, trees help prevent erosion along shorelines prone to flooding. They also provide shelter for a wide variety of species and promote biodiversity.  Plants, meanwhile, filter out air pollutants and reduce sound pollution, thus promoting improved physical and mental health among residents. Through photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon in the atmosphere and mitigate the greenhouse effects that contribute to the warming of our climate.

Commitments made by the city

Under its Climate Plan 2020-2030, the city is committed to making Montréal even greener. It will:

  • Plant, maintain and protect 500,000 trees. Priority will be given to planting trees in areas that are more vulnerable to heat island effects. Residents, organizations and businesses are encouraged to plant trees on private property.
  • Encourage greening and stimulate densification by transforming parking lots into open spaces.
  • Amend building construction and renovation by-laws to include minimum greening requirements.
  • Create new parks, green corridors and wetlands, and restore shorelines rendered fragile by flooding in the large park network.
  • Increase the size of protected areas so that they cover 10 per cent of the land within city limits.

Businesses, go green

All small, medium-sized or large businesses can take concrete actions to make Montréal a greener city. If you are a business or store owner, why not reconfigure your parking lots to include more trees and plants? You can:

  • Plant trees in your parking lots to combat heat island effects. Trees act as natural air conditioning systems that cost nothing. During heat waves, the difference in temperature between paved and shady areas can be as much as 12°C.
  • Replace asphalt surfaces with honeycomb pavers or develop green spaces alongside your buildings to filter rainwater.
  • Create a green wall or roof if your building structure allows it.

Residents, plant trees

Each tree counts. Did you know that you can purchase a tree for a minimal cost twice a year, notably in the spring and the fall?

By planting trees on your property, you will do your part in the collective effort to adapt to climate change. 

  • One tree planted in Montréal can capture between 200 kg and 225 kg of CO2 over the course of its lifetime.
  • Trees provide us with shade and release up to 450 litres of water every day, which is the equivalent of five air conditioners operating for 20 hours a day. This can be highly useful during heat waves, and it lets you save about $12 annually in air conditioning costs.

In addition to being good for the environment, a mature tree increases a property’s assessment value by an average of 15 per cent.