Another step toward low-carbon-footprint buildings – An innovative Québec tool seeks to encourage low-carbon-footprint buildings that can be adapted to each of the Canadian provinces

Waskesiu Lake, Saskatchewan, August 14, 2019 – Investments in wood infrastructure reduce the carbon dioxide footprint, foster economic expansion in the forest sector and contribute to the social, economic and environmental development of communities.

At the conclusion of the meeting of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers held in Waskesiu Lake, Saskatchewan, Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks Pierre Dufour presented Gestimat, an innovative new tool designed to quantify, analyze and compare the carbon dioxide footprint of the materials used in construction projects. He also announced Québec’s intention to collaborate with the Canadian provinces and territories that wish to adapt Gesimat to their context and to make it available to them.

In keeping with the government’s commitment in the Wood Charter, the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) collaborated with Cecobois to develop a web-based platform to compare the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of building structures that use wood, steel and concrete.

The provinces and the territories are aware of the economic and environmental importance of using wood in infrastructure projects. For this reason, the Québec government wishes to publicize best practices and technical expertise by making the Gestimat platform available to them in the coming years. Minister Dufour invited all the provinces and territories to work in partnership with Québec to maximize all opportunities to consider wood in building construction projects.

Ontario has expressed interest in the Quebec-designed software and is working with Quebec towards an agreement.

A few words:

“Wood is omnipresent in Canadian culture and is an economic driving force for communities from coast to coast. The Québec government has committed itself to promoting the use of this resource in construction and wishes to publicize its expertise beyond its borders. For this reason, I am proud to have presented Gestimat, an innovative tool that calculates the carbon dioxide footprint of the materials selected in order to make buildings more ecological, to my counterparts at the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. By making Gestimat accessible to the entire population of the provinces and territories, we could take an additional step to mutually promote economic development based on our renewable forest resources, thereby contributing to tackling climate change.”

– Pierre Dufour, Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Abitibi-Témiscamingue Region and the Nord-du-Québec Region

“Combating climate change hinges on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I would like to pay tribute to the initiative of my colleague in the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs and Cecobois for their new Gestimat platform, which compares the carbon dioxide footprint of construction materials. This tool will foster the use of wood, a renewable resource that traps CO2, in construction projects.”

– Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change

Highlights

  • The Québec government has adopted a Wood Charter that seeks to promote broader use of wood in the construction industry. One of the four measures in the charter is government exemplariness as regards the use of wood in non-residential and multi-family construction. The measure calls for the development of a tool called Gestimat to quantify the GHG emissions attributable to construction projects.
  • Gestimat, which is intended to show the low carbon footprint of wooden structures, went online in May 2019 in Québec and is aimed at various interveners in the construction industry. To this end, Gestimat calculates the GHG reductions stemming from the choice of wood in construction and the reductions related to concrete or steel structures.
  • The Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs mandated the Centre d’expertise sur la construction commerciale en bois (Cecobois) to develop Gesimat.
  • Cecobois’ mission is to support and facilitate broader reliance on wood in multi-family and non-residential construction in Québec by offering technical support services and ongoing training to building professionals and by disseminating know-how pertaining to the design of wooden buildings.
  • The Green Fund provided $495 000 in funding to Gestimat under measure 19.4.3 of the 2013-2020 Action Plan on Climate Change.

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