Monday, March 9, 2020

Restrictions for wood-burning fireplaces and stoves coming May 2021 to Metro Vancouver

Back in the fall of 2017, I posted about how the Metro Vancouver Regional District was looking to restrict the use and type of wood-burning fireplaces and stoves that can be used within the urban containment boundary of our region.

Map of urban containment boundary. Source: Metro Vancouver. Select to enlarge.

This is now closer to reality as the regional district is moving forward with a bylaw to regulate the use of residential wood-burning stoves and fireplaces.

Smoke from burning wood is a major source of fine particulate matter in Metro Vancouver, and causes the following human health impacts:

  • Aggravates existing lung and heart diseases
  • Increases the risk of cancer
  • Reduces life expectancy

With that in mind, if the bylaw is approved, indoor wood burning will only be permitted between September 16th and May 14th unless it is the only source of heat for a building starting in 2021.

Starting in September 2022, people will need to start registering their wood burning appliances. These registered appliances must meet emissions standards. If an appliance is certified to confirm with Canadian or US emission standards, that is all that is required.

If the appliance is not certified, the owner of the appliance will have to provide evidence to the regional district that it meets current emission standards, is the sole source of heat, or that the owner will only use manufactured fire logs (which result in no visible emissions.)

An owner of a wood-burning appliance must also declare compliance with best burning practices, and re-declare their compliance every three years.

Examples of best burning practice include to:

  • Operate a residential indoor wood burning appliance and any attached emission control equipment in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended operating procedures
  • Operate a residential indoor wood burning appliance in a manner that produces no visible emissions except during the starting of a new fire for a period not to exceed twenty minutes in any four-hour period
  • Apply practices to minimize smoke

By 2025 (2032 in Lions Bay), all wood-burning appliances must be registered unless you live in a low-income household.

To help people transition to cleaner wood-burning appliances, the regional district is offering $250 to $400 to exchange uncertified wood-burning appliance for certified ones. There is a limited number of rebates available.

For more information, please visit Metro Vancouver’s website.

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