The built environment in Montréal’s Southwest borough has faced many challenges in recent years; a victim of its attractiveness, the already dense and mineralized borough is facing significant real estate development. Combined with an increase in heat waves and torrential rain events projected in Montréal’s 2020-2030 Climate Plan, the borough is seeing increased pressures on its infrastructure and risks to its population. The Urban Planning Division team also noted that many projects complying with the greening by-law ultimately had inadequate green spaces to have a real impact on UHI or site water retention. This is why they, in collaboration with the Office of Ecological Transition and Resilience, decided to use the “biotope coefficient” model to develop a regulatory tool specifically targeting green spaces, soil permeability and biodiversity conservation.
In 2022, the Southwest borough in Montréal modified its urban planning by-law to integrate a climate adaptation requirement for new real estate developments.
The Climate Resilience Factor (CRF) is a tool that is part of the third phase of the borough’s regulatory changes, in line with the Southwest borough’s Local Action Plan for Ecological Transition and the City of Montréal’s Climate Plan. This is a weighting method for construction projects aimed at improving the quality of life and landscape of neighbourhoods while ensuring the ecological value of developments. For example, as soon as they are built in the Southwest the new buildings will contribute to the reduction of urban heat islands (UHI), which are particularly present in this old and highly mineralized sector, and will promote biodiversity through greening, as well as sound management of rainwater to avoid combined sewer overflows. These building design elements will also have the co-benefit of helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through reduced energy consumption and carbon capture.
Unlike more conventional regulations, the CRF, also known as the biotope coefficient, does not only assess the amount of green spaces on a land, but also the quality of the plantation and their ecological benefits or co-benefits, as well as complementary measures in a project, such as the presence of green walls or roofs on the building.