With the world firmly in the clutches of climate change, we are all looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint. We want to breathe cleaner air, use renewable energy, and do what we can to help the planet, as we humans move into the future.
When we think about a fireplace at home, we are reminded of cold winter nights sitting with friends and family. There is nothing like the sound of a roaring fire in the fireplace with the wood cracking and the wonderful smell. A fireplace can add beauty, character, and drama to almost any space; they encourage relaxation, and they can elevate consciousness and moods. The longer you sit by a fire, the more peaceful and relaxed you’ll likely feel.
Now for the reality! Wood-burning fireplaces and stoves affect air quality, which is a major concern in the Lower Mainland. Because of this, the Metro Vancouver regional government is moving forward with regulations to control our wood burning inside our homes. This started in 2021 with a three-stage implementation of regulation that will eventually phase out open wood fireplaces and appliances that do not meet emission standards, with few exceptions.
First Stage: 2021 It is illegal to use wood-burning fireplaces and stoves between May 15 and September 15 on a yearly basis.
Second Stage: From September 2022, users who reside in Metro Vancouver’s Urban Containment Boundary (UCB Map) will be required to register their wood fire or appliance with Metro Vancouver. To qualify for registration, an appliance must meet performance standards to ensure emissions are low. From September 15 2025 (2032 for the Village of Lions Bay), unregistered appliances will not be allowed to operate, except during emergencies, or if they are being operated within a low-income household.
Third Stage: Starting September 2025, users can not use unregistered appliances within urban areas except if your household qualifies as low income or during an emergency. You must renew any declarations and registrations in urban areas every three years.
What does this all mean?
You won’t be able to burn your old fashioned, open, brick chimney fireplace! The one we know and love, the one we can’t live without, the one that’s been with us through the rain and the cold. But wait…
The fireplace world has come up with some excellent fireplace appliances that meet or exceed the EPA regulations that Metro Vancouver wants you to abide with. They come in different formats; inserts into brick chimneys, freestanding wood stoves, and built-in fireplaces for new houses and renovations. These appliances offer low emissions, heat well, and are fuel efficient; most importantly, we are making use of a renewable resource; wood!
All products sold by Maxwell Fireplace meet the requirements as listed in schedule “A”; a certified residential indoor wood burning appliance bearing a certification mark that conforms to the Canadian standard or the US standard. As an example, the appliance must have a particulate matter emission rate that does not exceed 4.5 grams per hour and is tested and certified to CSA B365 (Canada) and EPA 2020. See below how the wording is presented on the label.
Here are some helpful links to Metro Vancouvers Residential Indoor Wood Burning Bylaw:
- The By-Law (including Sched A)
- Declaration and Registration Form
- Urban Containment Area: Find out if you are in the zone
- Community Wood Smoke Reduction Program: There are rebates you may qualify for
There is a lot more to talk about here, and we love talking about it! Please reach out to us for more information, and feel free to book an appointment at the showroom for a complete demonstration of a certified wood burning fireplace in person.
Please contact us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org