Fighting heat islands

For many years, CRE de Laval has been observing and fighting the increase of heat islands across Laval. We have launched many initiatives to target this issue. Heat islands consist of urban areas, usually extremely mineralized, where summer temperatures are higher than adjacent areas by 5 to 10 degrees Celsius.


Studies of urban and suburban biotopes of Montreal metropolitan area (CMM)

This project was launched in 2005 and offered a clear portrait of land-use, vegetation cover and thermal behaviour for all the Montreal metropolitan area. This portrait was designated to regional county municipalities (MRC) and to the Montreal metropolitan area (CMM). 


Three years later, in 2008, the Montreal metropolitan community published a study (in French). This hard work required several years, but enabled to truly show how much natural areas had been converted to mineral surfaces between 1984 and 2005. Thus, the thermal environment has changed through time and local temperatures have risen. Mineralization also makes surfaces waterproof, which increases runoff by decreasing rainfall and water infiltration in the soil. Runoff picks up pollutants along its course which then end up in streams, rivers and water bodies.


These disturbing conclusions encourage to massively improve the vegetation cover in urban areas. In fact, urban forests and greener buildings are extremely valuable as they capture rainfall and reduce runoff. Urban vegetation also has a cooling effect and reduces health risks associated with heat islands.


What about today?

Urban development is still ongoing and thriving. Our organization encourages sustainable land management, which means it must respect our ecosystems’ carrying capacity. Conservation is a key tool for ecosystem service protection and sustainable development. Strategies that incorporate more sustainable rainfall management, ecological protection, construction of greener buildings and the development of active transportation methods can all be intertwined and lead to very positive results for all.


It you are thinking of renovating your rooftop, you should look up Laval’s construction regulation. The article 5.18 may help you lean towards better and greener choices.

  • You can also contact Laval’s urban planning service at 450-680-5555 for more information.


If you are a business or industry owner and wish to rehabilitate the environment on your property, you can get more information through the environmental rehabilitation program (regulation L-12724) which could enable you to demineralize and increase the vegetation cover of your property. You could potentially be eligible for funding. Feel free to fill in an eligibility form (in French).


Quebec’s public health institute (INSPQ) listed several measures against heat islands (in French) which could be inspiring!


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