August 30, 2019

City of Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec

Baie-Saint-Paul Biomass Energy Production
Funding from the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program: $750,000

The City of Baie-Saint-Paul will carry out a capital project to convert an old oil-burning central heating system to one that burns wood biomass at Maison Mère, the former Petites Franciscaines de Marie convent that the city acquired in 2016.

Residual forest biomass is a relatively new economic development sector. Using it will position Charlevoix to take on a strong leadership role, and Maison Mère will become a catalyst for regional economic development. 

Energy-efficiency upgrades at Maison Mère:

  • Repairing and optimizing the hot water distribution system
  • Improving the building’s insulation

Central heating using biomass at Maison Mère:

  • Construction of a wood biomass heating system to replace the rundown oil heating system that is currently in the building.The new central heating system will burn wood biomass to heat the building and provide domestic hot water.

Steps of the plan:

  • Fall 2019 – Plans and specifications for the construction of the building’s central heating system and energy efficiency upgrades
  • Winter 2020 – Request for proposals
  • Spring to fall 2020 – Construction of the new central heating system and energy efficiency upgrades to the building
  • Late December 2020 – Completion of the biomass central heating system


For Maison Mère:

  • Fixed operating cost savings (including loan reimbursement) of about $80,000/year compared to current heating costs
  • Elimination of fossil fuel (oil) use while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 95%, or 352 tonnes of CO2 equivalent/year
  • Improved comfort for occupants

For the region – example of circular economy:

  • Local suppliers will harvest the forest residue and handle the processing, drying, storage and transportation of the wood chips that are to be burned in the new central heating system
  • Phase 1 of the project anticipates the need for about 500 tonnes of oven-dried wood chips, which will inject an estimated $80,000/year into the region’s economy
  • Consolidation and job creation in Charlevoix’s forest industry with a new product (residual forest biomass) generated from residue formerly seen as waste
  • Ash produced from combustion will be captured and stored, and may be recovered to be used as a soil fertilizer in fields or in the forest

Maison Mère:

The Maison Mère heritage complex is a former convent built in the early 20th century by the Petites Franciscaines de Marie religious community and acquired by the City of Baie-Saint-Paul in 2016. It is located in the heart of downtown Baie-Saint-Paul on a 91,700 m2 lot that includes a public garden. The building has 14,972 m2 of space and redeveloped premises that can accommodate new projects to achieve the city’s vision to make Maison Mère the centre of sustainable innovation in Baie-Saint-Paul by investing in youth.

Learn more at: (in French only)

Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program
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