TransformTO is a collaborative project that aims to reduce Toronto’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% by 2050, led by Toronto’s Environment and Energy Division and The Atmospheric Fund.
In order to hit this ambitious goal, the City and everyone living here needs to change the way we live, work, commute and build. More than 2,000 Torontonians have already been engaged through community consultations and online surveys.
Changing the way we build is a big part of decreasing GHG emissions because the city’s buildings account for a whopping 53% of the emissions. TransformTO outlines strategies for both existing buildings and new construction:
1) Further incentivize energy retrofits
The City already has programs that offer rebates for green upgrades. In an effort to hit the 2050 goal, Toronto will expand these programs and offer a suite of programs and resources to make these retrofit projects easier and more affordable.
Retooling the financing mechanisms to encourage property owners to make environmentally friendly investments will make a big difference. The city will be exploring new partnership opportunities to make green investment more attractive and worthwhile.
2) Raise the standard
The City will raise the energy standard for new construction buildings with Version 3.0 of the Toronto Green Standard, leaning more towards net-zero energy (buildings that can produce as much energy as they consume).
3) Maximize Community Energy Planning (CEP)
There are 3 net-zero CEP projects in the works; the Port Lands, Six Points Interchange, and Mt. Dennis. Other key CEP projects include the downtown core, Yonge and Eglinton, Consumers Next, and the Finch Corridor.
The City must have the 2050 goal in mind for all of these development areas, maximizing their potential and taking every opportunity to build a greener future.
4) Scale up thermal energy networks
Toronto neighbourhoods can benefit greatly from thermal energy networks. The homes and other buildings can be connected to a variety of systems, such as sewer heat recovery, lake water cooling, solar thermal collectors, and biogas and biomass from municipal operations.
There are a number of ways our buildings can harness energy in a way that is much less impactful on the environment.
5) Develop workforce strategy
If high-performance buildings are needed, then we need a highly skilled and properly trained workforce familiar with the new energy systems that will be employed. There must be a strategy to educate and train the current workforce as well as support the many jobs that will be created.
Why is TransformTO necessary?
It’s puzzling that there are still people questioning climate change and the impact that urban centres have on the environment.
According to Toronto’s Future Weather and Climate Driver Study, if we don’t take action now, the daily temperature maximum will go up to 44 degrees celsius by 2040 and we’ll have approximately 66 days of the year above 30 degrees celsius. Compare that to an average of 20 between 2000 and 2009.
There’s the chance we’ll have 2.5 extended heat waves a year, up from just 0.6. We’ll also have more rainfall by 100 millimetres!
As the City of Toronto implements new strategies and standards, the new home industry will likely have to alter the way homes are designed and built. We’re interested to see which builders lead the charge!