Raising the Bar: City Committee Recommends Improved Energy Standards for New Construction

Toronto is unique among Ontario municipalities in having its own energy and environmental standards for new construction, the Toronto Green Standard (TGS). Passed by Council in 2009, the TGS was a major step forward for sustainable development in Toronto. But over the years, the energy efficiency requirements had become outdated (see my previous blog post). TAF sponsored a multi-phase research project led by Sustainable Buildings Canada to develop recommendations for updated energy efficiency standards. On Thursday, June 20, Toronto’s Planning and Growth Management Committee voted in favour of the key recommendations from that study. The proposed standards will require new buildings to target a 15% improvement above Ontario Building Code requirements, beginning in Jan 2014. Developments that exceed the OBC requirements by 25% or more will be eligible for a 20% development charge rebate.

Tridel's Nuvo Phase II outperformed the building code by 40%, with the help of a Green Condo Loan from TAF

In my last blog post on this topic, I reported that these recommendations were not included in the proposed TGS update under consideration by the City. So what changed? Key stakeholders intervened, attending the Planning and Growth Management Committee to speak in favour of improved energy standards. A number of building science experts from the University of Toronto spoke to the technical feasibility of improved energy performance standards. The Canadian Condominium Institute – Toronto and Area Chapter (CCI-T) also presented in favour of stronger standards. CCI-T represents 134,000 condominium units in the GTA, through the membership of their Boards of Directors and management companies. In this case, CCI-T was representing the interests of future condominium owners, providing an industry perspective on the importance of energy efficiency to the financial sustainability of Condo communities. Click here to see their written remarks. TAF also made a presentation outlining the importance of energy efficiency standards to meeting the City’s GHG reduction targets.

These changes are expected to save Toronto citizens and businesses $114 million in energy costs by 2025, and reduce climate-damaging GHG emissions by 750,000 tonnes over the same period. The recommendations still need to be ratified by City Council at its next meeting on July 16 and 17. TAF congratulates the Committee for taking a leadership position on this issue.

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