Welcome to The Atmospheric, the e-newsletter of the Toronto Atmospheric Fund. In this issue, we have news about our upcoming grants deadline, the financial payoff of increasing energy efficiency and New York's new approach to reducing building emissions.

Important dates

TAF’s AGM will take place Monday, April 30th, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. in the Member’s Lounge at Toronto City Hall.  We’ll have some exciting announcements about the evolution of some of our pilot programs.

Grants application deadline: Friday, April 13th. Read the Grants FAQ before starting your application


Help us help you

Does your organization have a great idea that reduces greenhouse gas or air polluting emissions in Toronto?  Do you have a way to make buildings more energy efficient or transportation less polluting?  To motivate citizens or companies to improve energy efficiency? TAF can help you take your concept to the next level with financial support.  For non-profits and charities, we can provide grants (next grants deadline is April 13, 2011.  Please read our grants FAQ before contacting grants manager Ben Marans to discuss your idea).  For companies and social ventures, we can provide financing.  In either case, a great place to start is by reading TAF’s strategic plan to better understand TAF's current priorities.

Energy efficiency good for the bottom line

Improved energy efficiency can be a golden economic egg for Ontario if we have the right programs and policies in place.  That’s the conclusion of a comprehensive study by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance of Ontario’s energy efficiency potential.  The two-part report found that a 15% increase in the efficiency of natural gas use in the next 10 years would increase the province’s GDP by $5.5 billion, create 34,000 new jobs and shave close to $975 million off the provincial and federal deficits, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5.5%. But to get there — and beyond — the study suggests we need to free up utilities to be conservation champions, change the way we build with a focus on “net zero” energy structures, and increase payments for efficiency.  

TAF contributed a $35,000 grant towards this project.

Buy green

It seems like the average wallet is now four inches thick thanks to those “loyalty” cards retailers use to keep you coming back for more.  But every Toronto wallet should have one card in particular: the Live Green card.  This card will entitle you to special discounts at some of our greenest shops, restaurants and venues. There are great deals on everything from bicycles to beer, and it’s also a great way to discover eco-friendly services.  Carbon neutral paper shredding, eco moving supplies or an organic personal chef anyone?

Check out
the ClimateSpark video and learn more about our successful challenge

ClimateSpark Challenge a big success

Six months, 61 entries and thousands of online interactions later, we were excited to announcesome of the winners of the ClimateSpark Social Venture Challenge at the jam-packed Launch Gala on Feb. 7th.  The Toronto Community Foundation announced that it was splitting its $50,000 Green Innovation Award between ZooShare for its “zoo poo” biogas proposal and Young Urban Farmers for their urban shared agriculture initiative.  TAF also found zoo poo too good to resist and announced $250,000 in financing for the venture, while also providing a $150,000 two-year grant to Summerhill’s Shuttle program designed to get commuters to drive less.  In pitching a panel of investors with $7250,000 earmarked for climate smart social ventures, all ten of our finalists made a strong case for support and there may well be further announcements in the months to come. 

Above: Rahul Bhardwaj (right), President and CEO of the Toronto Community Foundation presents Daniel Bida of ZooShare with one of the two Green Innovation Awards.

We often share project findings and insights through our newly redesigned blog.
Be sure to subscribe.

Helping solar shine

A TAF mantra is “monitor, measure and report.”  That is the foundation of the SolarCity Partnership program developed by TAF, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority and the City of Toronto, which was designed to improve the design, installation and maintenance of large solar thermal and photovoltaic systems.  More than a dozen case studies have now been posted to the SCTAP website (www.solarcitypartnership.ca).  The site also has research reports on thermal and PV system performance and issues as well as an updated Best Practices Guide.  Knowledge is power!

Toronto's Green Standard for buildings will be reviewed later this year.

New York tackles building emissions

The math is pretty compelling: 75% of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings.  Reducing energy use in the 16,000 largest properties in the city could save building owners and tenants $700 million in energy costs and reduce GHG emissions by roughly 2 million tonnes.  But the only effective way to achieve these outcomes is to address energy use in existing buildings.  That’s why under the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, all NYC buildings over 10,000 square feet must report publicly each year on their energy use.  These buildings will also be required to conduct energy audits every 10 years with a requirement to act on the most economically viable recommendations.