Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon
April 2015


TAF puts carbon policy under the microscope

Cover of report "Low Carbon Policy Priorities: Best Practices and Key Opportunities for Significant Emission Reductions"

Because we know that policy reform is one of the most effective triggers for significant carbon reduction in cities, TAF undertook a detailed assessment to find out which policy changes might be most effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Toronto. The result is a new report titled Low Carbon Policy Priorities: Best Practices and Key Opportunities for Significant Emission Reductions. The paper reviews six case studies about TAF’s past policy granting – like support for Ontario’s coal phase-out and for increased funding for public transit – and leverages the experience into a set of 12 lessons learned regarding excellence in advancing policy change. The report goes on to analyze a variety of municipal, provincial and federal low-carbon policy options, identifying four key policies that warrant immediate attention. If you guessed carbon pricing is at the top of the list, you are right. To see the other three top priority policies, plus commentary on other key policy options, check out the full report.


Innovative technology used at Rouge Valley Co-op

View of Rouge Valley Co-op

The latest energy-efficiency retrofit site for the TowerWise Energy Efficiency Demonstration (TWEED) is a 13-storey residential building with 126 suites, located at 1095 Neilson Road in Scarborough. With financing from TAF, Rouge Valley Co-operative Homes Inc. will be undertaking a multi-measure retrofit, including demand-controlled ventilation, a building automation system, LED lighting and low-flow toilets. As one of 10 sites included in the TWEED advanced monitoring initiative, this site will also demonstrate an air-source gas absorption heat pump. This innovative technology harvests ambient energy from the atmosphere, achieving efficiencies well over 100%. Unlike a conventional heat pump that is powered by electricity, this one uses low-cost natural gas. This will be the first demonstration of this technology for domestic hot water production in a cold climate.


Transformation Toronto 2050 takes flight

Attendees watching presentation at the 2015 Dan Leckie Forum Image attribution: Jimmy Lu

The 2015 Dan Leckie Forum – TAF’s signature annual exploration of key climate solutions – introduced Transformation Toronto 2050, a new program aimed at creating a pathway to Toronto’s target of 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050. This kick-off event was attended by representatives from different City divisions and community organizations. The group heard three presentations to get the conversation started. Attendees then provided advice on ways to approach the long-range GHG modelling task while incorporating considerations of other key City goals, such as public health, mobility, and economic and social development, considering who should be involved and how they should be engaged. Stay tuned for more info on this initiative, which will be considered by Toronto City Council on May 5, 2015.

City Desk

A new way to pay for improvements to apartment buildings

Hi-RIS logo

For a limited time, the City of Toronto is offering low-cost financing to support energy-efficiency and water-conservation improvements in apartment buildings.

The High-rise Retrofit Improvement Support Program (Hi-RIS) is a three-year pilot, operated as part of the City of Toronto’s Tower Renewal Program. Now in its second year, Hi-RIS has available on a rolling basis a little over half of its initial $10 million funding.

Hi-RIS offers low-interest, fixed-rate loans with payment terms of five to 20 years, which are longer than many traditional financing options. Through Hi-RIS, property owners can pay for retrofits over time, through installments on their property tax bill. Energy savings help to offset the costs, and property owners may be eligible for up to $100,000 in incentives from utility companies.

The Hi-RIS program is available to eligible apartment buildings of five or more storeys located in the City of Toronto. To learn more about Hi-RIS or to submit an application, please visit Tower Renewal Hi-RIS Program, email tower@toronto.ca or call 416-397-5257.

Climate Cities

Vancouver reaches for the top

View of downtown Vancouver from the Lookout Tower at Harbour Centre, August 8, 2011

Just ahead of the Renewable Cities Global Learning Forum scheduled to take place in Vancouver on May 13–15, Vancouver City Council adopted a motion committing the City to transitioning to 100% renewable energy. Currently, Vancouver generates 32% of its energy sources from renewables. A staff report later this year will consider a target date for the 100% renewable goal.

Image credits: TowerWise/Rouge Valley Co-op: Google Street View; @TAF/Transformation Toronto 2050: Jimmy Lu; Climate CIties/Vancouver: By MagnusL3D (http://www.flickr.com/photos/magnusl3d/6044910841/) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.