HPAC Magazine

Toronto Considering an Accelerated Climate Strategy

November 29, 2021 | By Logan Caswell

If adopted by City Council, Toronto will be one of only three big cities in North America with a net zero by 2040 target.

Toronto Mayor John Tory has announced a new Net Zero strategy to help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Toronto to net zero by 2040 – 10 years earlier than initially proposed.

The strategy would also look to achieve a 45% reduction in GHG levels by 2025, on the way to a 65% reduction by 2030.

If adopted by City Council, Toronto will be one of only three big cities in North America with a net zero by 2040 target. The report is being studied and could be approved by December 15.

The existing TransformTO Net Zero Strategy provides a roadmap of actions to achieve reductions in GHG emissions from 1990 levels. Council’s approval of the Strategy would trigger new and accelerated implementation actions to drive down emissions, particularly in the short term, and establish the trajectory needed to reach net zero by 2040.

Two of the key areas being looked include:

  • Accelerate a rapid and significant reduction in natural gas use.
  • Establish performance targets for existing buildings across Toronto.

Toronto is currently on track to achieve its 2020 GHG emissions reduction target of 30% from 1990 levels. Community-wide emissions have decreased by 38% since 1990, despite a significant growth in population.

The primary sources of GHG emissions in Toronto are homes and buildings (57%), mainly from burning natural gas to heat space and water. City programs, policies and strategies already in place to reduce emissions from key sources include:

  • The Net Zero Existing Buildings Strategy to significantly reduce the use of fossil fuels in all existing residential, commercial and institutional buildings within the next 30 years. The strategy will see the City implement voluntary performance measures and targets initially, intending to begin the transition to mandatory requirements in 2025.
  • The Net Zero Carbon Plan to reduce emissions from more than 2,500 City-owned buildings (approximately 9.5 million square metres) by at least 80 per cent by 2040.
  • An updated Toronto Green Standard (TGS) (Version 4) which continues to raise the bar to all while eliminating the use of natural gas in new buildings. For more than 10 years the TGS has helped to transform the market resulting in 169,000 tonnes of avoided carbon dioxide emissions annually.
  • The Green Will Initiative, which sees the City partner with large building portfolio owners across Toronto to accelerate emissions reductions from buildings.
  • The BetterHomesTO and the Home Energy Loan Programs, provide resources and support for homeowners, including low-interest loans for home energy retrofits.




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