Worldwide, damage due to climate change, storm damage and flooding has totalled more than 6 trillion since 1980, with weather-related insurance claims increasing on average by 11% per year. Meanwhile, thanks to a changing climate, it is predicted that Toronto will have hotter, drier summers - with many more days of extreme heat - along with wetter, stormier winters.
The City of Toronto established Toronto Atmospheric Fund in 1991 to focus on reducing local greenhouse gas and air pollution emissions. Working with a $23 million endowment from the sale of the long-closed Langstaff Jail Farm, TAF operates as an arms-length agency at no cost to the City. TAF helps the City achieve the targets set out in the Council-approved climate plan and supports energy cost savings through energy efficiency. TAF-supported projects such as a streetlighting retrofit, traffic light LED conversion, and building retrofits have generated $55 million in savings for the city to date.
TAF deploys three programs - Incubating Climate Solutions, Mobilizing Financial Capital, and Mobilizing Social Capital - to address Toronto's major emissions sources: buildings and transportation. Based on a careful study of Toronto's emissions profile, TAF has a strong interest in energy efficiency retrofits in buildings, electric vehicles for fleets, efficient transportation of goods, natural gas alternatives like geothermal, and social innovation to support emission reduction strategies.
TAF was nominated for the 2013 Scotiabank EcoLiving Innovator's Award. The nomination recognized the Energy Savings Performance Agreement as a game-changer in the energy efficiency retrofit market.
Retrofitting the TAF grants program
Have you heard? This year, we at TAF have been re-designing our granting program for the first time in 10 years. Our goal – find out what we’re doing right, what can be improved, and how we can use this program to get the best outcomes for GHG and air pollution reduction in Toronto. We’d like to thank our community for its generosity in providing extremely useful advice during our review process, including 17 community leaders who provided in-depth interviews, grant applicants from 2008-2012 who responded to our online survey, and the 20 thought leaders and local community representatives who took a full day out of their busy lives to attend a grant re-design charrette in September. We will be compiling all these results along with some background research done by The Next Practice to create a new program design which will be presented to the TAF Board of Directors in December. Stay tuned for details on TAF’s new granting program in early 2014.
Deep energy retrofit gets underway at 501 Alliance
Situated near Weston Road and Black Creek, 501 Alliance Avenue is a former sporting goods factory built in the 1960s. It is now undertaking a deep green retrofit, targeting LEED Gold Certification. Upgrades include a 250 KW rooftop solar installation, a geothermal heating and cooling system, heat recovery ventilation, and high efficiency LED lighting and adaptive controls. TAF is partnering with the building owner, 501 Alliance Investments Inc., to monitor the energy savings and prepare a detailed case study documenting project outcomes and lessons learned as part of the TowerWise Program. Company president Elliot Strashin is passionate about restoring older buildings. “The greenest building is the one that already exists,” says Strashin, referring to the emissions avoided by repurposing a building instead of demolishing it and building from scratch. A case study will be published in 2015 following a year of performance monitoring.