Community Energy Planning (CEP):

Implementing Embedded Energy Solutions


Why is Toronto Focused on CEP?

Toronto is growing rapidly – over 50,000 condominium units have been added south of Bloor Street since 2000 and the City has the most high-rise buildings under construction in North America. In particular, Toronto is growing vertically – development is occurring predominantly through intensification of built-up areas.

"A town on a city block"

To put this in perspective, a single, large, multi-building, mixed-use development can add 5,000 – 8,000 residents, which equates to the population of a small Ontario town like Gananoque or Kirkland Lake. The development of a land -use plan for a small town of this size would generally include an energy plan to address the key considerations in providing energy to these communities.

The challenges presented by such intensification in a City as large as Toronto, particularly increasing peak electricity demand, must be managed to ensure adequate provision of services. Furthermore, extreme weather leaves energy systems vulnerable to disruption, and growth may be limited by available infrastructure capacity. Community Energy Planning seeks to address the opportunities in such challenges in order to achieve the following benefits:

Economic Benefit

  • Energy dollars are retained in the local economy
  • Private investment is leveraged for energy projects
  • System-scale infrastructure costs are avoided
  • New construction occurs within available infrastructure capacity    

Energy Benefit

  • Pressure on existing infrastructure is reduced and reliability is improved
  • Resilience to area-wide power outages is strengthened

Environmental Benefit 

  • Resources are used more efficiently and emissions are reduced  


What is CEP? 

Community Energy Planning (CEP) is an area-based approach to energy planning that models energy needs for existing and future development. The objective of CEP is to integrate energy considerations, including the energy components in water, solid waste and transportation choices, early into the land use planning process and seize opportunities for the following embedded energy solutions:

Conservation & Peak Demand Reduction

  • Conservation reduces emissions and generates cost savings.
  • Reducing peak demand takes pressure off of existing infrastructure and makes capacity available for new development.


  • Natural-gas fired generators for backup power can also allow residents to remain at home and businesses remain open in the event of a power outage. Revenue can be earned through enrollment in the provincial demand response program.

Powering Growth

  • Highest efficiency local energy solutions such as renewables, combined heat and power, and district energy provide efficient ways to facilitate growth in areas with limited electricity supply.

Community Energy Plans are designed to be applicable to a particular area and would inform Precinct Plans or Secondary Plans in the same way that other supporting studies do. Recommendations from the Community Energy Plan inform area policies.

Community Energy Plans often include:

  • Building development scenarios
  • Expected energy performance of buildings
  • Featured technology solutions
  • Recommendations and next steps for implementation


Environment & Energy and City Planning – Energy Strategy Policy

The Environment and Energy Division collaborated with City Planning to create a policy that requires developers in CEP areas to submit an Energy Strategy as part of a complete development application. The Energy Strategy addresses opportunities for embedded energy solutions that pertain to a particular development. The EED provides the scope, reviews the strategy, and works with the developer on implementation. The first Energy Strategy was submitted in 2014 as part of a development application in the Lawrence-Allen CEP area.           

Which Areas Present Opportunities for CEP? 

Centres and Avenues  

Toronto's Official Plan policies direct a substantial amount of growth to areas known as the Avenues and the Centres, in particular around rapid transit nodes and corridors. 

Areas of Development Intensification

Many areas in Toronto are intensifying, some are being completely redeveloped, and others are seeing both trends. Particularly in the Downtown core and the Waterfront, the scale of development intensification is significant.

Academic and Healthcare Campuses

Toronto has numerous hospital, college and university campuses, many of which are very large and consume significant amounts of energy. They are often the primary landowner and tend to plan for long-term operation, which enhances prospects for CEP.

Industrial/Commercial Parks

With diverse energy requirements and often substantial energy consumption, employment areas also present opportunities for CEP.

Energy Plans

Map of CEP areas.



Other Resources