Community Energy Planning


Managing Toronto's rapid growth requires a plan to address the additional demand for energy, impacts on infrastructure, vulnerability during power outages, and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Community Energy Planning (CEP) at the City of Toronto identifies opportunities for local energy solutions to address these challenges and to create energy, environmental and local economic benefits.  


What is Community Energy Planning?

Community Energy Planning (CEP) describes how energy is used in communities, and how its use affects the community including energy cost, energy security, and environmental impacts. Community Energy Plans show how designing for sustainable energy supports community objectives of greenhouse gas emissions reduction, local job creation and funds retained in community.

In 2009 the mandate for CEP was established by City Council's adoption of the Power to Live Green: Toronto's Sustainable Energy Strategy.

CEP considers energy early in the land-use and infrastructure planning process for an area, and identifies opportunities to integrate local energy solutions at the building and neighbourhood-scale. The key issues addressed by CEP are:

Climate Change

Meeting future GHG reduction targets will require efficient buildings and low-carbon energy solutions at the building and neighbourhood-scale.


As Toronto continues to grow, energy conservation and local sources of low-carbon energy can alleviate constraints in energy infrastructure and reduce GHG emissions.  

Energy Resilience

Backup power solutions for residential buildings and recreation centres can mitigate vulnerability to area-wide power outages associated with extreme weather.

Local Economic Benefit

Local energy solutions help keep and recirculate energy dollars in the economy, stimulate investment, and create jobs.



CEP is typically focused on areas where significant development and growth is expected, so Community Energy Plans are often prepared as part of Secondary Plans, Precinct Plans or Avenue Studies led by City Planning. These areas, defined by the City of Toronto's Official Plan, include:        

Centres and Avenues 

  • Toronto's five Centres (Downtown, Yonge & Eglinton, Scarborough, Etobicoke, and North York) designated in the provincial Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, are areas of substantial, high-density residential and commercial development.
  • Mid-rise development along the Avenues, especially those with planned higher-order transit, are expected to accommodate a substantial amount of Toronto's growth (e.g. Eglinton Avenue).


Mixed Use Areas and Regeneration Areas

  • Mixed Use Areas throughout the city are important locations for diverse uses and they provide they can help transition between higher density centres and lower density Neighbourhoods.
  • Regeneration Areas tend to be large tracts of underutilized lands with significant development potential, such as parts of the Central Waterfront, including the Port Lands.

Institutional Areas

Academic, Healthcare and Government campuses tend to be large and consume significant amounts of energy. They also are often the primary landowner and plan for long-term operation, which enhances prospects for innovative energy solutions.

However, CEP also takes place in areas that are not expected to change significantly, such as neighbourhoods. Despite Toronto's growth, the current building stock is responsible for the vast majority of energy use, so retrofits to existing houses, apartments and commercial buildings will also be essential to meeting emissions reduction targets. 

Completed Plans

        2010                   2012                                2014                               2015                   2016  


  • 2010 - Lawrence-Allen Revitalization Study Community Energy Plan
  • 2012 - Mimico 20/20 Revitalization Community Energy Study
  • 2014 - Scarborough Centre Community Energy Plan Report and Summary  
  • 2015 - Westwood Theatre Lands Community Energy Plan
  • 2016 - Lower Yonge Precinct Community Energy Plan



        TOcore:Planning Downtown                  Mount Dennis          Consumers Next


  • TOcore: Planning Downtown  
  • Mount Dennis Community Energy Plan (Draft)
  • Consumers Next Community Energy Plan

The map below shows areas where Community Energy Plans are complete, in progress, and under consideration.   

CEP Areas in Toronto

Click for interactive map

Backup Power

Following the 2013 flood and ice storm, the Environment & Energy Division began exploring opportunities to help improve resilience to area-wide power outages in multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs), both existing and new, so that residents can remain in their buildings safely with a degree of comfort for extended periods of time.

Improving Resilience in MURBs

Cost-effective opportunities to improve MURB resilience include backing up water pumps, passenger elevators, hot water boilers, and common areas.  

Work undertaken includes a background study and business cases completed in collaboration with the Hidi Group, as well as guidelines for implementation. 


Net Zero Large Developments

New developments at large sites present opportunities not typically available for smaller, infill developments. Multiple buildings invite consideration for energy sharing networks, which can leverage large-scale renewable energy sources as a platform for net zero. Also, as large sites often require new infrastructure (e.g. roads, water, and sewers), there is an opportunity to co-locate energy solutions with infrastructure, such as heat recovery from sewers or large geo-exchange fields.      

  • Net Zero Opportunities for Large Developments (Coming soon!)

Energy Strategy 

The Environment & Energy Division collaborated with City Planning to create a policy that requires developers to submit an Energy Strategy as part of a complete application.  

The Energy Strategy asks developers to consider energy early in the development process to identify opportunities for innovative energy solutions, including moving towards net zero through energy conservation and low-carbon energy sources, as well as ways to strengthen resilience.   

The Environment & Energy Division is responsible for preparing the Terms of Reference, reviewing submissions, and providing feedback. The first Energy Strategy was submitted in 2014 as part of a development application in the Lawrence-Allen CEP area.