Tower Renewal Blog

Tower Renewal Energy Workshop

There are global efforts underway to quantifiably reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2050. The Paris Agreement, and subsequent national strategies, have catalyzed policies such as the Ontario Climate Change Action Plan, which provides targets for reducing GHG emissions over the next five years in pursuit of a low carbon economy. Post-war apartment towers have been found to be among Ontario’s most energy intensive buildings, with data suggesting they require as much as 25% more energy per square metre than a single detached house. Due to the highly resilient nature of apartment towers and their transit-supportive densities, they are well-suited for renewable lifecycle initiatives. In addition to reducing GHG emissions, Tower Renewal is key in building healthy homes and adaptive community resiliency in the face of the potential effects of climate change.

On October 20, 2016, the Tower Renewal Partnership and Evergreen co-hosted a Tower Renewal Energy workshop with the goal of identifying key steps in achieving climate change mitigation goals on apartment tower sites, through both technical and implementation strategy lenses. Workshop participants included building owners, utility providers and municipal partners– key stakeholders invested in reducing energy consumption and improving housing quality through the region’s post-war building stock, which is home to over one million residents in the Greater Golden Horseshoe alone.

The goal of the workshop was to share key findings and provide a platform for knowledge sharing among stakeholders. The discussion was organized into three sections including: technical standards and industry, incentives and regulation, and maintaining affordability.

Several critical next steps were developed as a result of these conversations including: building a case for action, financial tool design, developing regional retrofit standards, quantifying social benefits, and identifying post retrofit challenges based on user behavior.