The Atmospheric Fund’s investment strategy is driven by a double bottom line: we invest in initiatives that advance our mandate by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and generating a risk-adjusted market rate of return. The returns help fund TAF’s initiatives to address climate change and air quality; TAF does not receive any funding from the city’s tax base. TAF offers financing to both non-profit and for profit clients, including building owners, real estate developers, renewable energy companies, and other enterprises that support our mandate. TAF’s financing does not follow a rigid template. Rather, we structure our financing to fit your business needs and circumstances. Please read our Financing FAQs to learn more about what we look for. We are happy to discuss potential investments at any time. All transactions are subject to stringent due diligence, are reviewed quarterly by TAF’s Investment Committee and are contingent on TAF Board approval.
Because buildings are the source of approximately half of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, TAF’s investment priority is to accelerate energy-efficient upgrades in large, commercial, industrial and multi-unit residential buildings. Financing includes loans and TAF’s unique, non-debt Energy Savings Performance Agreement (ESPA)
Robert Cooke Co-op saves money, cuts emissions
TAF financed a $740,000 Energy Savings Performance Agreement (ESPA) retrofit for Robert Cooke Co-operative Homes, located in Etobicoke. The investment paid for a new heating and cooling system and high efficiency appliances, including stoves, fridges and low-flush toilets, and hallway lighting. Energy cost savings are $93,000 a year and the building is achieving a 30% reduction in GHGs annually. Read the case study for more information.
YMCA becomes a leader in energy conservation
TAF provided $365,000 in financing to install Legend Power devices in six Toronto-area YMCA buildings. The devices are installed in a facility’s electrical room at the point where power enters a building and optimizes incoming voltage, limiting the amount of energy needed to run equipment. As a result, the combined savings are saving $62,124/year, greenhouse gas emissions have been lowered by 102 tonnes annually, and the life of the equipment has been extended.
A high-rise condo boosts energy efficiency
With a $355,000 loan from TAF, the Board of Directors at a high-rise condominium located on Old Sheppard Avenue in North York decided to implement a major energy-efficiency retrofit. They chose to update the 30-year-old space heating systems and hot water boilers and make-up air units, and are now using 27% less natural gas – even better than the estimated reduction of 25%. The building’s GHG emissions dropped by approximately 23%, an equivalent of 329 tonnes/year.
New Condo Construction
In addition to retrofits, TAF invests in energy-efficient condominium development through our specialized “Green Condo Loan,” which finances the incremental costs of making a condo at least 25% more energy-efficient than the building code requires. The loan is provided to the developer and re-paid by the condominium corporation which benefits from the reduced energy costs.
Tridel leads the way to greener condos
Two years ahead of schedule, Tridel’s 29-story Nuvo II building in Etobicoke repaid its $500,000 Green Condo Loan, received from TAF in 2008. The loan paid for efficiency measures that resulted in a 41% reduction in energy consumption compared to its conventionally built sister building. It saves $125,000 a year in energy costs – 30% more than the annual loan payments. Savings are equivalent to a 550-tonne reduction in yearly greenhouse gas emissions. This was one of Toronto’s first LEED Silver condominiums
Ottawa high-rise aims for LEED Platinum certification
TAF provided a Green Condo Loan toward the construction of “Cathedral Hill” 21-storey high-rise plus townhouse condo by Windmill Development Group in Ottawa. The condo is 43% percent more energy efficient than Ontario Building Code due to energy recovery systems, a high-performance envelope and glazing, a variable refrigerant flow air thermal circulation system, and super-efficient lighting. GHGs are expected to be 30-40% lower than the average condo, and total energy savings over the life of TAF’s loan are predicted to exceed $1.6M.
Green condos in downtown Toronto
TAS DesignBuild took out a $635,000 Green Condo Loan to help pay for $1.2 million in energy-efficiency measures for the 304-suite M5V development on King Street West in downtown Toronto. The energy conservation measures are projected to reduce annual energy costs by $139,000 and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 524 tonnes a year.
TAF develops innovative financing structures to accelerate the adoption of new, low-carbon technologies. Our focus is on removing barriers that companies with new ideas often face such as difficulty accessing capital, clients’ lack of familiarity with new technology, and the absence of a track-record in the marketplace.
Solar Farms in the city
In 2010, TAF approved a $645,000 loan to Pure Energies, a Toronto-based company that installed 40 solar electric systems on homes in new subdivisions, as well as on older houses in and around the Toronto area. The installation of 40 solar systems in the city is predicted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 59 tonnes annually. The long-term potential for solar energy is bright as plenty of rooftop space is available and equipment prices are falling.
Neighbourhoods tap into solar heating
Solar Neighbourhoods was a neighbourhood pilot project launched in 2008 with funding from the Portlands Energy Centre (PEC). In one year, 100 solar thermal systems were installed on residential roofs,including 30 low-income single-family houses owned by Toronto Community Housing. TAF offered participants zero-interest loans for up to a 10 year period,with the interest costs subsidized by the PEC donation. The systems provide approximately 60 tonnes of greenhouse gas reductions annually.
AutoShare secured a $20,000 start-up loan from TAF, which played an important role in its 1998 launch. The loan is long since repaid and the rest is history. AutoShare has since become part of the Enterprise CarShare network.
How do I apply for enterprise financing?
The very first step is to ensure that your project meets our criteria regarding emissions reduction. We ask general questions about the potential GHG reduction impact of a product or service; we are looking for rigorous, accurate calculations that can stand up to scrutiny. Ultimately, we will require formal and verifiable GHG quantification analysis to be performed by a reputable third party. Upon request, we can help you work through how best to determine accurate quantification data. All applications start by discussing your project with Tim Stoate, Vice-President, Impact Investing, at email@example.com; we are happy to discuss potential loans or investments at any time. Transactions are reviewed at quarterly Investment Committee meetings and are subject to full due diligence and board approval.
We are looking for projects that that will result in significant reductions in Toronto’s greenhouse gas and air polluting emissions. All applications for a loan will be analyzed to assess the amount of direct and potential GHG reductions and/or reductions in air pollutants associated with the proposed activities.
While your business doesn’t need to be based in Toronto, the GHG reductions that result from your initiative must be shown to benefit Toronto. For instance, the deployment/implementation of the product or service should occur in the Toronto market.
TAF is interested in any project that has significant potential to advance our climate and air pollution reduction mandate. Based on our understanding of the key sources of emissions in the city, we have six areas of strategic interest:
- Energy efficiency retrofits of mid-sized and large buildings (not single-family residences).
- Products and services that contribute to the energy efficiency of buildings, with a priority on reducing natural gas consumption, which is responsible for most GHG emissions from buildings.
- Energy efficient new construction. We provide financing to cover the incremental costs of energy conservation measures that will make a building at least 25% more efficient than is required in the current building code.
- Products, services and projects that address emissions associated with transportation.
- Development and implementation of clean energy alternatives to offset the use of natural gas, such as solar thermal, geothermal, and waste heat capture.
- Financial innovation initiatives that remove barriers to investment in climate solutions.
TAF offers financing in the range of $150,000 to $2,000,000.
We can use a range of financing arrangements, including operating lines, purchase order financing, senior debt, convertible subordinated debt, and “kickers and sweeteners.” We are flexible and can structure our financing to fit the need.
In addition to demonstrating that your project will significantly lower carbon emissions and/or air contaminants, you should be able to show the following:
- The financial and business proposition must be clearly demonstrated and include: revenue potential as well as potential to attract other financing or investment. We prefer to invest with others, and our partners often have infrastructure and technical know-how. As a first funder, our financing helps you attract additional support.
- The benefits and risks associated with your service/product must be measurable and independently verified.
- The management team and all operational aspects of the business must be relevant and high quality.
- TAF requires a satisfactory covenant or security arrangements.
We do not invest in companies that are in the research stage. We are unlikely to invest in pre-revenue projects, although we may consider providing operating capital by financing purchase orders. We are unlikely to invest as equity or in companies unable to return a reasonable amount of interest relative to the overall expected return.
Successful applicants must be prepared to develop a monitoring plan and report on the direct emissions reduction achievements associated with the activities they undertake with TAF’s support. To the extent possible, final reports must include information about the fuel reductions that have been achieved. For larger projects, TAF may undertake verification analysis to determine how the longer term impact of the project compares to its predicted and verified results. This analysis will be undertaken at our expense and will occur after the project has been implemented to assess its ongoing effectiveness. Co-operation with this type of follow-up impact study will be a requirement of any grant or loan contract.
To discuss your financing proposal, or if you have questions not answered in this section, please contact Tim Stoate, Vice-President, Impact Investing, at 416-393-6368 or firstname.lastname@example.org.