Toronto, ON —Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan, announced today by Premier Kathleen Wynne, includes a $900 million investment in energy efficiency retrofits in social housing and private apartments. The value of this investment is three-fold: improving living conditions for residents, creating benefits for the environment, and reducing utility costs for Toronto’s social housing providers.

Successful social housing retrofits already underway in Toronto are demonstrating significant and tangible benefits. Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF) and Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) are currently investing $4.2 million in energy efficiency upgrades for seven TCHC buildings, averaging 45 years in age. TCHC is also investing $1.3 million for additional repairs.

Through the retrofit program, TCHC is accelerating high-impact upgrades such as low flow toilets, high-efficiency boilers and lighting upgrades to increase energy performance, lower operating costs and ultimately improve the living conditions and comfort of more than 1,200 households. The retrofits are projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in these buildings by 30 percent, and lower TCHC utility bills by 20 percent. This joint TCHC/TAF project won the Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Award for Environmental Excellence in April 2016.

The retrofits are part of TCHC’s 10-year capital repair plan for its aging buildings. Since 2013, TCHC has completed more than 25,000 capital repairs, with many providing direct environmental benefits such as upgraded boilers/furnaces for 22,400 residents and new energy-efficient windows for 15,000 residents. TCHC estimates that once all repairs are completed, GHG emissions from its buildings can be reduced by a conservative 80,796 tonnes of CO2 by 2025, a one-third reduction from 2014 levels (245,853 tonnes).

With most of Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions originating in cities, and half our urban emissions coming from buildings, investing in energy efficiency retrofits is a critical component of the Province’s Climate Change Action Plan. With the shared benefits for residents and the City, focusing retrofit resources on our aging social housing buildings is a great place to start.

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Increasing utility rates have increased TCHC’s utility costs by tens of millions of dollars over the past five years. This year at least $142 million or 11 percent of our total budget is earmarked for utility bills. The 20 percent savings in utility costs from these energy retrofits will be directly reinvested in additional repairs to preserve our social housing stock for generations to come.

—Greg Spearn, President and CEO (Interim), Toronto Community Housing

The climate action plan targets the biggest sources of emissions in Ontario: natural gas and transportation fuels. The key to success will be to support and involve citizens, businesses, and local governments in implementing the range of solutions and opportunities and reaping the benefits of a low-carbon economy.

—Julia Langer, CEO, The Atmospheric Fund

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About The Atmospheric Fund

Founded in 1991, TAF’s mission is to invest in urban solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. To date, TAF has invested more than $60 million, helping the City of Toronto save more than $55 million on its energy bills while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent below 1990 levels – exceeding the 2012 Kyoto target. For more information about TAF’s projects and partners, please visit taf.ca.

About Toronto Community Housing

Toronto Community Housing is Canada’s largest social housing provider, and home to nearly 60,000 households with low and moderate incomes. Toronto Community Housing is committed to identifying best practices and developing standards for energy efficiency across its portfolio, and to educating staff and residents on its green initiatives. Visit torontohousing.ca/green for more information.

Media Contacts

  • Julia Langer, Toronto Atmospheric Fund | 416-393-6382 | jlanger@taf.ca
  • Lisa Murray, Toronto Community Housing | 416-981-4252 | media@torontohousing.ca

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