Most major sources of carbon emissions are similar across all six GTHA regions. But innovative emissions-reducing solutions are being applied in every part of the GTHA, and solutions that work in one region could be applied to other regions as well.
From Durham, for the GTHA
Waste Emissions Reductions
Waste is responsible for about four per cent of GTHA emissions
Durham achieved a 65 per cent waste diversion in 2017 – the third best rate in Ontario and higher than any other GTHA municipality. Durham Region operates a two-stream recycling program which collects paper materials and containers separately, and may reduce contamination of recycling. This may help keep recycled material free from contamination, allowing more to be properly recycled. Although waste represents a relatively small portion of overall emissions, getting to carbon neutrality will require addressing waste diversion rates in all GTHA municipalities, and Durham is a leader in this area.
The Durham region also contains the Durham York Energy Centre. As this waste-to-energy plant produces electricity and waste heat, its carbon impact could be improved if the waste heat was also used to provide heating for adjacent industry facilities.
From Halton, for the GTHA
Financing Emissions Reductions
Natural gas for heating contributes 94.5 per cent of the building sector emissions in the GTHA.
Oakville-based company BerQ RNG produces renewable natural gas from Ontario’s food waste. In 2019, TAF invested $1.15 million in a 15-year project with BerQ to install and operate new refining equipment. Not only will this investment reduce carbon emissions by displacing fossil fuels, it will demonstrate the business case for renewable natural gas.
This project has the potential to influence policy and lead to wider GTHA uptake of renewable natural gas technology. Climate solutions that can be applied across the GTHA make for exciting investment opportunities that can accelerate the pace of emissions reductions.
From Hamilton, for the GTHA
Opportunities in Industry
Industrial emissions contribute 18.9 per cent to the GTHA’s overall emissions.
Partnership will be central to tackling industrial emissions, and ensuring a just transition for industry workers and their families. The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, with the support of a TAF grant, is advancing the reduction of emissions through recovery of industrial waste heat. The chamber is conducting a project that will map out the sources of waste heat along Hamilton’s industrial waterfront, which could lead to implementation of waste-heat to energy applications that will reduce industrial emissions.
From Peel, for the GTHA
Transportation emissions are rising in the GTHA, including on a per capita basis. They have risen from 16.0 megatonnes in 2015, to 16.6 megatonnes in 2017.
With the help of a 2017 grant from TAF, Peel is reducing transportation emissions from delivery vehicles. By working with businesses to shift deliveries from peak hours to off-peak hours throughout the region, emissions are reduced, and air quality and commuter’s quality of life is improved by less congestion on major roadways at peak times while maintaining a high quality level of on-time delivery service.
Solutions like the off-peak delivery pilot don’t require new technology, just new approaches, partnerships and priorities that leverage the multiple benefits of emissions-reducing behaviours. And, the great success of projects like this pilot can lead to similar solutions being applied in other parts of the GHTA.
From Toronto, for the GTHA
Standards that Work
In three GTHA regions, buildings are the largest source of emissions.
Through the Toronto Green Standard and the Zero Emissions Building Framework for Toronto, new private and city-owned buildings are required to meet environmental and efficiency standards in order to receive planning approval. As of 2017, 1,500 new buildings were built in line with the required standards for energy efficiency and emissions reductions.
Toronto is one of the fastest growing cities in North America. Policies like the Toronto Green Standard have allowed the population of the city to grow without increasing its emissions between 2015 and 2017, and these standards can be adopted by other GTHA regions to instantly create a clear pathway to improving the long-term efficiency of all new buildings.
From York, for the GTHA
Developing Best Practices
Even as the GTHA’s population continues to grow, emissions from buildings are decreasing from 23.6 megatonnes in 2015 to 21.0 megatonnes in 2017. Low-carbon new buildings is a part of that solution.
The City of Markham is working with Mattamy Homes and Enwave to design the largest net-zero neighbourhood in Ontario. Supported by a TAF grant, the project will create 400 homes that are anchored by a district geothermal heating system.
This Markham neighbourhood will prove the case for geothermal community energy systems across the GTHA. The lessons learned from the project in Markham can be applied elsewhere in the region and beyond to accelerate the uptake of this low-carbon solution.