Population density4,428 people per square kilometre
2015 carbon emissions14.9 megatonnes
2016 carbon emissions14.1 megatonnes
2017 carbon emissions14.0 megatonnes
The City of Toronto: higher density, lower transportation emissions
Though Toronto has the lowest per capita emissions of any municipality in the GTHA, the per capita emissions from buildings are in line with other parts of the region. 56 per cent of Toronto’s emissions are from buildings, including residential, commercial, industry, and institutional buildings.
Toronto’s high population density — nearly four times higher than Peel, the next densest region in the GTHA — results in significantly lower per capita transportation emissions.
Toronto’s Pathway to Carbon Neutrality
Natural gas (most of it used for building heating) is responsible for more than half of Toronto’s emissions. While some GTHA municipalities have
mainly single-family homes, Toronto has a high proportion of multi-unit residential buildings, at 64 per cent. So, retrofit policies and programs need to focus on multi-unit residential buildings to make the largest impact on the housing stock.
Although Toronto already has the lowest per capita emissions from transportation in the region, achieving carbon neutrality will still require significant changes to Toronto’s transportation. Critically, the changes must include shifting to electric vehicles for both passenger and freight transit, and supporting that shift with city planning. Lowering per capita emissions from transportation further can be achieved through investing in public transit, which creates a modal shift.
SCALABLE SOLUTION FROM TORONTO, FOR THE GTHA
Standards That Work
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.
Read more about TAF’s work developing policy solutions like the Toronto Green Standard.