Climate action continues in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. In our recent grant intake period, The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) awarded two new grants to low-carbon projects by the City of Markham and ACORN Institute Canada. These leading-edge projects will showcase new paths to build net-zero neighbourhoods and engage tenant communities in building retrofits. TAF has also recruited three new regional practitioners to our Grants and Programs Committee to better represent the new communities we serve.
New GTHA grants
City of Markham: Berczy Glen Geothermal Community Energy System – $225,100
To reach net-zero construction standards by 2030, we need to transition away from natural gas for heating buildings and water. The City of Markham’s sustainability mandate includes net-zero new development but does not include a clear path to electrification for new neighbourhoods.
That’s why TAF supports a trailblazing City of Markham project to research, design and eventually build a net-zero neighbourhood of approximately 400 homes anchored by a district geothermal system. Executed in collaboration with Mattamy Homes and Enwave, the project will be the largest net-zero neighbourhood in Ontario. The best practices and lessons learned from this project will help advance geothermal community energy systems across the GTHA.
ACORN Institute Canada: Co-Benefits of Carbon Reduction Based Tenant Engagement – $30,000
Post-war multi-residential buildings form the backbone of the GTHA’s housing stock. Fortunately, a number of government initiatives are set to reduce emissions through large-scale retrofit programs, many of which are in low-income apartment buildings. Changing behaviour is always a challenge, but effective tenant engagement practices can improve retrofit performance by 5 to 20 per cent.
ACORN will develop best practices for engaging tenants in building retrofits, bridging gaps between tenants, landlords, governments, and environmental organizations. ACORN will co-create approaches with the tenants that focus on retrofit co-benefits (e.g. local jobs and training opportunities and better indoor air quality). These steps will improve individual energy efficiency outcomes and build broader support for retrofit projects across the GTHA.
TAF’s Grants & Programs Committee guides the direction of our grants and internally-led initiatives. To reflect our new regional mandate, we are honoured to welcome three new recruits to our committee. Their expertise, insights, and regional experience will help to shape our granting priorities and provide guidance for our regional outreach activities. The new members are:
- Tamar Heisler – Director, Government & Industry Relations, Alectra Utilities
- Erika Lontoc – Demand Service Management (DSM) Partnerships Manager, Enbridge
- Ryan Ness – Corporate Strategy Lead and Liaison, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)
Stay tuned for more updates from these promising new regional collaborators.
Photo source: Ontario Growth Secretariat, Ministry of Municipal Affairs