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Toronto Green Standard Increases Performance Requirements



On May 1st, 2018, new and more stringent requirements of the Toronto Green Standard came into effect. The TGS is a set of performance guidelines that promotes sustainable development and building design in new developments across the Greater Toronto Area. The TGS is the most stringent building code in Canada, and is periodically tightened in order to achieve near-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Performance standards are based on exceeding the 2012 Ontario Building Code energy efficiency standards. With the new standards in effect,  efficiency targets have increased to 25% from 15%. In addition to setting minimum required performance thresholds, the TGS also provides an incentive in the form of government rebates for buildings that meet higher voluntary thresholds of building performance.


There are 3 key performance metrics that developers must address in order to meet or exceed the TGS; greenhouse gas intensity, total energy use intensity, and thermal energy demand intensity. With tighter standards in place, developers will face a greater challenge when it comes to planning and designing their projects to achieve these metrics. To improve their compliance with the TGS, developers can look at installing a geothermal exchange system instead of a conventional HVAC system to provide heating and cooling for their buildings. The inclusion of a geothermal heating and cooling system in most cases improves building efficiency so dramatically that it nearly always exceeds the requirements for enhanced building codes and building efficiency incentives.


Geothermal exchange systems help buildings exceed greenhouse gas and total energy use intensity criteria and become eligible for Toronto Green Standard tier 2 development charge rebates. In addition to a geothermal exchange system, improvements to the building envelope will further increase building efficiency and allow the developer to reach higher tiers of the TGS. Taking these steps, developers can reduce operational costs, improve building marketability, and make a positive and lasting impact on the environment.

To learn more about the new TGS standards, click here.

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