Toronto Green Standard Updates and What They Mean For You
Shortly before the New Year, the City of Toronto adopted its Net Zero by 2040 Climate Strategy. With the 2040 Strategy, the City is aiming for incremental greenhouse gas reductions (from 1990 levels) as follows:
- 30% reductions by 2020
- 45% reductions by 2025
- 65% reductions by 2030
- Net Zero by 2040
According to the City’s news release, “Toronto’s community-wide emissions must be cut in half in the next 10 years to meet the 2030 target of a 65 per cent emissions reduction.”
Part of the 2040 Strategy involves the Toronto Green Standard, which represents Toronto’s sustainable design standards for new private and city-owned developments. The Strategy accelerated the TGS implementation dates for greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) limits to 2025 and 2028. Buildings constructed on or after 2028 will now need to be designed to produce near-zero emissions to meet the dates of the Strategy.
To ensure our clients and partners can comply with the Toronto Green Standard, we’ve outlined the various tiers and requirements for each yearly target below.
The Toronto Green Standard Tiers & Targets
May 1, 2022
In just a few short months, Version 4 of the Toronto Green Standard comes into effect for new planning applications. This will make the performance requirements of Tier 2 of the current version mandatory.
Meeting these requirements can be achieved under current design paradigms but will require additional attention to be sure that appropriate measures are taken to address the performance of glazing and opaque wall systems.
Curtainwall and window wall framing systems with minimal thermal breaks, as well as designs that include minimally insulated spandrel sections, will likely no longer comply.
Version 5 of the TGS will come into effect for new planning applications a year earlier than initially forecast. As with the previous iteration, the tiers will shift to make the previous Tier 2 mandatory.
These requirements are thought of as “Tier 3” under the current standard and tend to only be applied to the highest performing projects pursuing optional beyond-code certifications.
Meeting this mandate will require a very intentional approach to building envelope design. Glazing areas will need to be intentionally located with thoughts to passive solar gains, and triple-pane glazing systems will become the norm for residential construction.
Greenhouse Gas Intensity (GGI) limits will also require that some electrification of heating systems takes place, shifting the operating costs more heavily towards electricity and away from natural gas combustion.
Consideration will also need to be given to envelope airtightness, as it is likely that whole-building air leakage testing will become a mandatory requirement.
The final update to the TGS will come into effect, making net zero-ready designs the mandatory minimum.
Heating systems will need to be almost completely electrified, and optimization between envelope performance and mechanical systems costs will become standard practice for project success.
Wall systems will need to shift away from a curtainwall or window wall paradigm to achieve the required thermal performance, and triple-pane glazing will be standard for all typologies.
How Entuitive Can Help
To meet these targets, developers must start incorporating these requirements into their planning today. If you’ve never been involved in the design of a net-zero emissions building, you will be required to do so in six short years.
Entuitive’s integrated Advanced Performance Analysis and Building Envelope teams can provide the necessary simulation and optimization services to support our clients in achieving these more stringent targets.
We are already engaged in master planning exercises, looking at projects with long time horizons to determine what systems (and associated costs) they need to assume to meet these requirements.
We are committed to helping our clients maintain their desired architectural expression while achieving these requirements. To this end we continue to research and explore new methods for the design and construction of high-performance building enclosures. We similarly continue to develop new methods for optimizing the energy performance and capital costs of zero emissions design, borrowing elements from machine learning, surrogate modelling, and computational design.