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Toronto gets a new Green Standard

Hybrid meadow/grassland community. Two views of Robertson Building on Spadina.

For the first time since 2010, the city's got a new standard for just how green all our new buildings must be.

The new Toronto Green Standard divides buildings into two tiers. Requirements for the first tier are mandatory, and include energy efficiency targets 15 per cent higher than the Ontario Building Code and tree planting that’s in line with the city’s 40 per cent canopy.

Tier two goes much further, mandating, for instance, that wiring must be roughed in to every level of parking, allowing the installation of electric vehicle charging at any or every parking space, energy efficiency 25 per cent higher than the building code, and the so-called re-use option, which encourages developers to retain facades, walls and floors of existing buildings not listed on the heritage register rather than demolish them wholesale. The goal is not only to preserve the city’s built form, but to stem the tide of building materials into our landfills.

"Adaptive reuse is a great thing," says Joe D’Abramo, the city’s director of zoning and environmental planning, "and we’ll give them credit if they do that."

Developers who check off at least eight requirements on the tier 2 list are eligible to receive a 20 per cent discount on their development charges, which can amount to more than $10,000 per unit.

One final change that will please some and rile others: New buildings in the inner city, defined as east of the Humber, south of Lawrence, and west of Victoria Park, now have to provide bicycle parking at the rate of one per residential unit. Outside those limits, the rate is 0.75 per unit.

The new Green Standard goes into effect in January.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Joe D’Abramo
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