TCHC building retrofit to benefit climate, affordability and neighbourhood

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) and Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) have launched a deep, multi-measure retrofit of 840 Eglinton Avenue West, home to 40 families in Toronto’s Eglinton-Lawrence neighbourhood. The project will cut70 per cent of energy use and 85 per cent of carbon, with building envelope upgrades & fuel-switching heat pumps.

“About 61 per cent of Toronto’s carbon emissions are from buildings and TCHC is Canada’s largest housing provider with 1,900 buildings in its portfolio,” said Mayor John Tory.

“This project is blazing a trail for other housing providers, putting the City of Toronto in a position to begin replicating and scaling projects like this so that we can take strides towards reaching out net-zero emissions targets by 2040.”

The retrofit of a nearly 80-year-old building is the most ambitious retrofit undertaken by TCHC or TAF to date and will create a healthier, more comfortable indoor environment for residents, Tory said.

The redesign is expected to create at least $52,000 in annual utility savings, and 196 job years of local employment, establishing a model for other deep retrofits of similar buildings in TCHC’s portfolio.

Accelerating this approach to building retrofits across the GTA would help the City of Toronto reach their net-zero emissions target by 2040. It will also help to address other key community priorities, including more affordable housing, stimulating local economic activity and increased resilience.

“With the support of multiple levels of government, Torontonians and Ontarians can continue to take action on climate change. At TCHC, we thrive on partnerships like the ones we are highlighting today, with TAF, NRCan and the City of Toronto,” said Jag Sharma, president and CEO, Toronto Community Housing.

“This deep retrofit project is exciting because we are reducing TCHC’s energy costs and carbon footprint, all while modernizing our buildings to improve living conditions for tenants. It is a prime example of how we can apply modern technology to older buildings, bring them up to 21st century standards and be a strong contributor in the fight against climate change.”

Funding is from Natural Resources Canada’s Green Infrastructure Fund ($1.8 million) and TCHC ($5 million). In addition, TAF’s Retrofit Accelerator—a no-cost retrofit service for housing providers in the GTHA—is supporting retrofit planning and implementation, including assembling project financing and overseeing the carbon and social outcomes of the project.   .

Annual utility savings are projected to increase each year with carbon pricing.

“Retrofitting and electrifying all of Toronto’s multi-family buildings is key to reaching our climate targets, helps to ensure more affordable housing, and boosts local economic activity,” said Julia Langer, CEO, The Atmospheric Fund. “Accelerating deep retrofits to meet these critical needs requires coordinated access to technologies, expert services, and financing—and a focus on outcomes. TAF’s Retrofit Accelerator collaboration with TCHC can be a model for all housing providers in the region and beyond.”

 

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