Accelerating home energy retrofits – building the case for local improvement charges in Ontario municipalities

In 2012, changes to provincial legislation in Ontario provided municipalities with a new market-based tool to improve the energy and water efficiency of the existing building stock; the ‘local improvement charge’ (LIC) mechanism.
The City of Toronto was the first and remains the only Ontario municipality to use LICs to finance residential energy retrofits, starting in 2014 with the Home Energy Loan Program. Many other municipalities are interested.

Integrating biodiversity functional guild responses to land use and climate change in natural heritage system update

Urbanization continues to drive the land conversion from natural areas to urban uses dominated by impermeable surfaces. This conversion has direct and indirect impacts on ecosystem services that are critical for a sustainable and resilient ecosystem as well as human wellbeing. Habitat removal and fragmentation accelerate biodiversity loss in urban landscapes. Additionally, climate change exacerbates these impacts even further. Hence, green infrastructure is also becoming more common in urban landscapes to offset negative urbanization impacts.

Assessing Gaps and Opportunities: Industry Knowledge and Capacity for Large-Scale Heat Pump Uptake

This research is based on the recognition that heat pump technology has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and reliance on fossil fuels, while providing space heating, space cooling and domestic hot water. Both internationally and in the Ontario context, a lack of industry knowledge and capacity has been noted to be a barrier to the uptake of heat pump technologies.

Integrating Climate Change Considerations in Plans and Policies in Durham Region

Durham Region recently created a plan to help guide future decisions about adapting to climate change. The plan shows how extreme future weather is expected to be and identifies many ways that the cities and towns in the region and other agencies that deliver services like water and electricity need to be prepared. Some municipalities and agencies are further ahead than others in having policies and plans to adapt to climate change.

Mapping land-based renewable energy production opportunities: a systematic approach for integrated land-use and energy planning

The initiative is best described as two interwoven threads: mapping renewable energy potentials at the landscape scale, and using these maps to engage local stakeholders in a dialogue to identify acceptable locations for particular kinds of RE development. The Project Team will use the Town of Caledon, located in the Region of Peel, and the City of Markham, located in York Region as pilot case studies for this initiative.

West Bolton Sustainable Neighbourhood Retrofit Action Plan - home energy retrofit program

The West Bolton SNAP project will test methods for increasing the number of suburban households undertaking home energy retrofits in a neighbourhood of Caledon, Ontario with the aim of reducing residential energy consumption and the resulting GHG emissions. The Program will utilize locally targeted marketing, community events, and face-to-face Home Retrofit Consultations to engage households in West Bolton.

Modelling Guidance for Seaton Lands Urbanizing Watershed

Stormwater from urban areas has continuously contributed to degradation of stream health in Ontario, despite a number of measures being put in place for new developments. More recently, a Low Impact Development (LID) approach, aimed at controlling the rain runoff at the source, has been promoted and implemented. This project will focus on developing a novel approach for computer modelling of LID and legacy stormwater management practices to better inform the decision making and approval of such practices in new developments.

Evaluating Low Carbon Technologies and Best Practices

The intent of this project is to demonstrate the GHG and electricity use savings of a range of low carbon heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technologies in the multi-unit residential building (MURB) sector.
Technologies to be studied include:
• ductless mini-split air source heat pumps (ASHP)
• gas absorption heat pumps
• smart thermostats
As part of a broader program of work that will include long-term performance monitoring studies of these technologies, this MITACS project will involve a qualitative study identifying other barriers presented to the technologies and str

Design Tool for the Thermal Performance of Stormwater Ponds

This project will develop a design tool that can be used by consultant engineers who design these ponds and by the regulatory agencies, including our partner organization (the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority) to assess if a stormwater management pond will meet the thermal objectives for the protection of sensitive aquatic life, including the permanent pool volume, drawdown time, length-to-width ratio, number of berms, optimal depth, and the bottom-draw outlet position for a given pond.

Development of Combined Building Integrated Photovoltaic/Thermal (BIPV/T) System for Net-Zero Energy Building Applications - Year two

Building integrated photovoltaic–thermal array (BIPV/T) incorporated within a building structure is a system that combines the roof/facade, photovoltaic cells and thermal collector as an all-in-one product instead of installing each individually. BIPV/T effectively replaces conventional building materials and is more cost-effective than having several separate products, and installation of the BIPV/T system can be implemented during initial building construction.