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Green Toronto

Most visitors to Toronto are struck by the number of parks that dot the urban landscape. And it’s true that Toronto is rich in green spaces. But in Toronto, the green movement is about more than parkland. The City of Toronto is recognized around the world as a leader in environmental stewardship.

The Power to Live Green, the City’s sustainable energy strategy, is founded on greater conservation, renewable energy sources, reduced use of fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal), and the implementation of a ‘smart’ energy grid.

The Power to Live Green builds on the City’s sustainable energy foundations by significantly conserving, renewing and smartly distributing electricity and natural gas to bring us closer to an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050, while maintaining energy reliability and affordability.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Green Development Standard is about designing sites and buildings that are more environmentally friendly. Achieving the Toronto Green Standard will result in measurable improvements to air and water quality; increase energy and water efficiency, and solid waste diversion rates; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and enhance ecology and the natural environment.

To encourage residents to participate in the greening of our city, the City created the Live Green Toronto program. It is designed to inspire and support every resident who wants to do something right now to make Toronto an even greener city.

And it’s working. By adopting sustainable practices at every level and providing green options to all Torontonians— leaders of business, politicians, educators and common citizens—the city has become a model of environmental leadership.

• Since 2005, Toronto residents have been separating the compostable food waste out of their garbage and into the household Green Bin. The Green Bin Program is a city-wide initiative, with over 500,000 single family households putting organic waste into a municipal composting program. One-third of the average household’s garbage is organic material, which can be processed into soil-enriching compost.
• In 2004 Toronto became the largest municipality in the world to ban the commercial or cosmetic application of pesticides.
• The city is leading a movement towards greener conferences. The Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) is a model for sustainable meeting practices. It boasts a green roof, alternative energy power sourcing and energy efficiency renovations. The Allstream Conference Centre at Exhibition Place is the only conference centre in Canada targeting LEED silver certification. The Centre has secured a 100-percent green power purchase agreement. This purchase will be the equivalent of removing 168 cars off the road per year, and offsets the same amount of carbon dioxide as 422 acres of planted trees annually.  Meanwhile, at the Direct Energy Centre, meeting conveners may purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) to offset the carbon emissions that would normally be created.  All three conference centres work closely with local agencies, donating leftover food to food banks and the remainder to local farmers for use as compost.
• The Deep Lake Water Cooling (DLWC) system is the world’s largest lake-source cooling system, providing buildings in Toronto’s downtown core with an alternative to conventional air conditioning. Enwave’s DLWC method harnesses the coldness of the lake water to chill building cooling systems. DLWC reduces electricity use by up to 90 percent compared with conventional air conditioning and saves more than 61 MW of electricity annually—the equivalent power demand of 6,800 homes.

For more information about City of Toronto environmental programs and policies: toronto.ca/environment/