If you’re considering tackling all the changes necessary to make your home net-zero, the City of Toronto is here to help.
Mayor John Tory recently announced the BetterHomesTO program, and declared November 5th Residential Energy Efficiency Day in Toronto.
BetterHomesTO is an online resource for tools, information, programs, rebates, and incentives to help you shift to living in a net-zero home. There are 31 retrofits you can undertake to lower your home’s carbon footprint and make it a healthier, more comfortable place to live. A few benefits of a net-zero home include lower utility bills, greater resilience to power outages, better heating and ventilation, better air quality and fewer allergens.
The program partners include Enbridge Gas Inc., Humber College, Toronto Hydro, Clean Air Partnership, University of Toronto, Building Industry and Land Development (BILD) Association GTA, Canadian Home Builders' Association, ecobee, School for Social Entrepreneurs, and The Roots Collaborative.
"We all have a role to play in making our city and planet a healthier place to live,” says Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (Ward 25 Scarborough-Rouge Park), the Mayor's Resilience Champion and Vice-Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee. “Many homeowners want to do their part to combat climate change, but don’t know how to get started. BetterHomesTO provides an important resource that will make it easier for Toronto residents to improve the energy efficiency of their single-family homes."
In Toronto, homes and buildings account for more than 50% of the greenhouse gas emissions. In October 2019, City Council declared a climate emergency and adopted a more ambitious green target; the City wants to be completely net-zero by 2050 or sooner. It will also be mandatory for all new homes to be built to net-zero by 2030.
"As we respond to the climate emergency and take action to reduce emissions from buildings, transportation and waste, we hope to support residents in moving toward more energy-efficient, climate-friendly and resilient homes through BetterHomesTO,” says Tory. “The City of Toronto is committed to continuing to invest, innovate and act for the good of our city, our health and our economy."
This is a bold move by the City. Building to net-zero standards is not easy, and not necessarily affordable. But, it is definitely the right move. Net-zero homes have better air quality and are better for the environment.
During the federal election, the NDP and Green Party both campaigned on the idea of making all new buildings in Canada net-zero by 2030. This was not a Liberal promise, though the Liberals did promise to create a Net-Zero Homes Grant of up to $5,000 for newly built homes.
Aiming to have all new homes built to net-zero by 2030 is an ambitious goal for Toronto, and it’s a step in the right direction. This probably won’t help affordability issues though. It will be a challenge for builders to meet net-zero standards and keep prices around the same levels due to increased costs. There may be a spike in new home prices as builders figure out the best way to build net-zero homes.