The Atmospheric Fund (formerly the Toronto Atmospheric Fund/TAF), is opening up a new phase in its successful TowerWise energy retrofit program for multi-residential buildings, hoping to support the carbon and energy efficiency goals in the city’s ambitious (though still unfunded) TransformTO climate plan.
“Thanks to funding from Natural Resources Canada and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), we aim to demonstrate that deep energy savings—achieving a minimum of 40% energy and emission reductions—are financially and technically feasible,” writes TAF Low Carbon Buildings Manager Ekaterina Tzekova. “Building on our experience from our previous TowerWise work, we will undertake a number of deep energy retrofits to quantify the economic, environmental, and social benefits.”
While the first phase of TowerWise found 20-30% energy reductions were “achievable and profitable” in a range of building types, including community housing and co-ops, “getting to 40% is no small feat,” Tzekova notes. TAF plans to hit the target in a series of test buildings by installing heat pumps, reducing air leakage, improving ventilation systems, installing high-efficiency lighting, “retro-commissioning” existing building systems, and “utilizing solar thermal (for domestic hot water) and renewable solar energy”.
Beyond the energy, emissions, and cost savings that will result, “these measures also give us the opportunity to achieve multiple benefits such as improving indoor comfort and environmental quality, addressing overdue capital repairs, and extending building lifespan—benefits that are especially relevant for low-income housing,” Tzekova writes. “Using the data gathered, we will identify best practices and develop scale-up recommendations for the [Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area] and other urban areas across Canada.”