Toronto has become the first community in North America to limit the carbon embodied in new municipal buildings by requiring lower-carbon construction materials.
New city-owned buildings will now have to limit their “upfront embodied emissions intensity”—the carbon pollution associated with manufacturing, transporting and installing major building components—to less than 350 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per square metre of construction, Mantle Developments reports.
The requirement under the Toronto Green Standard is voluntary for other buildings for now, Mantle adds, but “private developers should consider themselves on notice,” since voluntary measures tend to become mandatory as the Green Standard evolves and becomes more stringent.
The next version of the standard is set for implementation in 2025.
The new provision for city buildings affects building processes and components that account for more than 75% of embodied carbon. “Since they happen pre-occupancy, they are fully manageable through lower-carbon decisions in design, procurement, and construction,” Mantle writes. “Substantial industry consultations have shown that low-carbon materials are readily available in the Toronto market with zero to marginal impact on cost or schedule.”
Mantle’s summary includes a chart comparing Toronto’s previous standard with the new requirements that took effect May 10.