March 13, 2006

Toronto offers $13K incentive to encourage construction of new large energy-efficient buildings

The city of Toronto and Toronto Hydro are offering developers up to $13,000 to build more energy-efficient large commercial, institutional and multi-unit residential buildings. The incentive, coming from Toronto's Energy Efficiency Office through its Better Buildings New Construction Program (BBNCP), encourages developers to make new buildings 25% more energy-efficient than the current building code requires.

Under the BBNCP, the building project can receive up to $7,000 in grants to investigate the integration of energy efficiency measures. Once the building permit application is submitted, there is an added one-time incentive of $10 per peak kilowatt saved, up to $3,000. A further incentive of $10 per peak kilowatt saved, up to $3,000, is offered when the building is occupied.

Savings are based on the energy use of the building compared to what would be used if it were built to meet the current building code.

Early involvement in the design stage is a key to the program's success. A pilot phase of the program, involving 17 buildings, was carried out during 2005. It yielded design changes that reduced the energy consumption of each building by 30 to 50%.

"Using energy modeling in the design stage for Filmport will help us reduce energy use by more than 30% with minimal additional capital investment," said Peter LaForme, director of operations with Toronto Film Studios.

"The City needs to reduce energy use in Toronto. By promoting the development of energy efficient buildings, we are moving in the right direction," said Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, Chair of the Roundtable on the Environment. "We hope our leadership and incentives encourage all developers to be part of the solution."

The program complements Toronto's Better Buildings Partnership, an initiative designed to help owners reduce energy use in existing buildings. More than 500 buildings have been retrofitted, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than one million tonnes.

More information is available from Richard Morris in Toronto's Energy Efficiency Office, 416/392-1452.

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