Where do Toronto's air polluting emissions come from?
In 2004, TAF worked with the Toronto Environment Office to prepare a detailed inventory of greenhouse gas and air polluting (Critical Air Contaminant) emissions in the City of Toronto. This was a large and challenging project that highlighted the need for more comprehensive and detailed tracking of emissions. But it also has provided invaluable insights into major emissions sources from city operations and city-wide. In particular, it highlighted that for Toronto, single large emitters (e.g., large factories) were less of a concern than the combined impact of multiple small emitters, whether it was vehicles or home furnaces.
TAF has used this information to target two key sectors for emissions reduction action (see below) and to help the City identify opportunities for reaching its community-wide emission targets.
Moving people and goods accounts for 43% of Toronto's greenhouse gas emissions. It is also a major source of smog pollutants like nitrogen oxide. Projects like our FleetWise EV300 initiative to help fleets integrate electric vehicles can help reduce these emissions. TAF is also examining opportunities to reduce emissions associated with local transportation of goods within city limits.
Highrise apartments and condos represent 40 percent of the emissions coming from Toronto's residential sector and these units are emitting 20 percent more C02 per square metre than single family homes. Through the TowerWise project, TAF will continue to bring together key players in Toronto's high-rise residential sector to promote practical, cost-effective action to improve the energy performance of Toronto's aging high rises and inefficient condominiums.
Offsetting Natural Gas Use
Natural gas used for space and water heating is responsible for 43 percent of Toronto's greenhouse gas emissions. While greater efficiency will help to reduce these emissions, we will ultimately need to find ways to generate heat without burning additional natural gas. This means exploring technologies like solar thermal and geothermal heating and cooling, air-to-air heat exchange, and waste heat capture. Applying lessons from the performance verification work undertaken through TAF's SolarCity program, we will increase understanding and promote best practices for use of natural gas alternatives as part of our city's energy mix.
Quantifying emission reductions
All TAF's investments and program design hinge on the potential of each activity to produce significant greenhouse gas emission reductions in Toronto. Grant and loan applicants must provide information to demonstrate the direct and potential emission reductions associated with their proposed work. This information is weighed carefully in selecting TAF's investments. For more detail, please see TAF's emissions quantification policy.
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