The Toronto Green Standard (TGS) is a tiered set of performance measures that facilitates more sustainable and resilient new development in Toronto, a rapidly growing City. The standards address the City of Toronto’s environmental pressures including:

  • Improve air quality and reduce urban heat island effect;
  • Reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from new buildings while making buildings more resilient to power disruptions, and encourage the use of renewable or district energy;
  • Reduce storm water runoff and potable water consumption while improving the quality of storm water draining to Lake Ontario;
  • Protect and enhance ecological functions, integrate landscapes and habitats on site and decrease bird collisions and mortalities, and
  • Reduce household and construction waste going to landfill.

The TGS implements the environmental policies of the City of Toronto Official Plan and the requirements of multiple City divisions through the community planning and development approvals process administered by the City Planning Division.

The TGS was first introduced as a voluntary standard for new development in 2006 and then became a two-tier set of performance standards with Tier 1 mandatory and Tier 2 voluntary stretch targets in 2010. The TGS is revised and updated every four years. TGS version 2 came into effect in 2014 and version 3 is in effect for all new planning applications beginning May 1, 2018 including Tier 1 to Tier 4 near zero emissions buildings targets.

Projects that demonstrate Tier 2 levels of performance or above may be eligible for refund on development charges paid to the city. This financial incentive is awarded to third party certified projects that reduce pressure on city services and infrastructure through resource efficiencies.

The TGS has proven to be an effective tool to achieve the City’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets. As of 2017, over 1,300 developments have been required to meet Tier 1 and 15 per cent of residential projects participate in the TGS DC Refund program. The Toronto Green Standard version 3 new Zero Emissions Buildings Framework, stepped energy efficiency targets will result in greenhouse gas reductions of 30.6 Megatonnes by 2050, contributing to Transform TO’s city-wide emissions reduction target of 80 per cent by 2050.That is the equivalent to taking more than 250,000 cars off the road each year!