The City of Toronto operates a real estate portfolio of approximately 9.5 million square meters across more than 2,500 facilities, with annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of about 206,000 tonnes.

The City’s Net Zero Carbon Plan identifies a number of initiatives to accelerate the reduction of emissions from City-owned buildings, with a guiding principle to align investment in low carbon retrofits with building system renewal cycles (i.e. at equipment end of life). Through the Plan, the City will retrofit about 80 per cent of its buildings, with a focus on switching to low carbon energy sources (electricity, low-carbon district energy and/or renewable natural gas).

As of May, 2022, all new City-owned buildings and additions greater than 100 square meters are being designed and constructed to Toronto Green Standard (TGS) Version 4, including buildings owned by City Agencies, Corporations and Divisions.

Accelerating emissions reductions from buildings is a key part of the City’s TransformTO Net Zero Strategy, which set an ambitious target to reduce community-wide greenhouse emissions to net zero by 2040.

The Corporate Real Estate Management Net Zero Carbon Plan stipulates that 37MW of renewable energy systems are to be installed on City-owned facilities by 2030.

Over the past 20 years, more than 100 renewable energy systems have been installed on City buildings and properties. Using solar photovoltaic (PV), solar thermal, geothermal and biomass, these and future systems will support the City’s environmental, energy security and economic goals.

Solar Photovoltaic Systems

Over 100 rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, totaling 9MW have been installed on City-owned buildings, generating clean energy and revenue. Installing solar PV systems supports two key goals of the Corporate Real Estate Management Net Zero Carbon Plan:

  • 37MW of renewable energy to be installed on City owned facilities by 2030
  • Net zero emissions in City-owned facilities by 2040
  • The City continues to install rooftop solar PV systems to generate electricity and offset a portion of the City’s hydro bill.

Solar & Energy Storage

The City’s first solar PV and energy storage project was installed at Toronto Paramedic Services Station 46. The system offsets a portion of the site’s electricity consumption and provides back-up power in the event of a power outage.

The system comprises of:

  • 10 kW of solar capacity on the south-facing wall and rooftop
  • 27kWhr of stored energy in two Tesla Powerwall batteries

Excess electricity generated by the site is exported to the grid. The City is looking to install similar projects in other City owned buildings. This will help meet the TransformTO Net-Zero Strategy target of 37MW of renewables by 2030.

Energy Conservation & Demand Management Plan

The City of Toronto is required under O. Reg. 25/23 of the Electricity Act to publish an Energy Conservation and Demand Management (ECDM) Plan every five years. The first two ECDM plans were published in July of 2014 and 2019.

This report is designed to educate and inform both City employees and the public about the City of Toronto’s past and future efforts to reduce energy consumption and reduce future greenhouse gas emissions.

The City’s Energy Conservation & Demand Management Plan profiles over 600 of the City’s corporate buildings based on energy use and operation type. The plan helps the City to identify buildings with the highest potential for energy savings.

The plan has been updated in accordance with the Ontario Government’s Electricity Act Regulation 507/18.

Energy Procurement

The City manages its energy costs by purchasing and hedging energy commodities directly in the wholesale markets for City-owned operations and its Agencies and Corporations. This program also includes managing and selecting the most cost effective energy rates.

Energy Tracking & Reporting

To help the City reach its target of net zero by 2040 and to control energy costs, it uses the EnergyCAP program to track and verify energy and cost data for City-owned facilities (4,500 utility accounts).

Learn more about the City’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

The City produces an annual Energy Consumption & Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report to comply with the Ontario Government’s Electricity Act Regulation 507/18. The most recent dataset can be downloaded from the City’s Open Data.

Report & Data Management


The City uses EnergyCAP to track and verify energy and cost data for City-owned facilities. This is done to help reach its target of net zero by 2040 and to control energy costs.

EnergyStar Portfolio Manager

Under Electricity Act Regulation (O.Reg.25/23) the City must perform annual reporting on energy consumption for large buildings, the reporting document is known as the Energy Consumption & Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report. EnergyStar Portfolio Manager is used to meet these reporting requirements by analyzing and tracking data.

Data Inventory

The City reports on many different building aspects, all reporting data is made available for download from the City’s Open Data portal.

Learn more about the City’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

The City produces an annual Energy Consumption & Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report to comply with the Ontario Government’s Electricity Act Regulation 507/18. The most recent dataset can be downloaded from the City’s Open Data portal.

Air-Source Heat Pumps

Heat pumps can act as an air conditioner, a heater, or both. Air-source heat pumps work by extracting heat from the air and either putting it into a building or dumping it outside. When the heat is taken from outside and goes into a building the heat pump acts as a heater. When the heat is taken from inside a building and dumped outside the heat pump acts as an air conditioner. They are a great replacement for natural gas burning furnaces or inefficient air conditioners.


Similar to air-source heat pumps, ground-source heat pumps exchange heat with the outdoor environment for heating or air conditioning. The difference is, ground-source heat pumps take heat from the ground to heat a building or dump heat into the ground for cooling instead of the air. This energy exchange is known as geothermal energy, geo meaning ground and thermal meaning heat energy. The City of Toronto has roughly 10 geothermal systems across the City.

Solar Photovoltaic

Photovoltaic (PV) cells convert sunlight into electrical energy, which can be used to power building appliances and mechanical equipment like heat pumps. If building appliances can use electricity generated from these PV systems, there is less need to use grid electricity which can reduce electricity costs. The City of Toronto has roughly 100 PV systems across the City.

Solar Thermal

Solar thermal collectors can be used for water in a building. As solar thermal collectors become hot in the sunlight, the heat is then moved into a building for space heating or into a water tank for water heating. The City of Toronto has roughly 18 solar thermal systems across the City.

Deep Lake Water Cooling

Deep lake water cooling uses the cold temperature of water bodies to cool buildings. A medium (air or water) moves through pipes in the lake. The medium will reach the same temperature as the water and then travel through buildings collecting the hot air, cooling the buildings. The City of Toronto has roughly 5 systems across the City.

Hydrothermal Energy

Hydrothermal energy comes from steam or hot water. The City uses this energy through one of its District Energy distribution systems and Deep Lake Water Cooling system.

District Energy

District energy systems, distribute thermal energy to multiple buildings in an area or neighbourhood. These systems typically consist of a heating and cooling centre, and a thermal network of pipes connected to a group of buildings. There are roughly four district energy systems being used in the City of Toronto. Visit District Energy to learn more.

Eco-roof (Green Roofs and Cools Roofs)

Eco-roofs are used as strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change and improve outdoor comfort during the summer. The two main eco-roofs are: a green roof or a cool roof.

A green roof is a building roof that has plants or other vegetation purposefully growing on it, similar to a rooftop garden. A cool roof is usually a lightly coloured roof that reflects solar radiation, which makes the roof and the surrounding area cooler.

Eco roofs can offer the following benefits:

  • Save energy
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduce urban heat
  • Capture stormwater
  • Improve air quality
  • Encourage urban food production
  • Create habitats for pollinators, birds and other wildlife
  • Beautify our city

To learn more about eco-roofs please visit the Eco-Roof Incentive Program.

Building Automation Systems

Several City sites employ Building Automation Systems, which optimize the performance of a building’s heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration and lighting control systems.

The benefits of Building Automation Systems include:

  • Extended HVAC equipment lifestyle costs
  • Reduced operational labour costs
  • Reduced utility consumption and demand
  • Monitoring and maintenance of indoor air quality
  • Improved occupant comfort and productivity
  • Improved reporting
  • Provide the data required for advanced troubleshooting and diagnostics to make informed decisions

LED Lighting

Non-energy efficient lighting, like incandescent lightbulbs, create a lot of heat and require more electricity. Energy efficient lightbulbs, like LEDs, don’t create heat waste. Less electricity is needed to create the same amount of light. Due to the amount of heat waste from incandescent lighting, non-energy efficient lighting also creates more carbon emissions compared to energy efficient lighting. The City of Toronto is in the process of upgrading all lighting systems to LEDs.

Wastewater Energy

Warm wastewater from sources such as showers, laundry machines, toilets, dishwashers, and industrial processes constantly flows through the City’s sewer system. Heat from this wastewater can be recovered and used for building heating or cooling purposes. Learn more about the City’s Wastewater Energy Program.

Building Envelope

The building envelope separates the indoor from the outdoor environment; wall, floor, and roof components/materials, windows, and doors. The goal is to keep a comfortable indoor environment free from extreme temperatures, rain or other moisture, and wind. Two major ways to maintain comfort is by adding insulation and stopping air from leaking into/out of a building by sealing holes.