Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) is the largest social housing provider in Canada and home to more than 110,000 people living in nearly 60,000 low-and moderate-income households. TCHC owns and manages rental units across 2,100 buildings in Toronto. TCHC’s portfolio contains nearly 50 million sq. ft. of residential space and is a $10-billion public asset. Tenants come from many different backgrounds with a diversity in age, education, language, mental and physical disability, religion, ethnicity and race.

TCHC’s efforts in energy management and sustainability spans more than a decade. The Smart Buildings & Energy Management team collaborates with internal and external stakeholders to deliver a wide spectrum of electricity, natural gas, water and waste programs, which are complemented by tenant engagement and conservation efforts to enhance and sustain savings over time. Multiple teams are involved in conceptualizing various energy management initiatives by defining program objectives. TCHC also partners with all three orders of government, publicly funded agencies, leading industry experts and educational institutions to undertake new energy efficiency initiatives.

Learn more about TCHC’s work.

Accomplishments at the Building Portfolio

  • Number of buildings enrolled: 2,117 of 2,117
  • GHG Emissions Intensity: 3.81 kgCO₂e/sq ft²/yr
  • Total GHG Emissions: 190,326 tCO₂e/yr

National Housing Strategy & Co-Investment Fund of $1.34 Billion

In 2019, the Government of Canada announced the $1.34 billion investment to preserve 58,500 TCHC owned units. This investment focuses on accessibility, affordability and energy efficiency requirements and requires TCHC to reduce energy consumption by 25 per cent over 10 years, based on weather normalized energy consumption when compared to a baseline average from 2013 to 2017. The 25 per cent reduction in energy consumption needs to be achieved by December 31, 2028.

Natural Gas Consumption Reduced by 9.7 per cent in 2020 across Portfolio

TCHC reduced natural gas consumption by 9.7 per cent in 2020 from the normalized baseline average of 2013 to 2017 with project highlights including:

  • Window retrofits at nine social housing apartments as part of Social Housing Apartment Retrofit Program (SHARP)
  • Window retrofits at three Moss Park buildings as part of the Tower Renewal Program
  • Window retrofits at six buildings funded by the Social Housing Apartment Improvement Program
  • Installed 6,400 portable AC units at high-rise buildings across the portfolio as part of the AC Exchange Program
  • Replacement of 84 heating boilers
  • Building Automation System (BAS) adjustments and BAS upgrades with Interval Data Optimization (IDO) implemented in 14 buildings since 2017 in partnership with Enbridge Gas
  • Major retrofit projects at seven buildings completed in partnership with the Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF) with two additional projects underway.

Conservation Team Leading Extensive Staff and Tenant Engagement Initiatives

The Smart Buildings & Energy Management Team leads conservation and engagement efforts across the TCHC portfolio including:

  • Developing and distributing checklist program to more accurately analyze tenant complaints related to utility consumption
  • Developing thermostatic control education/training kits (brochure, fridge magnets and checklist) for tenants and site staff
  • Developing Leadership in Conservation staff education program (six hour energy focused presentation)
  • Providing support for energy program specific education/training kits for tenants and site staff
  • Producing tenant engagement/education materials for all utilities, including dedicated bulletin boards, lobby screens, flyers, posters, door knockers, fridge magnets, newsletter articles, tenant welcome packages, online content, etc.
  • Developing a Green Office program

Yardi Energy Management Software for Comprehensive and Real-time Energy Management across the Portfolio

TCHC is implementing the Yardi Energy Management Software for utility cost and usage management and reporting which include Utility Expense Management (UEM) and Real-Time Metering (RTM).

The software provides TCHC energy management staff with the visibility they need to effectively tract, monitor, and manage TCHC building energy systems portfolio. In addition, the timely alerts can notify staff of issues as they happen. Portfolio level benchmarking, tracking and reporting will help TCHC energy management team identify and prioritize the most impactful savings opportunities.

Electricity Consumption Reduced by 5.1 per cent in 2020 across Portfolio

TCHC reduced electricity consumption by 5.1 per cent in 2020 from the normalized baseline average of 2013 to 2017. Reductions in electricity consumption are attributed to energy conservation measures implemented over the last three years. Highlights include:

  • LED lighting retrofit at 78 sites
  • Elevator retrofits at 36 buildings
  • Building Automation System (BAS) upgrades at 35 buildings
  • New booster Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) pumps installed at 27 buildings
  • High-efficiency Makeup Air Unit (MAU) upgrades
  • Garage lighting sensors installed at seven buildings
  • Carbon monoxide sensor installed at 14 garages
  • 11 Social Housing Apartment Retrofit Program projects that include LED lighting, BAS, booster pumps, window and MAU retrofits

Funding from Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for Renewable Energy Projects that Generate $1 Million Annually for TCHC

TCHC received funding from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) as part of the Renewable Energy Initiative, for the implementation of renewable energy technologies in social and affordable housing including solar wall, solar domestic hot water heating, geothermal and solar photovoltaic technologies

Approximately 50 locations in the TCHC portfolio have implemented renewable energy projects with a combined solar revenue of approximately $1 million annually.

Disclaimer: Profiles presented are based on information provided by participants. Participants’ GHG emissions performance published are based on utility data submitted and converted to GHG emissions. The emission factors applied aligns with the period of energy data reported (2019). The emission factors utilized for the conversion are calculated based on a combination of sources: Government of Canada (National Inventory Report & Canada’s Proposed Greenhouse Gas Quantification Requirements), Government of Ontario (Guide: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting), The Atmospheric Fund (A Clearer View on Ontario’s Emissions – Electricity emissions factors and guidelines) and Enbridge Gas Inc. (Chemical Composition of Natural Gas).