Green Condo Living Toronto
None at present.
We propose increasing the ability of builders and decision-makers at condominiums across Toronto to engage with local opportunities to decrease carbon emissions. This will be achieved through both behavioural and infrastructural green solutions, and will result in the following:
- Reduction in carbon emissions from buildings across Toronto through day-to-day management decisions, renovation of currently built condos and eco-conscious planning for future condo builds;
- Property managers, builders, architects, and condo boards knowledgeable in local opportunities for carbon emission reduction;
- Property managers and builders able to market their buildings’ environmental credentials, an increasingly attractive feature to a young population of potential residents;
- Condominium residents and condo boards knowledgeable about how they can contribute to reduced carbon emissions; and
- Sustainable source of income for partners involved.
This will be achieved through a flexible course that provides EcoCondo Certification to property managers, builders, architects and members of condominium boards. This will be followed up with support and advice as required.
EcoCondo Certification does not reinvent the wheel - it draws on the strengths and opportunities that exist in our city. There are existing opportunities in the form of resources, expert organizations and rebates, which focus on one specific area of greening. Initial research indicates that property managers and builders struggle to identify the local expertise necessary to design, build and maintain buildings in a deeply eco-conscious way. The EcoCondo Certification course will educate participants about opportunities that exist and how they can be accessed.
Experience and research has indicated that there are existing initiatives for educating property managers and architects in sustainability, but none that simultaneously:
- Focus specifically on carbon emissions;
- Integrate behavioural and infrastructure solutions that can be implemented both pre-construction and post-construction; and
- Focus specifically on solutions available in the Toronto area.
With hundreds of condominiums existing around Toronto, and many more coming online each year, connection to these supports is essential.
Potential customers include the following:
- Individuals involved in the planning and construction of new condo developments – this includes property owners, designers, architects, and builders;
- Individuals involved in decision-making around the maintenance/renovation of pre-existing condos – this includes property owners/managers and condo boards.
Through the process of certification, customers will:
- Develop a knowledge base on a wide range of topics (see below);
- Receive an ‘EcoCondo Bible’ of existing resources, expert organizations and rebates which they can draw on in the Toronto area;
- Gain knowledge on how to source and assess eco-friendly materials (ranging from building/landscaping materials to cleaning products);
- Gain skills as well as receive support in engaging and educating condominium residents on environmental issues;
- In consultation with stakeholders, identify one initial project for which implementation will begin immediately;
- Understand the financial investment required for various initiatives as well as the benefits (both environmental and long-term financial);
- Access methods of measuring emission reductions;
- Develop skills in communicating environmental benefits to both Property Managers and residents; and
- Develop a network of support and knowledge-sharing with fellow participants.
Examples of environmental topics that will be covered include:
1. Transportation (e.g. idle free zones, bike racks)
2. Landscaping (e.g. native , drought-resistant plants, smart watering system)
3. Energy conservation in common areas
4. Energy conservation in individual units
5. Waste disposal and recycling
6. Eco-friendly construction materials
7. Eco-friendly products (e.g. cleaning products for common areas, paint)
8. Reducing paper use
9. Green roofs
10. Water conservation
Just as we recognize that there are other resources and opportunities upon which participants can and should draw, we also recognize that we can strengthen the delivery of our course through partnering with organizations with expertise in the above mentioned areas. Through the Live Green Toronto Community Animation Program, we have become experts on opportunities, resources, and expertise available in the Toronto area. We will work with these established networks as well as new ones, to bring in experts from other SMEs and NGOs.
EcoSpark has significant experience in facilitating the reduction of emissions as well as accurately measuring those reductions.
Since 2005, we have run Wattwize, a program through which students lead conservation initiatives within their schools. We are required to report on GHGs saved as a result of the program. As an example, the 2010 Wattwize program resulted in reduction of 290, 611.2kg of GHGs.
We also assisted the City of Toronto to develop a means of measuring emission reductions resulting from activities that community members undertook through the Live Green Toronto Community Animation program. This document will be used as one of the tools to measure emission reductions.
We will track both infrastructural changes and behavioural changes through evaluations conducted with participants in the EcoCondo Certification program after three months, one year and three years. We will secure emission reduction figures to attach to each of the changes undertaken. Examples are below. Some aspects such as behavioural changes amongst tenants will need to be secured through a resident survey which we will conduct and cross reference with any trainings conducted with residents.
Over the long term, we can assess the impact of the course by comparing the footprint of buildings built and/or maintained by course participants to those not educated in eco-conscious building and maintenance. This will give us a clearer indication of the degree to which we are “tipping the needle” on emissions across the city.
Idle free zones and bike racks will directly reduce the burning of fossil fuels in the City of Toronto. In fact, if idling at one condo building is reduced by a total of just 10 minutes a day (cumulative of all cars), emissions will be reduced by over 250kg over the course of a year. (10 min. idling = . 0.3 L of gas x 365 x 2.3 kg CO2e/L = 251.85 kg CO2e)
If safe and sheltered bike racks are installed, building residents will use this mode of transportation more often. A reduction of 1000 km of travel on a bike per year is 1000 km less automobile travel. That alone will reduce fuel use by approximately 79 Litres. For every resident that decreases their automobile travel by 1000km, emissions will be reduced by 181.7 kg. (7.9 Litres of gas per 100km) (7.9 L x 10 x 2.3 kg COe/L = 181.7 kg CO2e)
source: www.toronto.ca/taf/quant_policy_approach.htm and
Reducing electricity and natural gas use are also popular methods of achieving a local reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and are popular with business and residential customers alike for their cost savings. Condos can participate both on a unit by unit basis and through conservation measures in common areas. Turning off only one regular tube fixture for twelve hours per day will reduce emissions by 40.1 kg. (54W x 12hr x 364d = 235.9 KWh) and (235.9 x 0.17 kg CO2e/KWh = 40.1 kg CO2e)
EcoSpark is the lead partner in the multi-million dollar, multi-year Live Green Toronto Community Animation program. This program is currently in its third year. We will be drawing on the organizational and staff experience, skills, knowledge and networks gained through this program.
One or more of our Community Animation staff will be contributing to Green Condo Living Toronto. They have extensive networks of green organizations across the city and are experts in community engagement. They will therefore assist with this component of the course.
Meredith Cochrane, EcoSpark’s Executive Director, has extensive experience in program development, funding and expansion. Examples include: the establishment of an education program that was delivered to 400 schools within 18 months of the launch date; and management of a campaign that in two years, increased from being run in 120 towns, to 350 and expanded to over a dozen other countries. Meredith also has significant experience in communications, media and marketing with organizations in Canada and the UK. She has developed and managed productive teams of up to 18 staff.
Ben Stevenson holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree and has worked in the solar energy industry and in community settings on training and education initiatives. He recently completed a contract with EcoSpark, training and mentoring high schools students as they created short films on environmental topics, and developing curriculum support materials on solar power for younger students. Ben’s knowledge extensive knowledge and networks as well as experience of training and resource development will be valuable to the enterprise.
Linda Thomson has many years of experience in administration and financial management for non-profit organizations. In her current position as EcoSpark’s Financial Administrator, she oversees the organization’s fiscal operations, produces financial reports, builds relationships with vendors and suppliers, and monitors contract fulfillment. Linda brings research, policy development, and organizational skills and financial expertise that will be essential to the enterprise’s establishment and smooth running.
We will be seeking a full time course coordinator.
It is estimated that the gross income per course will be $60,000. Within five years we anticipate running the course a minimum of four times per year with a minimum net income of $120,000. With hundreds of existing condominiums and more being built all the time, there is a huge market amongst our identified customer base. Furthermore, there is an opportunity for geographical expansion beyond Toronto.
The key to success of Green Condo Living Toronto is marketing, reputation, and results. While some marketing will be done through flyers and print advertising, the majority of marketing will take place through associations and networks – both those that EcoSpark currently has and those that we plan to establish during the first phase of development.
We will track results in terms of carbon emissions and any financial savings through evaluations with participants after three months, one year, and three years. We will produce internal reports for learning and improvement as well as external reports as a marketing tool.