Create your own energy efficiency and building sustainability requirements

In many places, national, provincial, or state level building codes set the minimum requirements for new construction. An upper limit on energy use is typically mandated through either performance-based or prescriptive means. In many jurisdictions, project teams must demonstrate compliance with the building code in order to obtain a building permit. This practice is wide-spread and successful in many ways - but why stop there? Should your project perform at a level that is merely acceptable, or should it be an example of best practices?

The rapidly expanding city of Toronto, Canada has done just this, creating its own energy and environmental standards for new construction projects, the Toronto Green Standard (TGS). Between 2010 (when it was first launched) and 2012, the TGS required more stringent energy performance than the provincial building code. This helped make Toronto's buildings some of the most energy efficient in the province. The code caught up in 2012, adopting the same level as the TGS. In response, Toronto is now proposing to revise the TGS target to 15% above the code. Although complying with the minimum TGS thresholds is required, projects which exceed the base targets and adopt higher levels of performance are  eligible for a refund on some of their development charges.

In addition to energy, the TGS also requires various other green building additions such as green roofs, permeable paving, pedestrian linkages, tree lined streets, and more. There is no doubt that the TGS leads to better buildings and green communities.

Is it time to raise the bar on your projects?

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