Waterfront Toronto carbon policy

  • Implications of meeting the City’s 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.
  • Identified five key investment areas to achieve carbon emission reduction.
  • Quantification of GHG’s for existing and proposed strategies for the development.

The City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario, and the government of Canada all have carbon reduction goals to meet the climate change challenge. These goals are generally aligned with short and mid-term targets towards the long-term goal of 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.

Waterfront Toronto has a 25-year mandate to transform 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of brownfield lands on the waterfront into sustainable mixed-use communities and dynamic public spaces. The project is one of the largest infrastructure projects in North America and one of the largest waterfront redevelopment initiatives ever undertaken.

Arup was commissioned to undertake a comprehensive carbon and energy study to understand how the development can achieve a reduction in carbon emissions to meet its target. A series of 2050 scenarios were modelled for Waterfront Toronto to see how its current strategies and performance requirements would look when fully built. Arup evaluated the current trajectory in meeting carbon reduction goals and provided additional strategies in order to meet City, Provincial and Federal goals.

We used our modified IRM tool (Carbon Tool) to calculated emissions which incorporates energy, transport, buildings waste and water strategies. This allowed us identify the opportunities and develop recommendations and associated strategies for our client. Through our technical experience and research, we proposed the investment into the below areas with technology bridging gaps to reach the reduction target in 2050.

  • Passive House Standard and aggressive Energy efficiency measures
  • Electrification of heating or district systems where appropriate
  • Electrification of transport
  • A more aggressive solar PV integration plan
  • Transportation mode-shifting

Our findings included the investment, if feasible, into a low carbon non-combustion based (non-fossil or wood-based) district heating system e.g. lake water cooling system. We also outlined opportunities to electrify all sectors, including buildings, to take advantage of a very clean and improving electricity grid. We also recommended integrating high efficiency solar photovoltaics into building rooftop design and also integrating solar photovoltaic canopies on site wherever possible.


  • Toronto cityscapeOpen gallery

    We proposed investment into five key areas with technology bridging gaps to reach the carbon reduction target in 2050.