Building greenhouses Canada

An aerial shot taken from the 51st floor above the Manulife Centre, taken in 2004. (Photo by Tannis Toohey/Toronto Star via Getty Images)TORONTO – In Canada’s largest city, the skyscrapers continue to rise taller and taller, though the city is aiming to bring its energy bill lower and lower.

Cars are often cited as high producers of greenhouse gas, but the reality is that cities are major culprits.

According to the Canadian Green Building Council, there are 68, 000 commercial buildings across Canada that account for 28 per cent of all greenhouse gases emitted in the country.

What that means for cities like Toronto — which is home to dozens of skyscrapers and hundreds of office buildings, more than any in Canada — is finding new ways to make buildings greener.

Toronto has been extremely successful in lowering its greenhouse gas emissions. In 2007, the city adopted the Kyoto Protocol to set goals of its own, specifically, reducing emissions to 1990 levels. A recent report from the city stated that Toronto had reduced its emissions in 2012 by 15 per cent — far ahead of its 6 per cent target.

Mark Bekkering of the City of Toronto’s Environment and Energy Office, said that the level was also helped by provincial standards set to reduce the use of coal, as well as methane capture projects in landfills.

Adopting better ways to build

“A lot of people don’t realize how much energy is used in the workplace, ” said Andrew McAllan, Chairman of the Canadian Green Building Council, a not-for-profit organization working toward green buildings and sustainable practices throughout the country.

McAllan is also the Managing Director for Real Estate Management at Oxford Properties Group, one of the largest property developers and managers in Canada. “Unlike cars, which have perhaps a 10-year life and then they’re off the road, these buildings are for 50, 60, 100 years.”

Joe D’Abramo, Director, Zoning and Environmental Planning for the City of Toronto, said that Canada’s largest city knew that it had to re-examine how buildings were constructed.

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