Waterfront Toronto's Carbon Tool is helping embed carbon considerations into community planning and decision making, ensuring new waterfront neighbourhoods are designed using the best and most progressive sustainability tools.
Waterfront Toronto is working to create green, liveable, and prosperous communities and the Carbon Tool supports this effort by driving sustainability considerations into neighbourhood designs and by ensuring new waterfront neighbourhoods are designed using the best and most progressive sustainability tools.
The Carbon Tool was a joint effort between Waterfront Toronto and the C40-Clinton Climate Initiative. The Carbon Tool is based on climate positive objectives and will be used by Climate Positive Development projects around the world.
The Carbon Tool is a spreadsheet-based assessment instrument that allows its users to measure sustainability performance in key areas such as land use, energy, water, waste, transportation, and materials. Each area has a set of strategies and associated target levels that can be adjusted, allowing the tool to assessment the range of possible sustainability outcomes during the development of planning alternatives.
The Carbon Tool enables the user to understand the relationship between development decisions and sustainability and to explore ways of improving performance and reducing carbon emissions. The Carbon Tool performs calculations and produces visual outputs for the aggregate development project in question.
The Waterfront Toronto Carbon Tool was developed by a team led by Arup in collaboration with the C40-Clinton Climate Initiative, Climate Positive Development Program, and the Cities Centre at the University of Toronto with funding support from the Ontario Power Authority.
The Carbon Tool will allow Waterfront Toronto to contribute to a significant carbon footprint reduction and address the challenges of global climate change.
Moving forward, the application of the Carbon Tool will also help to drive innovations in construction, clean energy generation, waste management, water management, and transportation.
This is achieved by enabling users to explore progressive strategies and targets for carbon reductions.
Integrating sustainability objectives and planning techniques into its design, the Lower Don Lands is a key example of Waterfront Toronto’s commitment to sustainable city building. As a result, the precinct was selected as one of 16 founding pilot projects of the C40-Clinton Climate Initiative’s Climate Positive Development Program. As a member of this program, the Lower Don Lands will seek to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to below zero.
The West Don Lands was used to test the Carbon Tool to discover how using it to model the community could help to improve neighbourhood planning and design decisions. The Carbon Tool predicted the following when comparing the approved plans for the West Don Lands against a baseline, 'build-as-usual' scenario:
By employing the strategies modelled in the test, the West Don Lands would achieve a total carbon savings of 29%.
The results also showed that the majority of carbon is attributed to energy and transport. The outputs can help the project team determine where to direct efforts to reduce carbon.