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Tower Renewal Program: apartment buildings to receive energy retrofit

deerparker

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I recall mention of a retrofit in an earlier thread, but I can't find it...

Apartment buildings to receive energy retrofit
June 12, 2008
Theresa Boyle
STAFF REPORTER

Toronto's greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by up to 5 per cent under a program to give more than 1,000 aging apartment buildings energy retrofits, Mayor David Miller says.

The Tower Renewal Project, to be launched in September, will also create jobs in trades and help revitalize needy communities.

"The best environmental solutions also bring social and economic benefits of job creation, local economic development, cleaner air and better health," Miller told 1,200 delegates yesterday at a conference hosted by the Canadian Green Building Council.

The concrete slab buildings targeted were built between the '50s and '70s, with poor insulation. One-quarter are owned by Toronto Community Housing, the rest privately owned. The retrofit involves cladding them in an outer layer of insulation and updating their mechanical systems.

"The concrete slab buildings were designed at a time when energy efficiency wasn't a very significant consideration. They're terrible wasters of energy," Miller said.

The program, in the works for a year, is a joint venture with the (Bill) Clinton Climate Initiative, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. and E.R.A. Architects.

The buildings are mostly in poorer areas, including Jameson Ave. in Parkdale, St. James Town, and Jane and Finch, Miller said.

Steps will also be taken to improve the area around the buildings.

Many are "surrounded by green space that doesn't have public access, so the retrofit allows us to use the green space in a better way, perhaps rezone some of it for commercial, and perhaps have community gardens," Miller said.

"Some of these neighbourhoods have a lot of newcomers who are often entrepreneurs and have no place to create businesses. You can add commercial development to allow entrepreneurs a place to succeed."

The city may put up seed money, but the initiative will pay for itself in energy savings, Miller said.


Toronto Star
 

Hipster Duck

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I thought the article was rather promising. Especially this:

"Steps will also be taken to improve the area around the buildings.

Many are "surrounded by green space that doesn't have public access, so the retrofit allows us to use the green space in a better way, perhaps rezone some of it for commercial, and perhaps have community gardens," Miller said.

"Some of these neighbourhoods have a lot of newcomers who are often entrepreneurs and have no place to create businesses. You can add commercial development to allow entrepreneurs a place to succeed."
 

Hipster Duck

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Thanks for digging that up, deerparker.

It led me to this interesting schematic of the cladding they might use:

basic-overclad-2.jpg
 

maestro

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^not if it means commie blocks of EIFS and/or corrugated steel.

P.S. can't beleive I used commie blocks!?!
 

Prometheus The Supremo

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you just know the cheapest solution (modification) will win.

does this apply to brick clad buildings as well?
 

Chuck

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Simply replacing the existing single pane windows with new thermal units would do the trick. Overcladding, if done poorly, creates a whole host of other significant problems, and at the same time is a very energy intensive operation in and of itself.

I think that a better solution would be to make better use of the grounds surrounding the buildings, as well as the roof. Grow vegetables, implement solar heating, build stores so that people don't have to get in their car to buy milk. Fortunately the latter suggestion is already being considered.
 

adma

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Given this is ERA, any allowance for maintaining aesthetics as well as form? Can't bear to see all those 60s whitebricks losing their white brick...
 

khris

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Wait, is this just for Toronto, or an Ontario thing?

And they're going to put metal cladding over the buildings? WTF?
 

Towered

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I agree with what some of you have already said, that the most exciting part about this is building small shops on the useless green spaces that these towers stand in. It would do wonders to bring some vibrancy and street life to these isolated, dreary developments if done correctly.
 

BobBob

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This initiative, if it takes off, may be the most important single city-building project of our generation. The hundreds of 60s/70s-era apartment buildings in the city constitute a massive housing infrastructure that is in disrepair, is urbanistically dysfunctional and environmentally unsound.

If their energy efficiency and livability are drastically improved while their empty spaces are re-appropriated for uses beneficial to the local community (commercial spaces, gardens, community facilities), it will mean a massive positive change for the city.

Especially now that we are trying to reduce our carbon footprints, and have Transit City connecting all of these highly dense nodes, urbanizing and renewing them is hugely important IMHO.

I think there are reasons to be optimistic. An economically sound incentive system will be set up, from the sound of it, and Miller seems to be really behind the project.
 

Hipster Duck

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Towered,

I have thought a great deal about the commercial intensification of slab neighbourhoods and think that it's the most feasible and realistic way of "urbanizing" the suburban 416. I am not particularly enamoured with the 'Avenues' plan, but that's another story.

I think that the most effective way to fertilize businesses in towers is to give preferential lease rates to tenants, and zone the area to allow for micro-scaled retail: tiny 'hole in the wall' storefronts that are often less than 300 sq. feet in size. There is a highly successful and fairly new condo development in NYCC (I forgot the name, but Scarberiankhatru actually pointed it out) near Yonge and Finch where Korean shopkeepers have set up a vibrant collection of stores selling anything from sushi to clothing to karaoke bars. The success of this development relies on the tiny retail spaces, which offer affordability and flexibility.
 

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