Toronto’s Sustainable Neighbourhood Retrofit Action Plan is bringing adaptation and mitigation measures to apartment buildings and single-family homes.

The Challenge

Retrofit and climate mitigation measures can often be difficult to implement in Toronto’s older buildings and communities where the aging infrastructure requires the most improvements. SNAP programs succeed in promoting change and increasing community resilience while fully engaging residents in the process.

 

The Solution

Toronto’s Sustainable Neighbourhood Retrofit Action Plan (SNAP) is a locally tailored home retrofit program reaching both homeowners and renters with building upgrades and community enhancement initiatives. Assisting residents from planning to implementation of projects, SNAP simultaneously targets energy conservation, urban forest enhancement, water conservation, and stormwater management, as well as local food production in order to create more resilient neighborhoods. In the Black Creek neighborhood, a community of 25,000 people which was home to one of SNAP’s six pilot projects, positive results have already been observed; 88% of participants have undertaken at least one retrofit action since the program launched in 2012. One SNAP program underway in Black Creek, Harvest the Rain, has distributed 217 rain barrels to residents in an effort to protect against basement flooding while using the collected water to support vegetable gardens and tree planting. City-wide, SNAP measures are expected to reduce stormwater runoff and pollutants from private lots by 30%, expand urban forest cover by 8%, and reduce electricity use by 10%.

 

Environmental Benefits - SNAP assists in achieving targets established by the City of Toronto by reducing electricity use in the neighborhood by 10% and reducing natural gas use by 17% below 2007 levels by 2020.

Social Benefits - 1,500 neighbors have connected with one another through the Black Creek SNAP program.

Economic Benefits - SNAP aims to satisfy 20% of a community’s vegetable needs with onsite gardens, helping residents save money on grocery bills.

Health Benefits - SNAP’s expansion of urban forest cover and promotion of gardening increases the community’s contact with nature, which has positive impacts on mental health.

 

About Cities100

In its second year, Cities100 – presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation. For the first time, this year’s publication features solutions that address the nexus of climate change and social equity.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments.  You can access the full Cities100 2016 publication online here and read more about how may­ors will de­liver the aims of the Paris Agree­ment in a fore­ward by Anne Hidalgo, C40 Chair and Mayor of Paris, here.