In 2007, Toronto City Council adopted the “Climate Change, Clean Air and Sustainable Energy Action Plan”xi which committed to increasing energy efficiency at City facilities. In 2009, “The Power to Live Green” report was also adopted by City Council, in which it proposed an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. The most recent and targeted Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan (ECDM) was adopted in July 2014. The plan takes a systematic approach to identifying energy conservation opportunities through classification of buildings and energy consumption benchmarking. The 10-year ECDM covers all city facilities, which alone spent over US$53 million on electricity and natural gas in 2012. The ECDM identifies opportunities with the potential to reduce energy consumption by up to 30% by 2019, leading to annual cost savings of over $17 million. This achieves an average payback period of less than 8 years through energy savings and utility company incentives.


Successful programs such as the Better Buildings Partnershipxii and the City’s Energy Retrofit Programxiii have implemented over $100 million of energy-related projects. Other initiatives include installation of renewable energy facilities at Exhibition Place, the Enwave Deep Lake Water Cooling system, and policies such as the Toronto Green Standard.xiv

Reasons for success

Toronto has recognised the importance of target setting and strategy making to create long-term stability of business and investment expectations, as well as guide local policies and initiatives in improving energy efficiency of the municipal portfolio. Benchmarking underlying the Plans and Strategies also helped quantify the economic and other benefits of energy efficiency measures, driving the necessary actions. 

C40 Good Practice Guides

C40's Good Practice Guides offer mayors and urban policymakers roadmaps for tackling climate change, reducing climate risk and encouraging sustainable urban development. With 100 case studies taken from cities of every size, geography and stage of development around the world, the Good Practice Guides provide tangible examples of climate solutions that other cities can learn from. 

The Municipal Building Efficiency Good Practice Guide is available for download here.  The full collection of C40 Good Practice Guides is available for download here.  

All references can be found in the full guide.

  • Economic
  • Environmental
Key Impact
The city adopts a systematic approach to identifying energy conservation opportunities through classification of buildings and energy consumption benchmarking
Initial Investments
$100 million CAD
Financial Savings
$17 million CAD (annually)
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