Toronto Green Standard (TGS) and cove.tool

Learn how cove.tool can help with the Toronto Green Standard

Patricia Kusumadjaja avatar
Written by Patricia Kusumadjaja
Updated over a week ago

The Toronto Green Standard (TGS) is Toronto's approach to climate action ensuring that new developments in Toronto are sustainable. It was introduced in 2006 as a voluntary standard and has evolved as a requirement to be met by any new development application today.

Toronto Green Standard, City of Toronto

What is TGS?

The Toronto Green Standard (TGS) is a tiered set of performance measures with supporting guidelines for new development. The standard promotes sustainable site and building designs that address air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, water quality and efficiency, solid waste, and ecology objectives for new developments in the City of Toronto.
It is revised and updated every four years. Version 3 is in effect since 2018 and Version 4 comes into effect May 1, 2022, for new planning applications. All versions can be found here.

The TGS contains a Development Charge Refund program which offers incentives and refunds to projects that demonstrate higher levels of sustainable design beyond Tier 1.

How does it Work?

The Standard consists of tiers of performance measures. Tier 1 of the Toronto Green Standard is required through the planning approval process. Tiers 2 to 4 are higher level voluntary standards associated with financial incentives and verified post-construction.
The Standard that best applies to the development (Low-rise, Mid to High-rise and Non-residential) must be selected and followed.

The Toronto Green Standard is organized into five concepts: Air Quality, Building Energy, emissions and resilience, Water Quality and Efficiency, Ecology and biodiversity and, Waste and the circular economy.

Each concept is comprised of multiple performance measures that need to be marked in a checklist along with the documentation asked with it.

How can cove.tool help?

We referenced the Toronto Green Standard v4 to determine which features the cove.tool could assist with. At the moment, the platform can be used completely or partially for the following features:

AQ 3.1 Connectivity

Site opportunities including connectivity of the site can be initiated by using the bike/walk/transit score.

GHG 1.1 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Limit
Calculate the GHGI number using this amazing tool that we developed with the Ontario Association of Architects.

GHG 2.1 Materials Emissions Assessment
Make initial design decisions keeping in mind A1 - A3 for embodied carbon (TGS requires A1 - 5) to prevent any major changes towards the later stages of design when further looked into other stages of LCA.

GHG 3.1 Energy Performance
Meet the initial targets for EUI and TEDI using the numbers from the baseline energy page.

Using the ISO 13790 Heat Balance Engine, prescriptive inputs from your selected energy code, industry-standard assumptions based on your building type selection, and the most local and recent climate data (weather file), cove.tool calculates Baseline EUI, EUI breakdown, and EUI target. This methodology was tested and calibrated to be within 3-5% of EnergyPlus, so it's accurate and a great approach to quickly generate feedback about energy, water, carbon, and daylight performance for your design.

From here cove.tool can optimize the percentage improvement made possible through each mechanical system and product selection to determine a better performing energy improvement bundle and bring the project closer to the TGS target. Read more about it here.

GHG 4.1 Benchmarking and Reporting

Track and assess the building performance of your project in all stages of design. The cove.tool platform helps Portfolio Manager users with providing data required for ENERGY STAR Score calculation. In design projects, users need to input the property use details along with estimated design energy to get an ENERGY STAR Score. In addition to some of the property use details such as the Gross Floor Area and weekly operating hours, the estimated energy use can be provided by our software. Learn more about it here.

WQ 1.1 Water Balance, Quality Control, and Quantity Control and WQ 1.2 Green Streets

Stormwater Management tab from the water use feature can be used to calculate the water balance in terms of total stormwater runoff, storage, and infiltration.

WQ 2.1
Using the 5 Fixture Categories, and building floor area, the cove.tool will calculate the difference between the water-use of baseline fixture flow rates and low flow rates to determine indoor water use reduction. Thus, Indoor Water Use feature can be used to achieve the target of at least 40% reduction in potable water consumption (not including irrigation) as per the Toronto Green Standard.

WQ 2.2
The Irrigation/Outdoor Use water tool can be used to calculate 60% reduction in potable water use. By default, all projects begin with a baseline template for a turf-based irrigation setup. As users start to alter the baseline assumptions and customize their outdoor water use plan, Total Irrigation Water Use will increase or decrease. The difference between a baseline turf-based irrigation plan and your custom plan will calculate the water use reduction.

Happy Modeling!

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