In 2019, the TDSB endorsed the City of Toronto’s climate emergency declaration and asked the Director to report back on the TDSB’s actions to address climate change, in terms of both climate literacy and facility operations.
Reducing carbon emissions is critical to mitigating the worst effects of climate change. In the City of Toronto, over 50% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are generated directly by buildings. With 583 operating schools comprising over 44 million square feet of floor area, the TDSB is the second largest property owner/manager in our city. As such, the ways in which the TDSB designs, builds and operates schools has a significant impact on Toronto’s overall GHG emissions and our ability to meet the goal of Net Zero Carbon by 2050 for our school buildings.
In 2020, the Energy and Climate Action team was created within the Sustainability Office to specifically address the challenges of climate change by focusing on ways to reduce GHG emissions generated by school buildings. The team is involved in a number of on-going projects and initiatives, including:
Building Renewal Projects Commissioning
Direct participation with installing contractors to commission and verify the performance of new HVAC projects, including boiler plants, air handling and ventilation systems and controls systems upgrades.
Design Guideline Reviews
Establishment of Building Automation Systems (BAS) design guidelines and commissioning standards for building renewal projects. Facilitating the implementation of sustainable design standards and practices (LEED, Passive House, Net Zero Carbon) into TDSB design guidelines used for building renewal and capital projects.
Energy Retrofit Projects
Design and implementation of renewal projects that specifically target reductions in GHG emissions of a school. These projects typically involve the replacement of obsolete pneumatic building controls with direct digital controls and retro-commission of existing HVAC systems.
Building Automation Systems (BAS)
Outdated BAS at schools are replaced with up-to-date, Web-enabled systems that provide remote monitoring and diagnostic capabilities. Building systems are re-programmed to operate more efficiently and provide increased ventilation rates.
Projects undertaken to reprogram and recommission automated building controls in order to maximize the amount of fresh air ventilation in schools. Monitoring of ventilation fans and equipment to ensure correct operation and minimize downtime.
Utilities Management and Building Analytics
Real-time energy data (electricity, gas, water) at every school is monitored and analyzed to verify utility billing and establish energy and GHG performance benchmarks. Anomalies in energy consumption are identified in order to facilitate corrective actions at the school level. Setting and tracking of GHG reduction targets required to achieve Net Zero Carbon goals.
The team works closely with TDSB Operations staff to support initiatives and training programs aimed at improving the operation and maintenance of building HVAC equipment.
For more information contact: Maurice.Buonastella@tdsb.on.ca.