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37CE - Climate Change and the Toronto Community Housing Portfolio

24 May 2018 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

1.5 ConEd Learning Hours

Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) controls the largest single component of residential stock in Canada. With the building sector responsible for over 25 per cent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, this places TCHC in the position of being one of the largest GHG reduction target opportunities in Canada. 

With a building stock largely from the 1960s and 70s, and with only two per cent of tenants compelled to pay utility bills, TCHC’s energy costs compromise 25 per cent of its operating budget at nearly $140M per year.

Beyond meeting the ambitious energy and GHG reduction targets set at all three levels of government, the retrofitting of TCHC’s portfolio has become a matter of financial necessity. These energy retrofits present huge challenges for the historically underfunded corporation and represent a battle that must be waged on three fronts: the upgrading of end of life building systems, the provision of effective and consistent operating and maintenance programs and the extensive engagement of tenants.

This 90-minute presentation will outline the design opportunities and challenges of bringing TCHC into the 21st century and serve as a broader call for creative solutions from architects and design professionals.

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn about current strategies in the retrofitting of existing high-rise residential buildings.
  2. Learn about the current political, economical and sociological challenges surrounding the implementation of energy retrofits at social housing.
  3. Discuss the unique design considerations and need for creative solutions when endeavoring to solve the complex issues that face retrofit and renovation work in social housing.
  4. Explore the role of the architect as an important agent for change in these communities.


Keir Brownstone
Energy Manager, Toronto Community Housing.

Keir Brownstone is a sustainability expert working as an Energy Manager at Toronto Community Housing. Keir is responsible for Conservation Engagement, Waste Management and partnership projects, including a ground breaking 7 building energy retrofit project with the Toronto Atmospheric Fund.

Prior to TCHC Keir worked with the Tower Renewal Office at the City of Toronto.

Keir was the General Manager of GLOBE delivering sustainability programs to social housing providers across Ontario.

Keir was also one time General Manager of Greensaver, one of the first residential energy efficiency not-for-profit companies to offer Energuide Energy audits in Ontario.

Noah Slater, M.Arch., OAA, LEEP AP

As a licensed architect with 15 years of senior level practical experience, Noah Slater had lead the design and construction administration of a large number of cutting-edge architectural, development and planning projects before joining Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) as the director of capital planning, design and engineering in 2016. As the director of two departments within TCHC, he now oversees the capital planning and design for repair projects in a portfolio of 2,100 residential buildings across the GTA. As one of North America’s largest social housing provider, this includes the oversight of 50 million square feet of residential space representing $9B in public assets.