Are environmentally friendly homes being developed in the GTA?
Yes. New homes in the GTA exceed minimum standards and regulations for environmental impact, and the industry is continuously improving to meet consumer demands. In general, the Ontario Building Code is the best of its kind in North America when it comes to energy efficiency.
The most important thing our homes can do for the environment is use less energy. We expect a lot of them – to keep us warm in the winter, cool in the summer, to be well-lit, and provide us with a warm shower in the morning. But energy comes at a cost to the environment in the form of emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
Every time the Ontario Building Code gets updated, standards for energy efficiency, emissions and water use also get updated. That means new houses today are much more environmentally friendly than new houses were 20 years ago. If you want your home to be more environmentally friendly, there are several certification programs available, including ENERGY STAR® (with approximately 24% of homes in Ontario now built to ENERGY STAR® standards) and Net Zero that are supported by various builders and have even higher standards for environmental performance.
The growing trend to build housing near existing transit, also known as transit-supportive housing, is another way to reduce the environmental impact of development because it allows people to leave their cars at home.