Aiming for Tier 2 at The Nest
Earlier this week we sat down with our resident urban planner Kathryn Randle to chat about The Nest’s sustainability efforts and the Toronto Green Standard. Kathryn manages development applications and works with the City and community to help create meaningful developments across the GTA. But for now, let’s chat about The Nest.
Can you tell us a little about the Toronto Green Standard?
The Toronto Green Standard is a set of environmental performance measures put into place by the City of Toronto to ensure that buildings are now environmentally friendly and sustainable. There are two tiers, and the Toronto Green Standard has been in place since January of 2010.
Tier 1 is mandatory for all buildings, with a different set of guidelines and requirements for mid- to high-rise, commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings. Tier 2 is completely optional and goes above and beyond the minimum requirements.
Why did The Nest pursue Tier 2? To your knowledge, are there many buildings in Toronto that have met the Tier 2 requirements?
As developers, we have the opportunity to do our part in addressing the 21st century issues surrounding major cities like climate change, consumption of resources, and transportation. Rockport Group likes to be at the forefront of finding solutions to such challenges through building design. Plus, many businesses and communities here in Ward 21 are extremely green and eco-friendly. When deciding to bring The Nest to Hillcrest, we had already planned on using geothermal energy, but then decided to go one step further and aim for Tier 2.
As far as we know, as of 2013, there were only two projects in all of Toronto that met Tier 2 requirements. We are excited to be leaders in this initiative.
What has The Nest done to meet Tier 1 requirements?
We’ve done quite a bit! Tier 1 is largely about site selection. We’re lucky because the subway is nearby, we’re on the streetcar line, and the neighbourhood is extremely walkable and bikeable, so that’s reducing a lot of the impact on the environment right away. We’ve got 99 bike parking stalls – one for almost anyone.
For site landscaping we selected drought-tolerant, water-efficient plants. We’re also providing new shady street trees and making sure that they’re correctly planted with the right soil. We’re also including a lot of bird-friendly features, like sun shades for window coverings and canopies on the first level to prevent birds from being drawn towards the building.
What has The Nest done to meet Tier 2 requirements?
When we ran our initial energy model we discovered that we were way better than the Tier 1 requirement of 20 per cent or better than the Model National Energy Code for Buildings. In fact, we were even better than the Tier 2 requirement of 30 per cent or better. At The Nest we’re targeting 40 per cent.
We’ve hired a commissioning agent to make sure that all our systems are running at their top performance. We’re using low-flow faucets and shower heads in the units. Everything is drought tolerant and we’re reusing the water that’s captured on the site for irrigation.
We’re also doing individual suite monitoring so that unit owners can monitor their own water and hydro usage which increases awareness and essentially functions as self-imposed conservation. In addition, we have large storage and collection spaces for recycling and organic waste.
Our construction activities are also green – we’re diverting 75% of the demolition debris from landfills.
What does all this mean for residents of The Nest?
It will hopefully result in some cost-savings for them, and more importantly it’s a healthier living environment. It creates a stronger and healthier community because the residents are contributing to the longterm vitality of the area. They’re also contributing to the sustainability of the community which is great for future generations.
Thanks for chatting with us Kathryn!