Sustainability in Ontario

Tue, Jan 26, 2010

Green Countries

Ontario is leading the way in Canada in encouraging sustainable development. Both the government and private companies have developed initiatives to make the province more eco-friendly.

Government Projects

The provincial government introduced a bill to ban the sale of incandescent light bulbs by 2012. If all homes in Ontario replaced their standard bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, it would save enough energy to power 600,00 homes. Effectively immediately, all government building will be lit with CFLs. The government is subsidizing conservation programs, including coupons for the energy saving lights, rebates for energy efficient home appliances, and discount bills for consumers who use less energy.

On a local level, the Toronto government introduced the Live Green Toronto program. Over the next five years, the project will distribute $20 million to carbon-savings projects. Environmentalists meet and collaborate with citizens who have a carbon-savings idea. If the plan meets approval and makes it past the development stage, citizens are awarded grants to put their ideas into action. It’s all part of efforts to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 6% by 2012. On a larger scale, Toronto wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

Private Projects

21 colleges and universities in the province signed a pledge to be more sustainable. The voluntary contract has three goals:

  • to assist in finding solutions to the challenges of environmental sustainability
  • to share knowledge about sustainability and climate change
  • to incorporate, wherever possible, principles of sustainability into their own operations.

Richard White Architects in Arnprior designs and builds sustainable structures. From choosing sites where natural ventilation and lighting are maximized, to reducing toxic building materials, to recycling construction waste, concern for the environment is at the forefront of the entire design and building cycle.

Toronto’s Steam Whistle Brewing is also committed to being green. Every element of the packaging, from the bottles to the cartons used for shipping, are recycled into more packaging. The brewery is powered by wind and hydro energy and its delivery trucks run on renewable biofuels, a combination of soy and recycled restaurant grease. At outdoor events, they serve their beer in cornstarch resin cups that are completely biodegradable in 50 days.

By Danielle Bullen. Danielle can be reached at DanielleBullen@comcast.net.

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