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Greener Cities Now

In the fight against climate change, mega-cities like New York are stepping it up to reduce their carbon emissions. 

In April 2019, New York City council passed new legislation that requires all buildings over 25,000 square feet to cap the amount of carbon they release every year; buildings that don’t maintain or meet the carbon cap will be fined. 

And New York isn’t the only city taking aggressive climate action; cities around the world are transforming into themselves into smart cities in a concerted effort to make urban life more sustainable. Cities like Cascais, Portugal; South Bend, Indiana; Amsterdam; Seoul; and Hong Kong are all adopting smart, green technologies that help reduce the environmental impact of typical urban operations.

For example, sensor-fitted garbage bins in Portugal notify waste management when they’re almost full allowing city staff to more efficiently coordinate garbage pickup and create healthier, cleaner urban city streets for its constituents. Cameras in cities like Copenhagen monitor traffic congestion and adjust traffic light stop and go frequency to improve the stream of traffic, which data shows can reduce CO2 emissions on roads. Cities in places like the United Kingdom are attaching smart sensors to water and air filtration systems that can monitor and abate over usage while simultaneously improving the quality of the supply to citizens.  

As we start to see the successful implementation of smart, climate-friendly technology and regulations in international cities, we know that Toronto is next. It’s not ‘if’ carbon-related legislation like benchmarking, reporting and fines will come to Toronto, it’s just a matter of when. 

The need for building carbon reduction is clear. According to Urbanation, a real estate insight firm, more than 1,000 condo buildings have gone up in Toronto since 2000 and, according to the City of Toronto, the heating and cooling of buildings is responsible for 52 per cent of Toronto’s greenhouse-gas emissions alone. 

Much like New York, we need to hold property owners and managers accountable for their energy consumption. To that end, there are immediate, cost-efficient solutions that can help buildings and their cities proactively address their environmental impact. Installing smart, AI-driven technology in condos and residential buildings is a terrific example of relatively easy ways we can start to steadily reduce our overall carbon output. 

At Parity, we have data available that demonstrates huge potential for Toronto buildings to reduce their overall carbon output through more efficient management of their HVAC systems. The data suggests that even the smallest adjustments, like reducing the rotation of a condo unit’s fan just once, for every hour, every day, for every year going forward, can translate into significant savings for properties. 

The technology is available to us. We have thousands of buildings that can benefit from this model and can help accelerate Toronto’s efforts to support Canada’s carbon emission targets. 

Let’s look at the global examples around us and be inspired to imagine the sustainable, green future of our own cities. Let’s use technology to serve the greater good, turning our homes into champions of change and the sustainable urban living models we aspire to.