CURRENT ACTIVITIES — for you to join in
- Visit our Pedal Power Fair on Sat. Sept. 25, noon to 4pm, on Sussex Ave. between Borden and Brunswick, to view and try out nifty e-bikes that can substitute for driving, even when you’re hauling groceries or kids. Read more at harbordvillage.com/e-bike-fair-25-sept-noon-to-4pm/.
- The HVRA NetZero Committee is asking you to help us plan our housing retrofit and electric vehicle promotion efforts. Please click the following link to fill out our survey—and be eligible to win a free pizza from the Victory Cafe: surveymonkey.com/r/hvra-survey-2021. Read more below to see how your answers will shape our work for years to come.
- HVRA hosted a free webinar on June 1st on the topic “Financial Incentives for Pursuing NetZero”. You can now watch it on YouTube. Our presenter was Ariana Foyle, an expert with the City’s BetterHomesTO department. She told us about the various government grants, loans and subsidies that we can use to reduce the cost of retrofitting our houses and switching to electric vehicles.
- You can also watch an earlier NetZero webinar featuring Sheena Sharp on YouTube. To learn more about Sheena’s presentation, click here.
NETZERO PROJECT OVERVIEW:
While we still face the challenges of the Covid pandemic, it is clear that climate change is the defining crisis of our time. Recently the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres declared that “The state of the planet is broken.” This was not a call to despair; it was a call to action. He implored the world “It is time to flick the green switch.” He noted that “Many cities are becoming greener” and that “More and more people are understanding the need for their own daily choices to reduce their carbon footprint and respect planetary boundaries.”
Over time, Harbord Village has been one of the greenest of neighbourhoods in the GTA. We have planted trees, we have retrofitted our houses to be more comfortable and energy efficient. We have hosted a University of Toronto Engineering course on retrofitting older houses and held a webinar on housing and climate change.
We can do more.
In 2020, the HVRA board formed a committee to explore ways we might work together with residents to help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are threatening the planet. In Toronto, 55% of greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings and 36% from transportation (about 60% come from our homes and personal vehicles). We simply won’t reach our ambitious city-wide emission reduction goals without the active contribution of homeowners and changes in how we get around.
The NetZero Project is being developed to help Harbord Village residents actively participate in the climate action we need and contribute to Toronto’s efforts to become a Net Zero city by 2050. Our approach is built on two pillars:
1. Developing and Sharing Knowledge in Harbord Village.
We all have a lot to learn about making our homes and transportation choices climate friendly. The NetZero committee has developed a survey for HV residents to get a sense of the appetite for and knowledge of options to reduce emissions from our households and transportation choices. Committee members have also engaged in research on options available for making different choices.
The survey results and ongoing research into the options for climate friendly renovations and transportation will be shared with the residents of Harbord Village. Our goal is to spark discussion in the community, provide you with a toolkit containing the information you can consult to help make decisions when you are ready to make your houses more comfortable, and learn from each other as we work to make Harbord Village a Net Zero community together.
2. Developing Partnerships
We are partnering with Transform TO, the City agency leading the fight for carbon reduction, and The Atmospheric Fund to develop this community project. The city knows that neighborhoods will need to be a key area of action for its climate ambitions to be fulfilled. What we learn here in this project can and will help other neighborhoods move on climate action as well.
Pursuing an ambitious neighborhood plan together also means working together to make change as affordable as possible. The NetZero project will provide information to the residents of Harbord Village on the efficiency and low carbon upgrade opportunities that make the most sense for our old homes and our transportation needs. We will also be working to bring together vendors and groups of residents interested in bulk buys. The committee will also make sure that Harbord Village residents have access to information about all the government programs encouraging climate-friendly renovations and transportation choices.
The NetZero Project is based on the idea that the Harbord Village can be a leader on the kind of transformation that is necessary to meet the climate crisis, making our neighborhood and homes more comfortable and livable. We can do this together.
This website will continue to evolve as the project develops. See below for links to aspects of the project and more information.
A range of government and corporate incentive programs for pursuing energy efficiency and low carbon choices for homes are available.
An energy audit provides an analysis of how your house uses energy and where efficiencies can be found. It generally costs around $600. A new federal program will likely provide rebates for energy audits that pay for the whole audit
Purchasing Green Energy:
This action does not change the systems in a house, rather the purchase of green energy pays to have an equivalent amount of clean electricity and/or natural gas inputted into the electrical grid and/or natural gas system. The energy use of the house is offset in terms of carbon emissions.
Comparing Energy Rates
Installing solar panels on rooftops is an option for electricity production. Linking the solar panels into the city electric grid (“net metering”) allows the homeowner to get credit for when the solar produces more energy than the home is using and balances it against times when the solar is not productive, on a year. A second option for solar power is supplementing the home’s water heater with a solar water heater.
Energy Hub Solar Guide
Air Source Heat Pumps:
This system replaces a standard furnace and air conditioner. Heating is provided by condensing heat from the outside air and pumping it into the house and cooling is the reverse—condensing heat from the house and pumping it outside. Unlike ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps do not require a great deal of space.