Target 2030: Establishing Utility-Performance Targets for Carbon Reduction at the University of Toronto

Joel Good, RWDI

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The University of Toronto (U of T) is increasing its commitment to reducing its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The updated goal is to be at least 37 percent below the university's 1990 level of 116,959 tonnes eCO2 by 2030. This will keep U of T on track to becoming a net-zero GHG institution by 2050. A key element to achieve this goal will be to reduce the carbon footprint of all buildings, both existing and new construction. To support this goal, RWDI's services were engaged to develop an updated utility-performance standard for all buildings across three U of T campuses in downtown Toronto, Scarborough, and Mississauga, Ontario.

After conducting an iterative energy-modelling approach, RWDI and U of T established performance-based metrics for six archetypal buildings, including wet and dry laboratories, that represent most of the buildings across the three campuses. This collaborative process involved selecting representative archetypal buildings and confirming key inputs and assumptions. Performance targets were developed for new buildings that will balance technology, costs, and current infrastructure (e.g., U of T's district energy system). Staging-improved indices, to keep in tune with codes, were also established, as were tiered improvements that can be applied to existing buildings, which represents a large portion of U of T's total emissions.

Learning Objectives

  • Compare and contrast different building energy performance metrics;
  • Summarize the development process for the U of T Tri-Campus Utility Performance Standard;
  • Identify key considerations when developing targets for wet and dry lab academic building types; and
  • Identify lessons learned and considerations for other academic and research facilities seeking to improve utility performance through a similar framework.


Joel is a Principal and the Sustainability Practice Area Leader with RWDI where he is a trusted advisor on projects aiming to create comfortable, sustainable built environments that harness a site's natural energy sources. Joel specializes in energy and daylight modelling, solar and reflected light studies, thermal & visual comfort, and net-zero strategies. Joel is a Passive House Certified Consultant and WELL Faculty member and performance testing agent.


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