This article is part of a series called Six sustainability ideas that have gone mainstream in Canada. Each article explores an innovative sustainability idea that may have seemed radical a decade ago but is now considered a best practice. The series features inspiring ideas and projects being implemented in Canadian cities and towns of all sizes, plus resources to help you implement these solutions in your community.
A Green Home Makeover demonstration showcases eco-friendly home improvements, and educates homeowners and the building industry about installation and maintenance.
An age-related challenge: Like many 1980s-era suburbs, the County Court neighbourhood in the City of Brampton, ON, is filled with single-family homes, cul-de-sacs and large parks. It also has aging infrastructure, such as its stormwater systems, in need of an upgrade to deal with the realities of climate change.
Sustainable solution: Instead of taking a piecemeal approach, the city partnered with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) in the Sustainable Neighbourhood Retrofit Action (SNAP) program to explore integrated solutions for addressing local water, energy and ecological retrofit needs. The SNAP program brings regional governments, local authorities, businesses and residents together to work on building resilient and efficient local communities.
Green benefits: For the County Court neighbourhood, partnering with the SNAP program has resulted in a series of innovative projects that meet multiple needs at once, such as a Green Home Makeover, bio-filter swale and stormwater irrigation facility. The impact of these initiatives is monitored and reported on through the TRCA's Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program.
Success secrets: Several key features contribute to the success of this approach:
- a focus on collaboration
- coordination of public- and private-sector actions
- development of integrated solutions
- use of existing regional and municipal plans and budgets at the local level
Is your neighbourhood in need of a retrofit?
Learn more about sustainable neighbourhood development with these resources:
- Sustainable Neighbourhood Development: Practical Solutions to Common Challenges (free guide by FCM's Green Municipal Fund)
- Sustainable Neighbourhood Retrofit Action Plan (Toronto and Region Conservation)
Discover more sustainability ideas and project examples
Read the other articles in this series for more sustainability ideas and project examples that you can use in your community:
- Cranbrook gains $1.2M in value by using wastewater for irrigation
- How Saint-Hyacinthe turns organic waste into biogas and revenue
- Why net-zero energy buildings reduce emissions and costs for communities
- Cut GHG in half with low-carbon design
- Ways Ottawa increases cycling with green transit options
This series was inspired by "From Crazy to Common Sense: 'Radical' Ideas Whose Time Have Come," a workshop that was held at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' 2016 Sustainable Communities Conference.
Move ideas to reality: Get funding and free resources from FCM's Green Municipal Fund
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Want to explore all GMF-funded projects? Check out the Projects Database for a complete overview of funded projects and get inspired by municipalities of all sizes, across Canada.