Rapid growth and urbanization bring new pressures and increasing challenges for municipalities. In order for communities to deliver the quality of life citizens expect, municipalities need to effectively manage the use of their energy and water resources. Since buildings are major consumers of energy and water, and generate waste, air pollution, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, municipalities can help manage the increased demand on their resources through the development of green development standards.

About The Municipal Green Development Standards Toolkit

Clean Air Partnership (CAP) collaborated with eight municipalities to develop a toolkit to help communities develop and implement green development standards (GDS) for new residential buildings. This project was funded by FCM’s Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program’s Transition 2050 initiative.

The tool, Towards Low Carbon Communities: Creating Municipal Green Development Standards, An Implementation Toolkit for Municipal Staff, helps municipalities achieve Official Plan objectives, such as GHG reduction targets, and goals related to sustainability, health and economic development. The tool considers how communities can grow healthy, well-designed communities that have integrated greenspace, pedestrian and transit networks, and also offer a variety of housing, transportation, human services, and employment options. GDS help municipalities alleviate pressures from population growth and urbanization by using infrastructure and resources efficiently.

“Municipalities are facing new pressures and increasing challenges from climate change, rapid growth and urbanization. New developments represent a critical opportunity for municipalities to take bold climate action and effectively manage their use of energy and water resources. At the same time, they can improve the quality of life and competitiveness for their community members.”

– Vanessa Cipriani

To create the toolkit, CAP hosted monthly webinars and worked with municipalities to gather and document lessons learned. With input from communities, CAP created a milestone approach to creating municipal green development standards.

The following municipalities collaborated on the development of this toolkit:

  • Town of Whitby
  • City of Vaughan
  • Municipality of Clarington
  • Town of Caledon
  • City of Guelph
  • Town of Halton Hills
  • City of Ottawa
  • City of Toronto

Create green development standards in your municipality

By following the toolkit’s milestone framework, your municipality can develop, implement and track green development standards.

The toolkit is available to all Canadian municipalities to help you:

  • Learn about the health, environmental and economic benefits that green development standards offer
  • Advance through a milestone framework to develop, implement and track your green development standards
  • Communicate the value of green development standards to decision makers
  • Create standards for your community based on sample metrics
  • Design consultation and engagement plans to gather feedback on your standards
  • Develop incentives for development applicants

Use the tool.

Who is this tool for

This tool will be useful for municipal staff in the following departments: planning, development, sustainability, climate change, transportation, forestry, parks, and engineering.


Vanessa Cipriani
Project Coordinator

Kevin Behan
Deputy Director

Did you find this page helpful?
Please offer suggestions that will improve the learning center for you: