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The Atmospheric Fund and Toronto Community Housing partner to add efficient cooling for families in North York


Staff member
Mar 19, 2024
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Image: Residents of Tree and Field Sparroway at Finch and Leslie in Toronto, Ontario, gather to review retrofit designs. Photo by Nhan Ng Productions.

TORONTO – The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) and Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) kicked off a deep, multi-measure retrofit at Field and Tree Sparroway, a townhouse complex in North York that is home to about 175 families.

The retrofit project targets a 50% reduction in energy and carbon emissions. These upgrades will foster healthier, more comfortable indoor living environments for families, while the resilience measures will safeguard residents from Toronto’s increasingly extreme summer heat. The retrofit is expected to save more than $5 million in utility costs for TCHC over 20 years and create many local employment opportunities. These local job opportunities will be coordinated and filled by Building Up, a social contractor and TAF partner, whose workforce will support the project by installing LED lighting, painting, and providing general site labour.

Construction is now underway to install efficient mini split heat pumps, baseboards and smart controls, ventilation, new LED lighting, and water-saving measures. A second phase will convert gas hot water heating to electric and will eliminate gas combustion from the complex.

Through consultation with TAF and TCHC, residents, funders, and trades are integral to the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) approach to this project, fostering collaboration and transparency on all project measures. This approach aligns incentives and priorities amongst all parties, thereby improving outcomes. Prior to the retrofit, TAF surveyed residents about their indoor environment experiences to inform the design work and establish a baseline for measurement. Last month, TAF, along with project partners Turner Construction Company, Sprint Mechanical, Baird Sampson Neuert Architects, Building Up, and TCHC, held a community event to present the designs, gather resident feedback, and celebrate the project.

This project is funded in part by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Independent Electricity System Operator.


“By involving the community in the retrofit process, we are able to meet our emissions reduction goals and create healthier and more comfortable homes in a way that works for residents. It’s great to see partnerships like this at work in Toronto, tackling critical housing improvements.” — Keith Burrows, Director of Low-Carbon Buildings, TAF

“TCHC is proud to continue our ongoing partnership with TAF and Building Up to retrofit this community. This investment allows our tenants to live more comfortably in their homes all year round. Investments in energy-efficient projects, like this one, help us advance towards the City’s goal of achieving Net-Zero emissions.” — Sean Baird, President and Chief Executive Officer, TCHC

“This project is a perfect example of solving multiple complex challenges with a cohesive and intentional strategy. We are so grateful to TAF and TCHC for truly acting on their values and, through Building Up, connecting the work related to improving housing, with the residents living in housing looking for opportunities to build experience and careers in the construction trades.” — Mark Soberano, President, Building Up



The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) is a regional climate agency that invests in low-carbon solutions for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and helps scale them up for broad implementation. We’re particularly interested in ideas that offer benefits in addition to carbon reduction such as improving people’s health, creating local jobs, boosting urban resiliency, and contributing to a fair society.


Building Up is a non-profit social enterprise that connects individuals experiencing barriers to employment to long term careers in the construction industry. Building Up can often be found employing residents of TCHC to carry out energy efficiency upgrades through the portfolio. These residents also participate in a comprehensive trades training program that then connects them to apprenticeship opportunities in the construction industry.


Toronto Community Housing (www.torontohousing.ca) is Canada’s largest social housing provider, with more than 20 years of service to the community. Named a 2024 Greater Toronto Top Employer, TCHC offers supportive housing to nearly 43,000 low- and moderate-income households in neighbourhoods across the city.


Julie Leach
Senior Manager, Campaigns & Communications
The Atmospheric Fund
[email protected] | 416-393-6382

John Andrews
Communications Consultant
Toronto Community Housing
[email protected] | 416-275-5291
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