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Toronto announces mass timber pilot project

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The City of Toronto has announced a new mass timber pilot project that will bring new affordable rental housing to the corner of Dundas Street West and Ossington Avenue.
This 100-home project – the first of its kind in Toronto – will take a new climate action approach to deliver affordable housing using mass timber and other low-carbon materials for building construction.
The city-owned lot, which now houses a Green P parking lot in the downtown west area, will be built to address affordability issues as well as climate concerns.
It will be one of the larger mass timber buildings in the city, and take a new climate action approach to deliver affordable housing using mass timber and other low-carbon materials for building construction. The development is being designed to the highest tier of Toronto Green Standard Version 4. To reach this tier this development will see no on-site fossil fuel use, maximize on-site renewable electricity, and use mass timber and other low-carbon materials as much as possible. As a result, this building will be near net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Through this pilot program, the city says it anticipates that a new, scalable affordable and market housing solution (a Mass Timber Affordable Housing Program) will be developed that can be replicated on other city-owned sites across Toronto.
The anticipated benefits of this approach to residential/mixed-use development include: faster construction timelines; reduced cost due to efficiencies; reduced greenhouse gas and material (embodied carbon) emissions from the housing, transportation, and construction sectors; and improved quality of life for future residents, all while optimizing the density of affordable housing on targeted city-owned real estate assets.
Toronto says mass timber construction presents an opportunity to rapidly scale up the supply of affordable housing in Toronto. The pilot program will focus primarily on mid-rise development, but can also include analyzing both missing middle (housing types such as laneway houses, duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, townhouses, and low-rise apartment buildings) and tall building development through a mass timber form.
“The pilot program announced today will demonstrate not only the commitment we have to becoming a greener city, but that this approach can allow help build cost-effective affordable housing,” says Toronto Mayor John Tory.
“Using innovative and modern ideas like mass timber construction will help us deliver high quality designs and buildings that will contribute to our goal of net zero emissions by 2040. Once the pilot project is up and running, the results could lead to a new development model which would add a new way for us to address the affordable housing challenges in our city. This is good news for our city and a clear demonstration of the work we are doing to advance new ideas and implement solutions to pressing issues faced by our city.”

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