Toronto’s Housing Market Makes It Hard to Care About Green Infrastructure
by Philly Dias on October 9, 2016 - 3:06pm
The housing market in Toronto is at the highest that we’ve seen in years. Toronto is the fastest growing metropolis in the continent and quickly becoming one of the most expensive North American regions to live in. Housing affordability is among the top issues that our country is currently facing. Changing demographics and population are leading to both a rise in markets and cost due to supply and demand. In recent years consumers have become more environmentally conscious. Green technologies have made advancements towards implementing sustainable energy into homes. Homeowners believe that by adopting these technologies, it will differentiate their home from others on the market come time to sell. However these eco-features lose all impact, as buyers are discouraged to purchase them due to the unaffordable prices of the housing market.
Sumit Ajwani, a 33-year old advertising producer from Toronto, is finding ways to make his home more efficient without adding external sources of green energy. He believes that instead of offsetting grid energy with solar panels, we need to focus on using a non-conventional green approach. Green energy isn’t necessarily about powering your home with renewable energy but rather efficiently managing the energy that you currently possess. This means creating energy efficient home without the need for new sources. In order to reduce the amount of energy needed to supply the household, more efficient practices must be utilized, such as reducing air leakage through better insulation and enhancing power consumption. By using the right insulation and adjusting respective factors, it is expected that an electric heat pump could substitute gas lines, which is high in performance and less expensive. Ajwani argues that the increasing prices of utilities (e.g. cost of heating and cooling a home), will encourage buyers to search for homes that incorporate these effective resources. The millennials currently make up the majority of the housing market demographic, being first time buyers. In a seller's market, we need to create demand for investing in profitable green renovations to add market value for the houses of the “Tesla generation”.
While this information is recognized, it is still unknown as to why there is no incentive to create green features for our homes. Torontonians need to invest in green alternatives that are cost effective, sustainable, and contributors in adding value to the market in the long term. The Ontario government needs to create incentives for people to want to pursue new forms of sustainable features and green power for their homes. In 2011, Manitoba made it mandatory that all new homes were to contain energy saving, heat recovery ventilation systems. However one province making these advancements is not enough. The Ontario provincial government needs to invest in a policy that creates demand within the economy for environmental technology in homes. So will Torontonians choose energy efficiency or continue to be one of the most consumptive globally?
O’Kane. J. (2016). Green features add value to a home, but do they make it sell? The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/green-features-add-val...