Toronto, July 6, 2007 - Today, the City of Toronto officially launched the heating of four indoor pools using solar energy. The solar pool heating systems are the largest municipally-owned installations in Canada, and are heating pools at three of the City's recreation centres.
At 312 metres squared (m2), the Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre solar pool heating system is the largest in Canada (there are two pools at this location, each is serviced by its own system; the smaller solar system is 94 m2). Scarborough Centennial Recreation Centre's solar heating system is 250 m2 and the installation at the Agincourt Recreation Centre, where the day's event was held, is 241 m2.
"The City of Toronto has committed to very aggressive goals through the Climate Change, Clean Air and Sustainable Energy Plan, projects like this will push us even closer to meeting them," noted Councillor Paula Fletcher, Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee. "These installations alone reduce CO2 emissions by 103 tonnes. The plan is that all City-owned pools will be heated using solar energy, and I would like to see all privately-owned pools following suit."
"This is a wonderful start to making Toronto a solar city," said Councillor Chin Lee, Director of Toronto Atmospheric Fund who helped finance the early pilot installations. "It helps show that solar energy is a viable local option."
"Swimming is one of the most popular recreational activities for children and families. Now they can also learn about and contribute to a sustainable future at their local swimming pool with the energy retrofit of our pools, arenas and recreation centres," commented Brenda Librecz, General Manager, Parks, Forestry and Recreation.
The costs of the solar heating systems installations were covered by the City's Energy Retrofit Program, the Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). TAF funding for these projects totalled $52,786, while the NRCan funding was $26,031.
The City's Energy Retrofit Program undertakes retrofit projects in City-owned facilities to reduce their energy and water consumption. Since 2004, more than 200 City-owned buildings have been upgraded through the Energy Retrofit Program.
"Facilities and Real Estate is always looking for innovative ways to improve our facilities, make them greener while saving the City operating costs. The Energy Retrofit Program allows us to do just that," explained Jodie Parmar, Director, Business and Strategic Innovation, Facilities and Real Estate. "At a time of budget constraints, the Energy Retrofit Program allows us to invest in our aging, sometimes inefficient facilities, and make them operate more efficiently."
Other projects completed as part of the Energy Retrofit Program include: the City Arenas, Civic Centres, Fire Halls, and a number of buildings at Exhibition Place. Currently City staff are working on energy retrofit projects for Police Division buildings, Transfer Stations and Community Centres.
Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.