Building a Climate Resilient Business with Partners in Project Green – Three Case StudiesSeptember 14, 2023
Written by Julia Kole, Coordinator for Partners in Project Green.
To better prepare for future climate change impacts, businesses must first understand their climate change-related risks. The team at Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Partners in Project Green (PPG) created a Building a Climate Resilient Business Resource Kit to help businesses across the GTA understand how they can mitigate and adapt to climate change to ensure their businesses thrive into the future. In a previous blog with the OCC, we discussed how adaptation to climate change is integral to the longevity of a business.
In this final article of our “Business Kit blog series,” we have featured three GTA-based companies who took action to future-proof their businesses and increase their climate resiliency:
Although a small business, Algood Caster Innovations is Canada’s largest caster manufacturer. Climate change issues like supply chain disruptions and carbon taxes have had cost implications for Algood, especially as a small business. In response, Algood has started implementing monitoring and mitigation projects to save costs and reduce their carbon footprint. Most notably, Algood has participated in fuel switching for their machinery, transitioning from propane to battery-operated forklifts.
Before this transition, propane lifts required opening warehouse doors to release fumes. In the winter, this raises heating bills to compensate for bringing in cold air. With battery-powered lifts, Algood can save on space heating and propane gas bills, as well as improve air quality for employees.
In addition, Algood practices heat recovery. In the winter months, they direct their compressor’s exhaust air into the factory for heating, allowing them to turn off two- to three-unit heaters.
Modernizing their equipment has helped Algood improve output in production and reduce costs. Anything that comes into the facility is assessed for how much energy it uses, where it’s produced, and how it gets to the facility. Now, climate awareness and greenhouse gas emission reductions play a major role in how Algood does business.
Located in Elmira, Ontario, Enviro-Stewards‘ Affordable Smart Blue Roof (ASBR) system completed in June 2021 serves multiple functions for their building, including climate adaptation, water conservation, and energy efficiency.
Blue roofs are an emerging rainwater harvesting technology that stores stormwater on roofs, reducing the amount flowing into the municipal stormwater systems. The Enviro-Stewards ASBR uses smart technology to capture, store, drain, and flush rainwater based on its volume, freeing up capacity. The roof’s stored water provides thermal benefits by keeping the building cooler during hot weather and can be treated and stored in a tank for reuse in cleaning or greywater applications. For example, Enviro-Stewards treats the rainwater collected on their roof and uses it to flush toilets!
Since its implementation, the Enviro-Stewards ASBR has helped them exceed their GHG emission reduction target of 80% from their 2008 baseline year through improvements in heat loss and gain. Roofs require regular maintenance, repair and eventual replacement. The Enviro-Stewards ASBR is an example of how you can turn an inevitable expense into an economically and environmentally beneficial opportunity for your facility.
Calstone Inc. is a local industrial furniture manufacturer located in Toronto, known for its strong commitment to environmental stewardship and to the local community. In 2014, Calstone Inc. approached TRCA’s Partners in Project Green for support in creating a new green space for employees. The objectives were to transform an underutilized landscaped area while also helping to reduce stormwater runoff sent to storm sewers and subsequently Highland Creek.
Using a collaborative funding model with support from Earth Day Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Clastone Inc. was able to complete an on-site rainwater harvesting and infiltration project. This included:
- a 9,300 L rainwater cistern and irrigation system to provide a source of water for landscaping
- a rear lot infiltration trench
- three “soakaway” ponds
- a lined, decorative pond and fountain
- planting many drought-resistant native plants and shrubs
These projects help divert four of six roof drains away from the municipal storm sewers, representing approximately 1.8 million L of runoff in an average year. They not only help restore the water cycle and water quality within the Highland Creek watershed, but they also offer a welcoming space for employees and serve as a unique demonstration site for corporate water stewardship.
Calstone Inc. learned some valuable lessons by monitoring these projects, including the need to consider cold weather climate, the value of taking a systems approach to LID, and how to design with adjacent lots in mind.
To explore more case studies or to learn more, please explore our Building a Climate Resilient Business Resource Kit visit our PPG website and check out our upcoming workshops, events, and webinars. Feel free to contact Julia Kole, Coordinator for Partners in Project Green, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 437-880-2156 with any questions or comments you may have about your business’ sustainability journey.