(Prepared for IIDEX2009 by the Greater Toronto Chapter of the Green Building Council)
What to look for when buying a New Condo
• Look for recognized green building standards like LEED® or BOMA BESt® to ensure your condo building is built
according to verifiable sustainability standards.
• Are water, electric and gas use individually metered? This results in dramatically increased self-imposed
conservation in condo units when compared to common shared heating, electric and gas. Insist on a programmable
thermostat and turn it down in the winter and up in the summer.
• Is the condo located near your place of work? Can you walk to work? Is it near public transit? In the neighborhood
cyclist and pedestrian friendly?
• Does the property include a variety of permeable surface areas like gardens, lawns and water features?
• Does the building include a green roof?
Water and Energy
• Are the plumbing fixtures water efficient?
• Does the condo support the use of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal?
• Are lighting fixtures energy efficient? Do they use CFL (compact fluorescent) and LED bulbs?
• Is waste water or run-off water harvested and reused for non-potable uses? Is the outdoor environment landscaped to
efficiently minimize irrigation water?
• Are the included standard fixtures Energy Star® compliant? Are there incentives offered by the condo to purchase
• Does the condo incorporate high efficiency windows and doors. Are effective blinds pre installed? Are they properly
placed in the design of the condo unit?
• What is the ratio of the outside walls to windows? In most buildings 40% window to 60% wall provides the best balance of
insulation and daylight and views.
• Are the materials used in construction or finishing of the condo such as cabinets, floors and furniture made from
renewable resources? Do they have high recycled content? Have products been sources locally?
Indoor Environmental Quality
• Are the flooring, paint and other finishes non-toxic with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?
• How is the fresh air delivered to the suites? Is it delivered from the corridor under the doors of the suite or is
it ducted separately to each suite to minimize risk of odor transfer?
• Is energy recovered from the air exhausted from the suites before being released outdoors? This is typically done
in a dedicated heat recovery ventilator (HRV), or a ventral energy recovery ventilator (ERV).
How to Green your Existing Condo
• Where possible replace existing light fixtures and bulbs with modern fixtures and energy efficient compact fluorescent and
LED bulbs to reap significant energy savings.
• Install Energy Star® light fixtures and appliances where possible.
• Turn down your hot water heater to a reasonable temperature.
• Install ceiling fans to circulate cool or warm air throughout your condo space. This can be particularly effective
with new loft style condos with high ceilings.
• Use high efficiency LED lighting during the holidays and turn them off when you’re not enjoying them.
• Use a programmable thermostat to reduce energy costs at night or when you are away.
• Repair plumbing leaks and conserve water by selecting water-efficient plumbing products like faucets, shower heads
and toilets. Use less water when possible.
• Choose natural or sustainable flooring products and non-off gassing carpeting made from sustainable materials.
• Institute waste reduction and recycling programs to help reduce overall waste to landfill and reduce the costs associated with waste disposal.
Get involved with your condo board
• Start a “Green Best Practices Committee” to help your condo corporation and board focus on the greening of the
common areas of your condo.
• Ensure that an up to date energy audit has been conducted and that cost-effective energy conservation measures are
• Implement green cleaning, outdoor maintenance, waste and pest management strategies.
• Develop policies for future renovations to ensure that the work minimizes impacts on the waster stream, indoor air
quality, and energy consumption.