Sidewalk Labs

Toronto, Ontario

Building Energy Analysis and Development Advisory


Program: Waterfront, Mixed-use

Scale: 12 acres

Status: On-going

Sidewalk Labs, a division of Google’s parent company Alphabet, is creating a technology driven, leading-edge community of the future on Toronto’s Waterfront. Using a combination of forward-thinking urban design and new digital technology, Sidewalk Labs’ goal is to plan, build and operate the first community in North America that is actively and measurably climate positive. To date, developers have only had access to “predictive data” which is only an educated guess of how much energy buildings use. What has been missing to date is real data that will help establish real targets.

As leaders in sustainability, Urban Equation, along with EQ Building Performance and Energy Profiles Limited, were specifically retained by Sidewalk Labs to extract real anonymized data from various building databases in order to develop a framework that allows Sidewalk Toronto to meet its goals.

Although innovations in energy metering technologies have emerged, meaningful data analysis is rare. Rather than build first and learn later why buildings don’t meet modeled projections, Sidewalk Labs engaged our team to study the energy use of existing residential and commercial buildings in Toronto, and compare actual building performance with modeled projections.

The study evaluates the gap between modeled and actual data, comparing large datasets of both modeled and actual building energy performance against industry standards, including Ontario Building Code and Toronto Green Standard. The study also suggests areas that are commonly misrepresented by predictive modeling including gas heating, domestic hot water and in-suite electricity.

Establishing trends around actual building energy usage has the potential to impact development around the world. Our study supports Sidewalk Labs in moving beyond industry-standard energy benchmarks, and towards real carbon-reduction results. We are excited to use these findings to support our development clients in delivering better performing buildings!

You can read the full study here.