Toronto’s Business Improvement Areas (BIAs): A Cutting-edge of Green Business in Toronto

by Chantal Brundage

Chantal (Dalgliesh) Brundage [left] graduated the MES program with the Diploma in Business and Environment in Fall 2005. Her MES program focus on small business and the environment build on early research conducted during her Honours BA in Environmental Studies from Trent University.


I graduated the MES program with a completed Plan of Study in Small Business and Environmental Practices. Shortly afterwards, I was very fortunate to meet representatives from the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) who were seriously considering developing an energy and environmental conservation program for their members. This opportunity to implement the findings of my MES education resulted in my contribution to the creation of greenTbiz which I currently manage today. 


greenTbiz develops and delivers energy and environmental conservation programs which have benefits to the environment, while improving the bottom line of the businesses and properties within the Business Improvement Areas (BIAs). As greenTbiz is a program of the TABIA, its programs are available to 60 BIAs who in turn represent 25,000 small business and property owners in the City of Toronto.  Since its inception in early 2006, greenTbiz has been part of developing over eight programs and pilots through awarded grants from the Toronto Atmospheric Fund and Ontario Power Authority, Conservation Bureau.  We were very pleased to been able to extend our program capacity by hiring another MES graduate Lindsay Parks, to act as program coordinator to work closely with BIA members through our programs.


Some of our successes include coordinating the largest LED exterior lighting application in Canada at Exhibition Place and, as a result, initiating Toronto's designation as an LED City. Our efforts in promoting energy conservation in exterior lighting have resulted in further LED pilot sites to be installed shortly. We are also coordinated interior LED lighting retrofits with our first location at Grassroots Environmental Products in the Annex. Through our greenAssist and Smart Mentoring Programs, we have helped many BIA members improve their energy conservation saving significant kilowatts and reducing business operations costs. Many of these business owners now act as mentors for other BIA members interested in thinking green and saving green.  We have also had the opportunity to educated hundreds of BIA members on the importance of energy and environmental conservation in their business through presentations based on the appropriate information for the SME sector.


In less than a year, greenTbiz has acquired support of all levels of governments due to our energy and environmental conservation efforts. Aspects of our success can be attributed to the appropriate approaches to conservation implemented in the BIAs and with their members that were analyzed during my MES research.

greenTbiz has just begun to make an impact on the energy and environmental conservation potential within the BIAs and will continue to strive to ensure BIA members are considering energy conservation for all their business practices.  For more information about greenTbiz, please visit our website or contact me at Chantal[AT] or 416-697-9000.

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