Unifying Sustainability and Affordability through Planning and Policy: Solar Energy Systems as an Element of Green Affordable Housing in Ontario

Aisha Lewis, 2016
Vol. 22 No. 11 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)

The purpose of this major research paper is to examine how existing policies and programs in socio-political contexts comparable to Ontario’s make the inclusion of solar energy technology with affordable housing possible. The paper begins with the investigation of Ontario’s housing and energy systems. Following this assessment is the analysis of existing policy and programs in the United Kingdom and California that facilitate the integration of solar energy technology with affordable housing. The programs discussed in these regions are compared to past, present and future energy efficiency initiatives in Ontario in order to identify which aspects of them can be adopted to facilitate the creation of solar-equipped green affordable housing in the province. The concluding chapter discusses recommended planning and policy actions to be taken at the municipal and provincial level that will incite the creation of solar-equipped green affordable housing in Ontario. The paper highlights the environmental, social and economic benefits of developing domestic solar energy systems as a decarbonization strategy. Together, these benefits act as an endorsement of a potential reality in Ontario in which affordable housing and sustainable housing become synonymous concepts in the age of climate change mitigation.