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Illustration by Lily Snowdenfine

If you ask a Bay Street CEO their company’s share price, a likely response is: “Right now or 10 minutes ago when I last checked?” But if you ask how much energy their huge office building is using today, you’ll likely get a shrug of the shoulders.

But that’s about to change.

Many leading jurisdictions around the world (including Ontario) have set bold climate change targets. A key part of meeting these involves mandating the disclosure of energy use by large buildings, which helps the building industry identify retrofit opportunities as well as attract top-tier tenants and show governments they are pulling their weight in the climate challenge.

Mandatory energy use disclosure works because when building owners and tenants understand how their building compares to those of their peers (or other options for a tenant), they are motivated to improve its performance.

In the U.S. and now Canada, there exists a common standard and tool available called the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, which building managers use to calculate their energy footprint.

This year’s Green Tower Ranking invited Canada’s major property firms to submit their top performers (100,000 square feet or bigger) to allow us to shine a light on the seven greenest towers in the nation, as well as the three most improved over three years when it comes to energy performance.

We hope to shine this light across the entire building ecosystem in future years as Canada’s building entrepreneurs compete in a race to the top on energy performance.

Methodology:

To determine the greenest towers in the country, Corporate Knights surveyed 12 of the largest property firms and asked them to submit their top building according their Energy Star score. The Energy Star score from Energy Star Portfolio Manager represents the energy performance of a building adjusted for (i) climate (30-year weather averages), (ii) variations in weather (for the reporting period), (iii) energy sources, and (iv) other building condition factors (including occupancy, operating hours, different space types).

In addition to the best energy-performing buildings, we also wanted to identify which buildings have made the most progress in reducing their energy over the past three years. To determine this, we asked the same cohort to submit their top building in terms of per cent reduction in its normalized energy use intensity from calendar year 2015 to end of 2017. Normalized energy use intensity from Energy Star Portfolio Manager represents the energy performance of a building adjusted for variations in weather according to its local climate zone.

Top performing:

Carling Executive Park C
Property firm:
QuadReal
City: Ottawa, ON
Energy intensity: 14
Year built: 1982
Gross floor area (sq.ft.): 116,104
Energy Star score: 100

Commerce South Office Park - B
Property firm: Bentall Kennedy
City: Edmonton, AB
Energy intensity: 17.5
Year built: 1982
Gross floor area (sq.ft.): 108,215
Energy Star score: 98

455 Saint-Antoine Ouest
Property firm: Ivanhoe-Cambridge
City: Montréal, QC
Energy intensity: 13.86
Year built: 1913
Gross floor area (sq.ft.): 132,954
Energy Star score: 89
Constitution Square
Property firm: Canderel
City: Ottawa, ON
Energy intensity: 19.1
Years built: 1986, 1992, 2007
Gross floor area (sq.ft.): 1,289,398
Energy Star score: 80
Oakville Corporate Centre III
Property firm: Morguard
City: Oakville, ON
Energy intensity: 15.5
Year built: 1989
Gross floor area (sq.ft.): 111,520
Energy Star score: 97
ATCO Centre
Property firm: Triovest
City: Edmonton, AB
Energy intensity: 19.4
Year built: 1983
Gross floor area (sq.ft.): 340,177
Energy Star score: 96
Deer Lake Centre II
Property firm: Colliers
City: Burnaby, BC
Energy intensity: 17.11
Year built: 1980
Gross floor area (sq.ft): 117,298
Energy Star score: 92

Most improved:

Penn West Plaza
Property firm: Morguard
City: Calgary, AB
Energy intensity 2015: 24.44
Energy intensity 2017: 15.65
Year built: 2010
Gross floor area (sq.ft.): 636,324
Energy reduction: 36%
Commerce Place
Property firm: QuadReal
City: Vancouver, BC
Energy intensity 2015: 33.58
Energy intensity 2017: 24.8
Year built: 1985
Gross floor area (sq.ft.): 261,244
Energy reduction: 26%
Upper Harbour Place II
Property firm: Colliers
City: Victoria, BC
Energy intensity 2015: 26.46
Energy intensity 2017: 21.3
Year built: 2006
Gross floor area (sq.ft.): 104,919
Energy reduction: 20%

 

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