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.
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.
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