Last night, members of the Greater Toronto Area building industry gathered in the ballroom at the Toronto Region Board of Trade to applaud the final collective energy results from CivicAction’s Race to Reduce, one of the largest smart energy office challenges in the world.
Participants in the four-year program, which first began in 2011 and wrapped up in 2014, celebrated a drop nearing 193 million ekWh (equivalent kilowatt hours) or 12.1 per cent combined, a reduction in energy use that surged past the initial target of 10 per cent.
“CivicAction’s Race to Reduce has fostered a whole new approach to optimizing a building’s environmental performance,” said Sevaun Palvetzian, chief executive officer of CivicAction. “It’s been inspiring to see how far participants have come since the launch of the Race and their remarkable commitment to reducing energy use going forward.”
Throughout the evening, top performing buildings—located in Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Vaughan, Markham and Toronto—were feted with awards for their various achievements.
Overall, participants included 196 buildings, representing more than 69 million square feet or 42 per cent of regional commercial office space. 64 buildings garnered a Greatest Energy Reduction Award due to meeting or exceeding a 10 per cent reduction during the span of the challenge. 21 buildings reduced their energy by more than 20 per cent, with Oxford Properties Group’s Richmond Adelaide Centre, HOOPP Realty’s AeroCentre 1 – 5600 Explorer Drive and the City of Toronto’s Toronto Archive Centre cutting energy use by 35, 39, and 59 per cent, respectively.
Awards were also presented to a group of 17 office buildings in the Lowest Energy Use (2014) award category. The average Portfolio Manager EnergyStar score across these winners was 95.5 (out of 100), 37 points above the Canadian national average for commercial office buildings.
Sustainability champion Glen Murray, Ontario minister of environment and climate change, was on hand to give kudos to the sector’s collaborative efforts, while reiterating the need for momentum in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Such a drive will continue on a local and pan-Canadian scale, with BOMA Toronto helping to develop the next Race to Reduce, and Manitoba Hydro adding its support for a race in Winnipeg.
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings is key to the fight against climate change,” said Murray. “CivicAction’s Race to Reduce challenges landlords and tenants to reduce their carbon footprints and recognizes great examples of private sector leadership, collaboration and innovation.”
Further honours were extended to three landlord-tenant collaborations when the Team Excellence awards were handed out across three categories, with RBC sweeping up the accolades. These awards showcase superior energy reduction which can occur from such teamwork, and reiterate how little energy is needed to operate a building while meeting tenants’ needs.
The Capital Project award went to Bentall Kennedy. Cadillac Fairview won for Operational Project and Oxford Properties Group garnered the Cultural/Behavioural Project award.
Check out CivicAction’s website for more information the honourees and award-winning buildings.
Photo by Alyssa Katherine Faoro
Pictured left to right: Ian Jarvis, Nicole Beayni, Hon. Glen Murray (Ontario Minister of the Environment & Climate Change), Roger Johnson, Arnulf Gressel, Brad Henderson, Sevaun Palvetzian, Leslie Domenico, Rod Phillips, Lachlan MacQuarrie, and Linda Weichel.