Optimization, innovation and collaboration continue to be effective and rewarding tactics in commercial real estate’s race2reduce. This year’s top achievers in the friendly competition with serious intent will be announced on September 16 when the fourth annual CREST (commercial real estate sustainability trailblazers) awards are bestowed during a virtual forum and celebration.
Initially launched as an effort to encourage energy conservation in commercial buildings in the Greater Toronto Area, the race2reduce has grown in scope to include other actions to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and promote climate change awareness and resiliency. The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Greater Toronto assumed program oversight in 2017 and is now preparing to welcome landlord-tenant teams from throughout Ontario.
“BOMA Toronto is extremely proud of the race2reduce program, which has grown by 67 per cent in 2021 versus 2020 despite the many challenges of the pandemic and its impact on our industry,” says Susan Allen, BOMA Toronto’s president and chief executive officer.
Dr. Richard Munang, who serves as Africa regional climate change coordinator for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), will deliver the 2021 CREST awards keynote address, exploring approaches to more rapidly attain net-zero-emission outcomes in the built environment and reap the spinoff economic opportunities. It’s a topic aligned with his longstanding professional focus on stimulating entrepreneurialism and cultivating new types of market demand through climate action and sustainable development, which also resonates with Canadian commercial real estate owners/managers contemplating ambitious national targets for GHG reduction and the market transformation that will be required to hit them.
CREST awards will be conferred in four different action areas — for reductions in waste generation and the consumption of electricity, gas and water — in three categories of building size. In addition, awards for climate leadership, innovative excellence and collaborative excellence are available for each building size category.
This year’s competitive ranks encompass all buildings enrolled in the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager program that are located within BOMA Toronto’s jurisdiction or are part of the ClimateWise Building Challenge in neighbouring York Region. That’s expected to grow in the future as more Ontario jurisdictions join in, particularly since data for larger commercial buildings must already be submitted via ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to comply with the provincial energy and water reporting and benchmarking (EWRB) regulation.
Participating owners/managers are also encouraged to engage tenants through communications and activities and/or to reach out to a third-party energy management service provider on the list of designated race2reduce ambassadors. To date, nearly 2,900 contestants have entered — representing teams that are counted for each year of their multi-year participation and consistent year-over-year growth.
“Our commitment to leading transformative climate change remains unwavering,” Allen affirms. “On behalf of our board of directors, I would like to convey our deep gratitude to our race participants. They are the heart of the program driving our collective successes.”