energy savings

Toronto buildings on track to energy savings

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Toronto’s commercial buildings have once again been designated as a course to energy savings in a new iteration of the conservation challenge, race2reduce. Participating owners, managers and tenants will be aiming for the same finish line as last time — a 10 per cent collective reduction in energy consumption — but race marshals are promising some added features along the route.

Joint sponsors, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Greater Toronto and Toronto Hydro, will welcome entrants for the first year of the race until August 31 and plan to stoke their competitive spirit with a selection of annual awards to be offered in 2018, 2019 and 2020. There’ll also be a coach on-hand as a new conservation consultant joins BOMA Toronto later this summer.

“This is an ambitious program and we’ve set the target high,” Susan Allen, BOMA Toronto’s president and CEO told a gathering at the official launch earlier this week.

Fittingly, prospective racers had an opportunity to load up on carbs, hear some encouraging words and scope out some of their likely rivals. The host venue, Toronto Dominion Centre, is among the 88 buildings comprising more than 33 million square feet of commercial space within Toronto Hydro’s jurisdiction that are already registered.

“When we get together as an industry and collaborate on a meaningful initiative like this, we all benefit,” affirmed Scott Pennock, senior vice president and Toronto portfolio manager with Cadillac Fairview.

Since the new race2race is aligned with Toronto Hydro’s efforts to hit its mandated 1.6 million megawatt-hour energy savings target under Ontario’s Conservation First Framework, participants are encouraged to take advantage of Save On Energy incentives for both retrofit measures and operational savings. Savings achieved through other actions will also count toward the overall target provided they can be measured and verified.

Indeed, race organizers are introducing an innovation award to recognize new approaches to finding and maintaining energy savings. Other awards will celebrate the year’s best reduction in energy use, team excellence and tenant engagement. Categories for multi-building landlords/property managers and multi-location tenants also ensure that teams will be pitted against their peers.

“There is an edgier competition to this race. I am looking forward to some really interesting grudge matches as the program moves forward,” quipped Joe Bilé, Toronto Hydro’s manager of CDM program delivery and business development.

Evidence from the first Race to Reduce suggests intense but friendly jostling for position is about to ensue as next-generation teams begin their three-year pursuit January 1, 2018. BOMA Toronto and Toronto Hydro would also be pleased to replicate the success that the non-profit community development organization, CivicAction, achieved with the pace-setting original.

Ultimately, 200 participating buildings surpassed the goal for a 10 per cent collective reduction in energy consumption over the four years from 2011 to 2015 — delivering a 12.1 per cent reduction that translated into $13.7 million in cost savings. CivicAction CEO Sevaun Palvetzian reiterated that her organization takes even more pride in the post-2015 survey findings that 62 per cent of participants credit the race itself for prompting them to look for ways to save energy. Similar creative schemes to draft off the vitality of private sector will be critical as governments drive to cut greenhouse gas emissions and meet their global commitments.

“We get stuff done because we try to pick the big urban issues that need all hands on deck,” Palvetzian explained. “A lot happens at the sub-national level and increasingly more things will happen on a sub-national level.”

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