Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency – Volume 3, Issue 5

Volume 3, Issue 5

Time to reinvest in aging municipal buildings

According to the 2016 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card (CIRC), one third of existing municipal infrastructure in Canada is at risk of rapid deterioration, and requires repair and accelerated renewal. The report found that seven out of eight infrastructure categories were in declining condition based on the reported level of maintenance costs. In the buildings category, 17 percent (representing $12 billion in replacement value) of municipal buildings were in poor to very poor condition, and another 28 percent ($20 billion) were in only fair condition.

“The bottom line is that the longer we wait to act on these repairs, the more expensive it will get,” says Raymond Louie, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (one of the report card sponsors). “Canada needs to start planning for the future by reinvesting in our existing assets now.”

The CIRC indicates that more than 50 percent of municipal buildings are more than 31 years old; 23 percent are more than 50 years old. The average age of municipally owned buildings is 37 years. Paramedic and police stations had the lowest average age, with around 50 percent built within the last 20 years. Health care facilities and shelters had the highest average age, with almost 50 percent built more than 50 years ago. The report card also pointed out that only 14 percent of municipalities used formal policies or documented practices to factor climate change adaptation strategies into decision making.

Reinvestment in municipal infrastructure is advisable not only to ensure a sound return on building investment, but also to prepare for climate change impacts on buildings. A number of municipalities are in the forefront of developing and implementing climate change adaptation strategies that include buildings:

  • The City of Vancouver has developed a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, which outlines potential changes in the regional climate, the impacts on infrastructure (including buildings), and possible adaptation actions. The strategy includes recommendations and opportunities, including energy efficiency measures, for the city’s aging building infrastructure that would ready it for current and future climate change.
  • The City of Toronto is also moving ahead with municipal (and other) building initiatives that will not only address climate change, but will also help improve buildings’ energy performance. The City is working with the Ontario Ministry of Energy on a proposed Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking (EWRB) regulation for large buildings. If the provincial regulation does not move forward, Toronto intends to pursue its own municipal regulation, a process it started in 2014, but put on hold pending the outcome of the provincial legislation. In this way, the City will maintain its commitment to a reporting requirement for large commercial and multi-residential buildings. This would also help the City meet its energy conservation and GHG emission reduction goals.
  • The City of Victoria is using the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) to upgrade its municipal building portfolio and to mitigate for climate change. CARIP was developed by the Province of British Columbia to help offset the carbon tax paid on municipal purchases of fossil fuels. Victoria has implemented HVAC upgrades, replaced electric heating systems with heat pumps, retrofitted windows and doors with energy-efficient models, and installed destratification fans in a number of buildings.

    In addition, Victoria is also actively energy benchmarking and reporting on its own building portfolio. It benchmarked 32 of its properties from 2011 to 2014 using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The tool has enabled the City to identify poorly performing buildings and develop an energy efficiency strategy. The City plans to continue with its energy efficiency upgrades and energy benchmarking.

According to the CIRC, the current municipal building reinvestment level of 1.7 percent could lead to an even further decline in the condition of municipal buildings. “The bottom line is that the longer we wait to act on these repairs, the more expensive it will get,” says Raymond Louie, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (one of the report card sponsors). “Canada needs to start planning for the future by reinvesting in our existing assets now.”

For help making your municipality more energy efficient, visit the following NRCan pages:

For the full CIRC, visit www.canadainfrastructure.ca/en/index.html, and for the full article on municipal building reinvestment, see www.reminetwork.com/articles/more-reinvestment-in-municipal-buildings-urged/.

BOMA BEST for Menkes Developments’ Toronto property

Rooftop community food plots and garden patios, rainwater and steam condensate collection, Zipcar and Bike Share Toronto programs, natural light optimization, and deep lake water cooling are just some of the features that garnered a downtown Toronto property BOMA BEST Platinum certification awarded by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA).

BOMA BEST Platinum certification is part of BOMA Canada’s new BOMA BEST brand. To achieve Platinum certification, buildings must meet all BEST practices and score at least 90 percent on an extensive questionnaire about the building and tenants’ environmental profile.

For more information, visit www.bomabest.com/.

The 30-storey building at 25 York Street, owned by Menkes Development Ltd. and known as TELUS House, is “arguably the greatest building in Canada right now,” according to BOMA Canada CEO Benjamin Shinewald. In addition to the features already mentioned, the building has floor-to-ceiling windows that maximize natural light intake and a state-of-the-art light management system with high-efficiency lighting and occupancy sensors. An automatic window management system optimizes day lighting, pressurized raised floors provide individual temperature control, HVAC is distributed under-floor, and sub-meters enable tenants to monitor their energy usage. Menkes Development’s holistic approach also includes an award-winning recycling program, “zero waste” meetings and tenant appreciation events.

Part of a revitalization project in an area just north of Toronto’s waterfront, TELUS House was also Toronto’s first building to earn LEED Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance Platinum in 2012, and it has continued to forge ahead with improvements. Moreover, many tenants have undertaken their own LEED Commercial Interiors certifications.

Image of Telus House

The building also became the first Canadian one to install the LEED Dynamic Plaque earlier this year. The LEED Dynamic Plaque is a monitoring and scoring tool that keeps companies up-to-date on their environmental performance and facilitates LEED certification or re-certification. It measures energy use, water and waste management, transportation and human experience and delivers an up-to-the-minute performance score. The LEED Dynamic Plaque platform can benchmark performance, and the visible and recognizable plaque engages employees and tenants by showing the building’s current performance.

Building owners can get started on their path to BOMA BEST and/or LEED certification by looking into opportunities for Retrofitting, other options for Energy efficiency for existing buildings, and NRCan’s resources on Managing energy and operation.

For the full article on the achievement of Menkes Developments Ltd. at their York Street location, visit: http://renx.ca/25-york-street-achieves-record-setting-boma-best-score/.


Winnipeg airport: First Canadian airport to achieve LEED certification

In the summer of 2015, Winnipeg’s Richardson International Airport achieved LEED Silver certification for its newly constructed terminal, making it the first LEED-certified airport in Canada. The airport is one of only 17 LEED certified terminals in North America and one of only 24 worldwide.

Image of Winnipeg airport building

The Winnipeg Airports Authority wanted to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability by constructing an energy-efficient terminal. The end result is an airport with reduced overall GHG emissions and operating costs that provides a healthy indoor environment for both employees and travellers.

Several strategies were implemented to achieve LEED certification for the new 51,500 square-metre terminal. Daylight is optimized throughout the terminal, and sensors were installed to use electric lighting only when required. By introducing heated or cooled air into the building at or near floor level, energy use is reduced. Additionally, radiant heating and cooling circulates warm or cool water through tubing integrated in the floor while heat recovery systems make use of waste heat from equipment. The building is equipped with high-efficiency boilers, chillers and lighting, and also features a high-performance building envelope with highly insulated windows and roof. In addition, enhanced commissioning will ensure that all the terminal’s systems perform as intended.

Moreover, 71 percent of the site’s construction waste was diverted from landfills, indigenous plants were selected for landscaping, the use of recycled content and regionally sourced materials was maximized, and efficient plumbing fixtures were installed to reduce water use.

According to the building’s architects, the terminal not only meets the needs and expectations of 21st century air travellers, but is also expected to produce 5,000 fewer tonnes of GHG emissions per year than if it had been built to code.

“Attaining external validation of our commitment to the principles of sustainable development is truly exciting,” said Barry Rempel, President and CEO of Winnipeg Airports Authority. “Working closely with Stantec, our teams delivered a beautiful, functional facility that minimized its carbon footprint. It's something that I believe our community will be able to take pride in for years to come.”

NRCan provides resources that can help building owners and managers along the path toward LEED certification. Energy efficiency for existing buildings, as well as Best practices simplified, are both useful resources that provide links to additional tools and energy efficiency sites. Organizations can also gain valuable insights from the Low Carbon NRCan initiative.
For more information on the airport’s LEED certification and other environmental initiatives, please visit:

Calendar of events and other important dates

CAN-QUEST Energy Modeling Training

  • Date: June 21 and 22, 2016 – Edmonton, AB
  • This is a two day training overview program of CAN-QUEST which is a Canadian adaptation of eQUEST, the popular building energy simulation software from the US. CAN-QUEST can be used to demonstrate performance path compliance with the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2011.
    • This course is offered by the Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC).
    • Click HERE to see the Building Energy Modelling in CAN-QUEST course description.
    • Register now.

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Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency is published by Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency and distributed monthly to 16,000 subscribers. Our goal is to deliver meaningful news and information about programs, services and events related to energy efficiency in commercial and institutional buildings and, as well, to share the success stories of organizations that have benefited from positive change. Help us spread the word by sending this link to your colleagues. We encourage you to subscribe to our sister publication that focuses on energy efficiency in industrial facilities, Heads Up CIPEC.

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