Green buildings to inspire your next office reno

Businesses across Ontario have found big benefits to renovating with energy efficiency in mind. Here’s a look at some of Ontario’s greenest buildings to inspire your next upgrade.

From upgrading your lighting system to installing solar panels, we’ve rounded up five Ontario offices that have prioritized green initiatives and energy efficiency. Looking to upgrade your office and save on annual energy costs? Learn about our business incentive programs and transform your office building with energy efficiency in mind.

Ropak Packaging

Ropak Packaging is all about efficiency. The manufacturing company, known for its high-speed, high-quality machines that package 6,000 products per minute, recently made the decision to apply a lens of ‘doing more for less’ across the entire business.

In 2017, Ropak replaced its dated lighting system to improve its processes and reduce overhead costs like electricity consumption. Save on Energy’s Retrofit program provided $14,000 in incentives towards the lighting while Natural Resources Canada also provided funding for the project. The undertaking produced savings of more than 670,000 kWh and $56,000 in electricity costs per year.

Sun Life Financial

Last year, Sun Life Financial moved into their new office in the upper half of a brand-new tower at One York Street in Toronto that is LEED Platinum certified. Sun Life’s executive team was heavily involved in the redesign of the space and engaged employees at all levels to share feedback on the concept.

The sleek office space prioritizes efficiencies, creating a comfortable, open space that encourages collaboration and productivity for its employees. The building makes use of LED light displays that follow the movements of passing employees, as well as occupancy sensors, daylight sensors and large windows that let in a lot of natural light. These lighting features help to reduce the office’s lighting electricity consumption by over 75 per cent.

The roof also features rows of solar panels. Between 2015 and 2017, Sun Life Financial reduced its global energy use intensity by five per cent and continues to implement projects to drive energy efficiency and energy management going forward.

3M

3M is a science-based company that produces thousands of products in a variety of markets, including health care, highway safety, office products, abrasives and adhesives. With such a large business footprint, including four facilities across Ontario (and one in Manitoba), energy has always been a big part of 3M’s overall operating cost.

Leveraging Save on Energy incentives, the company implemented several conservation programs, including the installation of high-efficiency motors equipped with variable frequency drives that integrate automation into the plant’s manufacturing lines.

3M also upgraded process boilers and chillers to high-efficiency systems, allowing them to better manage energy demand. Overall, these upgrades increased efficiencies, reduced impact on the environment and resulted in $1.5 million in energy savings for the company annually. Bonus: the company has seen a direct correlation to improved productivity, as well as increased employee comfort in the plant.

TD Bank Group

As part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability, TD Bank decided to ‘go green’ when upgrading the aging roof of its flagship location in downtown Toronto.

Only 25 per cent more expensive than a conventional roof, the new living roof provides improved thermal resistance, reduces urban heat-island effect and limits storm water runoff. It also helps soundproof the building as the soil helps to block lower frequencies while the plants block higher frequencies, which creates an improved experience for building occupants.

The roof will retain and evaporate at least 50 per cent of the rainwater that falls onto it, acting as a treatment method that will improve the quality of the water that goes back into Lake Ontario. In addition, during the roof’s construction, 85 per cent of the waste produced by the project was reused or recycled, including metal flashings, plastic ramps and old roof pavers.

evolv1

Although still under construction, Waterloo will soon be home to one of Canada’s most energy-efficient office buildings. The Cora Group, a developer and manager of premier office space, is building evolv1 with a vision of developing a highly sustainable and financially viable office building that lands LEED Platinum certification.

“We have succeeded in creating a better building and have delivered it at market rents,” says Adrian Conrad, COO of The Cora Group. “It’s turning out to be everything we [Cora Group and the original concept team] hoped it would be.”

To increase their chances of meeting the requirements, architects and designers have incorporated a three-storey living wall, a floating staircase surrounded by natural wood, an innovative geothermal system, a 700k-W photovoltaic array (power generating unit), dimmable LED lighting, a solar wall and triple-pane windows. The concept for this space is to facilitate harmony between people and the environment, and this concept comes through in the design and sensibility of this unique space.

We hope these five businesses have inspired you to transform your business with energy efficiency in mind.

 

Check out available Save on Energy incentives that can help you get started.