Our environmental impact

We focus on operational efficiency through the use of technology to reduce our environmental footprint.

Resource management matters to us and to our stakeholders

Buildings consume substantial amounts of energy and water and generate approximately 40% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. As building owners and managers, we minimize our environmental impact by investing in resource efficiency and embedding conservation practices into our operations.

Our approach to resource management

In 2018, we implemented a new environmental data management system to automate utility tracking and reporting. Since then, we’ve been able to collect utility data from nearly all of our properties. To improve transparency, we also work with our tenants to collect data on energy usage within their space to deepen our understanding of building performance.

 

Our five-year environmental targets

7.5% reduction in water

65% waste diversion rate

10% reduction in energy

We focus on operational efficiency through the use of technology to optimize our environmental performance

We improve utility performance across our properties each year

To align with our five-year environmental targets, we updated our normalization methodology and set 2017 as our baseline year. To enable accurate comparisons, we normalize energy and water use intensity for occupancy, weather, and extraordinary usage as necessary.

Energy

Our total energy consumption in 2019 was 796,000 eMWh. Comparing our normalized portfolio, this is a reduction in energy consumption of 1.9%, which is equivalent to the energy required to power 540 Canadian homes.

Across our global portfolio, we decreased normalized energy use by 2%, to 24.1 ekWh per square foot, meeting our annual energy target of 2%. Since 2017, we decreased energy use by 2%, progressing toward our five-year, 10% reduction target.

Water

In 2019, we continued to reduce our water consumption, decreasing our like-for-like water use by 1.2%. This is equivalent to nearly 7.4 million gallons, which is enough water to fill 164,000 bathtubs.

Our normalized water use intensity decreased by 6.1% between 2018 and 2019, to 63.9 litres per square foot. With this reduction, we surpassed our annual 1.5% water-reduction target and have already reduced our water intensity by 10.2%, exceeding our five-year 7.5% reduction target.

Waste

Waste management continues to be a key area of our focus, starting with data collection and reporting. In 2019, we reported on an additional one million square feet for waste diversion, which resulted in a 4% increase since 2018 and 14% since 2017. 

Even with an increase in waste reporting, our total waste generation decreased by 950 metric tonnes. Our average diversion rate for 2019 was 45%, a 1% decrease from 2018. In 2020, we plan to continue our waste performance measurement and identify opportunities to increase diversion and reduce waste generation where possible.

Greenhouse gas

In 2019, our greenhouse gas (GHG) emission was 150,550 tCO2e. Comparing our like-for-like portfolio, we reduced our footprint by 17,400 tCO2e in 2019, the equivalent of taking 3,700 cars off the road.

The decrease in GHG emissions is a result of our reduction in energy consumption as well as the electricity grids in select regions having a lesser carbon intensity compared with 2018.

Green building certifications

Green building certifications provide a globally recognized standard for measuring a building’s performance, and demand for these certifications is steadily increasing. Within major Canadian and U.S. markets, green building-certified office space has increased to over 50% and 23%, respectively, since 2006.

36M

square feet

BOMA BEST or BOMA 360 certified

18M

square feet

LEED (O+M, CS, BD) certified

8M

square feet

ENERGY STAR rated

1M

square feet

Other certifications (CASBEE, Fitwel) 

"In our latest tenant survey, 70% of office respondents stated that green building certifications are 'important' or 'very important' to their company. This is highly encouraging, as it shows us that the majority of tenants share our passion for sustainability in real estate."

—Regan Smith, Sustainability Director, Real Estate

Currently, over 80% of our portfolio, or 48 million square feet, is certified to a green building standard

In 2019, we certified 19 properties to LEED, representing 6.5 million square feet. This included the first Canadian LEED v4.1 certification at 1600 Carling in Ottawa. We also expanded our BOMA BEST portfolio program, certifying an additional 1 million square feet. We also achieved our first Fitwel certification at 220 Bloor, located at our Toronto head office campus.

Throughout 2020, we'll continue to target properties in Canada and the United States for LEED certification, and we have plans to release two building certification guides to support our property teams in their certication process. 

Preparing for climate change

Climate change poses physical risks to our buildings and communities through storms, floods, intense heat, water stress, and rising sea levels. In order to guard against these devastating events, we must innovate and do our part—staying ahead of the curve to deliver on the needs of our stakeholders, today and tomorrow.

Climate change in real estate: managing through mitigation and adaptation

Within real estate, we manage climate change through mitigation—reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to a low carbon economy—and adaptation—preparing for a changing climate and increased chance of extreme weather. We also engage in a host of other activities for ourselves, our tenants, our communities, and our planet as a whole.

1  Evaluate and manage 

   physical risks and portfolio

   resilience initiatives

2   Invest in efficiency and

     clean technology

3   Purchase renewable energy

     certificates to offset our

     emissions and encourage

     clean energy development

4   Provide amenities to support

     our tenants' efforts in

     creating a clean economy

5   Provide support for

     alternative transportation

     (e.g., bike racks, electric

     vehicle charging stations) to

     reduce tenant emissions

6   Manage greenhouse gas

     emissions and model

     reduction strategies