Case studies

By working to improve health and well-being, we strengthen our communities and drive positive social change. Our property teams look to partner with charitable organizations and engage in programs that create positive measurable impact. Last year, nearly 70% of our office properties hosted at least one community event.

Steve Cruttenden

Director of Technical Services, providing expert guidance

When it comes to building operations, Steve Cruttenden is the expert. Steve has worked for Manulife Investment Management for over 30 years and, as director of technical services, he ensures all our buildings—whether suburban mixed-use or AAA downtown offices—operate as efficiently as possible. Efficient buildings save money for our tenants. For example, two of Steve’s projects saved tenants at 8 Cross Street, Singapore, and 17911 Von Karmen Avenue, California, $250,000 and $41,000, respectively. 

Together with our entire technical services team, Steve is one of the key reasons our buildings operate above industry standard when it comes to energy efficiency. 


One Bay East, Hong Kong

Sustainable Achievement of the Year

Manulife Tower at One Bay East is a Class A office building located in the emerging Kowloon East business district of Hong Kong. Housing Manulife’s Hong Kong corporate offices, the tower is certified LEED Gold and the office space fit out is LEED Platinum certified. 

One Bay East has also won the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Award for Sustainability Achievement of the Year twice, first in 2016 and most recently in 2018. This award recognizes buildings that use innovative technology and teamwork to deliver measurable environmental benefits. 

For One Bay East, this includes initiatives that:

  • Promote healthy occupant working, living, and eating through behavioural change campaigns
  • Achieve energy and cost savings of up to 16% with our Central Chiller Plant Optimisation system
  • Educate employees and other stakeholders through information sessions and guided tours that demonstrate innovative technologies and strong building performance 

Giving back in Ottawa

Habitat for Humanity

Supporting our local communities is part of who we are. We believe that giving back to the places we live and work strengthens our teams and enriches our employees’ lives. We also believe that access to safe and affordable housing is a basic human right, and we're pleased to partner with others who share our values.

Started in 2009, Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build Day brings participants of all genders together in a shared mission to help families in need of a decent and affordable place to call home. It promotes spirit, empowerment, solidarity, fun, learning, and pride—all while working alongside future Habitat homeowners to build new affordable housing.

Ten determined women within our Ottawa office saw the importance of this initiative and picked up their hammers to join the effort. In addition to volunteering their time, the team also coordinated the collection of a monetary donation.

It's because of their meaningful contribution that local Ottawa families will have a safe place to call home, and we're proud to see them sharing their humanity.


MicroHabitat

Urban gardening in downtown Montreal

In 2017, Manulife Investment Management partnered with Alvéole to install honeybee hives at many of our properties across North America. To further support our honeybees and make use of additional space on our rooftops, we extended our partnership to MicroHabitat—a local organization specializing in urban farming. In 2019, five of our downtown Montreal properties installed an urban gardening system on their remaining rooftop space. These gardens consisted of a variety of organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs that were cared for daily and watered by a custom-built irrigation system.

Our seasonal growing efforts were extraordinary: 2,500 plants and 1,500 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables were harvested and donated to local community organizations, including Breakfast for Learning. We also held specialized garden tours and hands-on workshops for our tenants, which promoted the importance of supporting our local communities and food sources.

Given the outstanding success of this program, we'll be examining how this can be expanded across additional buildings in North America with other local partners.


Vancouver's holiday food bank

Partnering for change

During the 2019 holiday season, the property team at the Railyard Mall in Merritt, British Columbia, partnered with the Upper Nicola Band and the Upper Nicola Valley Food Bank to make a positive difference in local communities.

From mid-November to early December, the team provided a vacant unit rent free to the Upper Nicola Band (UNB)—a community of eight First Nation reserves. The UNB used the space to raffle off 15 decorated Christmas trees to support community literacy programs and volunteer firefighters.

For our part, we promoted the UNB's initiative by inviting our tenants and community organizations to visit the space. All in all, the UNB raised a total of $40,000.

Building on this success, we then offered the rent-free space to the Upper Nicola Valley Food Bank. They used it throughout December to assemble over 300 holiday hampers filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, warm clothing, and small gifts for members of the community.


1600 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON

Canada's first LEED v4.1 certification

In January 2019, 1600 Carling Avenue made history as the first building in Canada to become certified under the LEED version 4.1 (v4.1) for Building Operations and Maintenance.

With v4.1, LEED has streamlined certification by focusing on five data-driven performance outcomes: transportation, water, energy, waste, and human experience. The new methodology streamlines the credits and prerequisites, making certification—and recertification—much more straightforward.

Drawing on lessons learned from 1600 Carling, we created an internal LEED v4.1 certification guide and supported teams across Canada to certify another 15 buildings. This included the first Canadian LEED v4.1 Platinum recertification at 55 Metcalfe, also in Ottawa.

Our new LEED program provides better visibility into our buildings’ performance and empowers property teams to collaborate more effectively with tenants. Based on our success with the program, we plan to continue the roll out across Canada and the United States in 2020.


The Michelson, Irvine, CA

California’s leading the charge with their state-of-the-art battery system

Since 2016, The Michelson, a LEED Gold-certified property in Irvine California, has leveraged a state-of-the-art battery system known as Powerpack to save on energy.

Built by Tesla, Powerpack is a fully integrated, AC-connected energy storage system that allows our property management team to reduce peak electricity demand. The system’s batteries are charged during low demand periods when energy rates are cheaper. Then, during peak demand times when costs are higher, the Powerpack draws on the stored energy to power the building. Managing demand in this way reduces our electricity bills by an average of 9% each month, with some months seeing reductions of up to 16%. This battery system not only helps to reduce our operating costs, it also reduces the need for new energy generation capacity.

We're proud to support California’s ambitious emissions reductions target and to be part of the state’s transition to sustainable energy. With results such as this, The Michelson is a model for future operational improvements across our portfolio.


800 Collins, Docklands

Earns WiredScore Gold

Located in the Docklands, one of Melbourne’s most innovative central business district developments, 800 Collins has always been an attractive commercial property. Now that it’s certified Gold by WiredScore, 800 Collins can guarantee its tenants will receive the digital connectivity they require.

WiredScore certification is a commercial real estate rating scheme that empowers landlords to understand, improve, and promote their buildings’ digital infrastructure. This is critical to support tenants who increasingly demand fast, reliable, connectivity to operate their businesses. All over the world, Wired certification pinpoints buildings that demonstrate optimal internet and telecommunications infrastructure.

Among the many innovative features that earned 800 Collins its Gold certification are six fibre providers, advanced cable containment pathways to protect against service disruption, and the physical and digital capacity to accommodate tenant needs and technologies of the future.

Not only that, 800 Collins is a strong energy performer. Multiple sustainable features, including a gas-fired cogeneration plant that produces around 30% of the building’s electricity requirements, has earned the property a NABERS energy rating of 5.0 and a 5-star Green Star v2 Office Design rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.

Hats off to the property team, which worked hard to ensure 800 Collins continues to offer a premier commercial real estate experience. 


980 Howe, Vancouver BC

Recognized as "Best in Class" by BOMA

Kudos to our team at 980 Howe! This 16-story, AAA office building in downtown Vancouver was recognized as "Best in Class" in BOMA’s first-ever Net Zero Challenge Awards.

This award recognizes industry-leading buildings that are progressing toward net zero energy and carbon. Net zero means that the total building energy use is minimized and provided by renewable sources.

As part of BOMA’s net zero challenge program pilot, the team at 980 Howe worked with BOMA to showcase climate change mitigation and adaptation. In addition to energy efficient systems, 980 Howe uses free and passive cooling during shoulder seasons and, for additional savings, has occupancy and daylight harvesting sensors. The building is also equipped with an innovative water system that diverts rain water to a 10,000-litre underground cistern that manages storm water and fully supports and sustains landscaping irrigation. 


Manulife Place Dojima, Osaka

Receives "S" rank from Japan's CASBEE assessment

Located in the heart of Osaka’s central business district, Manulife Place Dojima is a cornerstone of our Asian portfolio; it's also a strong sustainability performer—so much so that it achieved “S” rank, the top level in Japan’s CASBEE assessment.

CASBEE, which stands for Comprehensive Assessment System for Built Environment Efficiency, evaluates buildings based on environmental performance, interior comfort, and health and wellness.

All of these criteria played a role in MP Dojima’s "S" rank. Built in 2007, the 83,000-square-foot office building promotes biological diversity and showcases state-of-the-art building systems and an impressive maintenance plan.

In addition to building features, MP Dojima’s top CASBEE rank was also supported by staff initiatives. A great example of this is the "Disaster prevention guidebook," created by building staff and distributed to tenants. The book provides safety preparation and response plans for climate-related disasters prevalent in Japan, including typhoons, floods, and earthquakes. The guidebook folds to the size of a credit card so that tenants can always have it on hand.

MP Dojima also features ground floor retail space, underground parking, and access to business and entertainment amenities as well as multiple commuter rail and subway stations, including Osaka Station, the largest train terminal in western Japan.


Creating a buzz around our buildings

Calgary beehive initiative

Since 2017, Manulife Investment Management has partnered with Alvéole, an urban beekeeping company, to host hives across our Canadian portfolio. Alvéole supplies the hives, bees, and beekeeping expertise, while Manulife Investment Management provides funding and a home on our rooftops.

In 2019, our Calgary team installed 11 beehives on the roofs of five buildings. To create a buzz around the office, the team invited all tenants to “Name the Queen Bee.”

Turns out our tenants are a creative bunch:  We received almost 200 submissions from 86 different tenants. Some of our favourites—Albeeta, Beeo-patra, Bumbalina, and the simple, but effective, Queen B.

Naturally, the winners received products made directly from our busy bees, including honey and lip balm. Each winner was also invited to participate in the honey extraction process—definitely not your typical day at the office!

Needless to say, we’re very excited about our partnership with Alvéole. By hosting hives, we’re doing our part to support biodiversity and boost the health of the ecosystem. We’re also helping bees to flourish in urban centres and educating our tenants on an important environmental issue. No mere trifle when you consider that we depend on our buzzing little friends for 60% to 70% of plant pollination. 

 

 

1 Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, 2014.


Celebrating our outstanding green leaders

Real Estate Sustainability Awards

In an effort to thank our Green Champion community and local property teams for their leadership in sustainability, we launched an internal recognition program known as the Real Estate Sustainability Awards.

Our first annual Green Champion Leader Award went to Christina Harricharran in our Toronto head office. Christina’s innovative approach and hard work were instrumental in Manulife earning its first-ever Fitwel certification at 220 Bloor Street E in Toronto. She also helped the Toronto head office complex achieve a LEED Gold certification while also delivering numerous tenant engagement initiatives throughout 2019.

In addition, two property teams were the proud recipients of the Sustainable Building Standards Leader Award. Calgary’s Nikki Sincovich and Allison Gammage won for the industrial asset class, while California’s Chalinee Kember and Nicole Macaulay were recognized in the office category. This award recognizes those properties and teams that are taking proactive measures to reduce their environmental impact and engage with stakeholders. The Michelson in California boasted an impressive Sustainable Building Standards average level of 4.6 (out of 5.0), achieving a perfect score in 9 of our 13 sustainability standards.

Congratulations to all of our 2019 winners! It's with their continuous commitment to deliver on our sustainable objectives that we'll get it done together.


Taking the mound for charity

Our annual charity softball tournament

For the 29th year in a row, Manulife Investment Management real estate employees took to the mound for the annual Manulife charity softball tournament in support of the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society.

Eighteen teams from across Manulife, including our own Toronto Towers real eestate team, made up of employees from our asset management, accounting, and audit services departments, enthusiastically suited up for the tournament. Who wouldn’t welcome the chance to spend a summer day at the diamond?

We're proud of our employees. Not only did they pull off another flawless event, but they raised over $22,000 to support the Humane Society’s mission to promote responsible treatment of animals through education, advocacy, and care.


Japan

Adapting companywide standards to regional markets

Working with our managers is critical to ensuring that our sustainability commitments are achieved across our entire portfolio.

In Japan, our real estate team supports our third-party property managers to meet our global Sustainable Building Standards. They also work closely with our Japanese managers to adapt and develop programs that are applicable to the local market.

Together, the teams participated in our sustainability training and implemented key initiatives to meet our Level 1 standards, including developing energy and water management plans and an annual tenant engagement plan.