LEED Spotlight: Yonge Corporate Centre in Toronto certifies LEED Gold for Existing Buildings

Photo of Cadillac Fairview’s Yonge Corporate Centre

Located in North York, ON, Cadillac Fairview’s Yonge Corporate Centre is three-building, multi-tenant commercial office and retail complex of approximately 658,300 square feet. It is conveniently located next to major highways and on the subway system. We spoke with the project team at Cadillac Fairview to find out a bit more about how they approached the project and the many interesting ways they are engaging with their tenants to create more green building awareness.

Renewing building systems for better performance

In 2010, building management identified the goal of reaching REALpac’s “20 by 2015” goal of reducing normalized energy consumption to under 20 ekWh/ft2/year for each of the three buildings in the Yonge Corporate Centre complex. In order to reach their energy targets, management staff brought together an integrated building per­formance team to help ensure decisions were and are made with target performance in mind, that problems are solved collectively, and that everyone got smarter about the building and systems. Ongoing tracking also enables them to provide feed­back to all stakeholders on progress and allow for adjustments and corrections.

The team focused their improvement efforts for the certification on making the best of existing, high quality building systems and equipment. Boiler burners have been replaced with up-to-date technology, variable frequency drives were installed on the original ventilation systems and building automation programming was comprehensively upgraded.

By working together, they were able to attain ENERGY STAR scores in the 90s, divert 88% of their overall waste from landfill, and create a healthy environment for all who work at Yonge Corporate Centre. Overall, the complex has also saved 24.3% in total energy compared with the 2010 baseline.

“Our building performance is a testament to our desire to collaborate with our tenants and our team,” says Patricia Poyntz, General Manager, of Yonge Corporate Centre. “Together, we’ve been able to make smart decisions that impact our people, our tenants and the environment — for the better. As we look forward to the coming year, we will be building on our current achievements and exploring ways to reduce our water consumption.”

Meeting tenants needs a key focus

Cadillac Fairview’s Green at Work program also identifies goals for the five pillars of sustainability: Energy, Waste Management, Environmental Protection (land, air and water), Sustainable Procurement, and Stakeholder Collaboration, which Yonge Corporate Centre has been working steadily to attain.

In order to do this, they’ve established an environmental sustainability program where their goals align with those of their tenants, achieve savings from which they directly benefit, and ultimately deliver better value. Further, they continue to monitor and measure their efforts to ensure that they are consistently meeting the goals that were set and providing the ongoing value their tenants expect. The Yonge Corporate Centre Operations team works closely with tenants to reduce energy use in their spaces. For one tenant, they helped to make the business case for lighting replacement, acquire the right lamps and track the savings realized. The project cost about $3000, however the tenant is now saving $1,750 a year for a simple payback of 1.2 years, including incentives. Even more importantly, the retrofit improved working conditions at the reception desk.

Another way they’ve engaged with tenants is through an “Energy Challenge”. The Challenge was conducted through an evening audit of tenant spaces which was then compared with floor-by-floor interval meter results.

“This gave us great insight into where we could improve plug load and lighting efficiency to save energy after regular working hours,” says Poyntz. “To turn these insights into action, we challenged occupants in each building to reduce their office energy use. By shutting off lights, unplugging chargers and turning off monitors, some floors were able to save up to 7% of their energy use. Each floor that was able to save energy was rewarded with a local ice cream treat.”

Additional tenant incentives and sustainability initiatives

Ditching the drive

For nearly 40% of Yonge Corporate Centre tenants and occupants, the TTC is the better way for transportation. Of those who elect to drive, 10% share the ride with at least one other person. To help Yonge Corporate Centre tenants and occupants ditch their drive in favour of a more environmentally friendly alternative, they also offer bicycle racks at the entrance of each building and on the second parking level, as well as Zip Car service in the parking lot for attending meetings or running errands.

Experiencing the Outdoors: Counting butterflies

For those who love to walk or sit outside, Yonge Corporate Centre offers year-round outdoor seating, new walkways around the buildings, and access to a number of trails. Occupants can enjoy the fresh air and butterfly-friendly plants throughout the grounds that attract the more than 100 species of butterflies living in the Toronto area.

Greening for the Birds

For several years, the Yonge Corporate Centre has been working closely with the Convenience Group to create a more bird-friendly environment. In 2012, they applied a new film technology to the north side of 4120 Yonge that had been developed over 10 years with the help of leading ornithologists. The test film has proven to be 100% successful in reducing migratory bird collisions where it has been applied. The film has been installed on 4100 Yonge Street and 4110 Yonge Street, helping make Yonge Corporate Centre a safer place for migratory birds.

Environmental Scorecard

Yonge Corporate Centre tracks the following performance indicators for each of the buildings in their complex as they work towards improving our environmental performance. Please note energy data includes both electricity and natural gas.