LEED Spotlight February: Robinson Place becomes Infrastructure Ontario's first LEED Platinum EB: O&M certified project

We spoke to Chun Liang, Senior Building Energy and Sustainability Specialist, and Jeremy Carkner, Principal and Senior Building Energy and Sustainability Specialist, about this milestone for Infrastructure Ontario, and the many benefits they see as a result of this certification. Both work at Morrison Hershfield, the company that acted as the LEED Consultant for the project.

1. Tell use a little bit about the project and its unique features, particularly those that led to it certifying LEED Platinum.



Robinson Place, LEED Platinum

Several mechanical upgrades were implemented, two major ones included: an upgraded building automation system, and new chillers. The building automation upgrade converted the existing system to a web-based system while replacing sensors and actuators. The chillers were higher efficiency units that along with the upgraded automation system helped the building achieve an ENERGY STAR score of 90.

Other features were:

  • The building has a rainwater collection system, allowing natural water to be used in toilets and urinals.
  • Policies in place ensure a green approach to cleaning, landscaping and pest management.
  • All energy used by the building has been offset using Green-e certified renewable energy.
  • The Ministry established a rooftop community garden, providing organic vegetables to the local mission (charitable organization).

2. Why did you choose LEED certification?

Infrastructure Ontario wanted to show leadership and Robinson Place was well positioned as a LEED for Existing Buildings pilot within their government building portfolio. The anchor tenant was the Ministry of Natural Resources so it seemed like a natural fit—no pun intended!

3. What value does LEED certification bring to your building, both as an owner and/or property manager and for those who occupy it?

We see many benefits coming out of the certification including:

  • Real-time notifications are provided to the facility management team of any unusual spikes in consumption of gas, water or electricity because of the building is fully metered and connected to the Building Automation System (BAS).
  • Optimal operating efficiency and tenant comfort because the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system balanced throughout the entire building.
  • Overall water consumption has been reduced because the building has a rainwater collection system, which allows natural water to be used in toilets and urinals.
  • Waste has been reduced due to strong recycling programs for all types of materials (i.e. paper, glass, bulbs, batteries).
  • Low VOC materials because the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), as lead tenant, has taken a leadership role in in the procurement of materials including re-use of older furniture where possible, and acquisition of Greenshield-certified furniture for any new purchases.

4. What was the biggest lessons learned from building a LEED project that you think would be valuable to other building LEED?

We would say it was a two-fold lesson that involved careful task scheduling and coordination of responsibilities in order to successfully meet the budget and Platinum target while minimizing disruptions to building operations. The task scheduling included timely completion of capital and efficiency upgrades including:

  • Building wide automation and metering;
  • Variable speed drives;
  • HVAC balancing.; and
  • Lighting controls.

So that all energy, water and indoor environmental quality benefits could be reaped and documented within credit performance periods. The coordination of responsibilities included the creation of plans, policies, and contracts at the building with respect to exterior hardscape and pest management, sustainable material procurement, and green cleaning so that LEED credit responsibilities were clear and documented. This coordination process was critical to achieve all pursued policy and performance credits in the Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Sustainable Sites categories.