Constructed in 1983, the ATCO Centre is located west of the central downtown core in Edmonton between the government and financial districts. This 20-storey building is used for office purposes and is classified as a Class A office building (one of the highest classification levels).
Before completing operational efficiency improvements, all building energy and water usage was tracked manually, with little to no real-time monitoring available in the property.
Through the completion of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (EB:O&M) certification, the property instituted a prescriptive approach to identify building performance and operational opportunities and implement improvement measures.
One innovative building improvement project that Triovest Realty Advisors Inc. (Triovest), who manages the building, completed was the implementation of a zero-blowdown water treatment system for the cooling towers. The new water treatment system was a first for Triovest and involves the recycling and reuse of associated cooling tower wastewater, reducing the amount of fresh water and energy used. Once optimization was completed, the new system was able to improve building energy efficiency by 5% and reduce water use by 14% annually.
Since Triovest began managing ATCO Centre and implementing improvements, the property has been recognized for excellence through multiple awards that include: Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) BEST Certificate of Excellence (2015), Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) LEAP Award Low Energy Leader (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), HOOPP LEAP Award Water Winner (2018), HOOPP LEAP Award Waste Minimizer (2018); BOMA Earth Award (2017), Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) Alberta Chapter Excellence in Green Building Existing Buildings Award (2017), and City of Edmonton Benchmarking Excellence Award (2017).
Past retrofit activities
The building has undergone multiple performance assessments, energy audits, and retro-commissioning activities that focused on proper operation and systems optimization, with equipment being replaced only if needed.
Improving the lighting system was the first identified enhancement priority for Triovest. The lighting system was original to the building and was replaced with a more-efficient light emitting diode (LED) system. Replacing the lighting at the building resulted in a financial payback of just over 2 years.
Rather than undergoing retro-commissioning just once, a continuous improvement process at the building was implemented, which helps to progressively prioritize new retrofits each year. This process has led to the completion of glazing/window replacement, the installation of more efficient variable frequency drives for motors, the replacement of the boiler and cooling tower systems, and improved building performance monitoring capabilities with the installation of energy use sub-metering.
As a result of implementing low- or no-cost energy conservation measures, the building has been able to reduce its annual energy use by 270,000 ekWh. The building's ENERGY STAR score just seven years ago was 46, meaning that the building’s energy efficiency was below average as compared to other similar Canadian office buildings. Today, ATCO Centre’s Energy Star score is 98, which means that it performs within the top 98th percentile of similar office buildings with regards to energy- performance.
Additional measures that have been implemented recently include: the installation of occupancy sensors and lighting controls to reduce energy use; improvements to the main entrances to reduce entrance heating needs; and improvements to the mixed-air temperature controls to further reduce energy use.
Future retrofit plans
Over the next eight years, continual and planned operational improvements and optimization to the building’s systems and controls are anticipated to achieve a further $180,000 in cost-avoidance savings and 2,600 tonnes of avoided greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.