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The ZCB Standard takes an enormous amount of information (and associated confusion) on carbon emissions and distils it into a simple methodology that is applicable to most buildings. It's a forward thinking approach that encourages us to consider factors other than just energy consumption.
In June 2018, 100 Murray Street in Ottawa’s central Byward Market, asset managed and operated by Bentall Kennedy, was awarded the country’s first Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) – Performance certification. This existing 60,000 sq. ft. Class A commercial office space further built upon its proven energy performance results and LEED Gold certification in 2016, to demonstrate that it had achieved a balance of zero carbon emissions from the building.
ZCB-Performance certification for existing buildings like 100 Murray Street requires buildings to demonstrate that they are not contributing greenhouse gas emissions over a twelve month period of operations, with performance verified annually. To earn this certification, Bentall Kennedy’s project team also had to evaluate energy use holistically and determine the GHG emissions associated with structural and envelope materials.
CaGBC spoke to the project team at Bentall Kennedy to get a better sense of how 100 Murray reached this impressive milestone, and how other projects can do the same.
A case study for how any high-performing existing building can reach zero carbon
When the project team at Bentall Kennedy decided to pursue CaGBC’s new Zero Carbon Building Standard, they wanted to test out how one of their buildings could perform at a higher level in an effort to replicate that formula in the future. 100 Murray Street was the perfect candidate: a boutique office building located in Ottawa’s trendy Byward Market that was already high-performing, including a LEED for Existing Buildings Gold certification in 2016 and one of the first group of buildings to receive ENERGY STAR certification in Canada in 2018.
Constructed in 2006, the building was already primarily using an electric heating system supported by an advanced building automation system. The heating, cooling and ventilation system is also variable and relies on temperature and carbon dioxide sensors to optimize occupant comfort and reduce energy. Interior spaces throughout the building receive ample natural light and provide for picturesque urban views of the historic area. It is also within close proximity to many forms of active and public transportation, and the building promotes wellness and lifestyle enhancements with many rooftop terraces, private washrooms/showers and first class finishes.
“We were delighted to be named the first Zero Carbon Building – Performance certified property in Canada. The industry is starting to shift its focus to evaluating performance based on carbon emissions and this certification highlights this very direction,” said Anna Murray, Vice President, Sustainability at Bentall Kennedy. “At Bentall Kennedy, we believe in investing soundly + sustainably. Across our portfolio, we strive to mitigate portfolio obsolescence risk and minimize property operating costs through energy and GHG management, water usage and waste reduction strategies – so pursuing this Standard just made sense.”
How the CaGBC Zero Carbon Building Standard helped to demystify the process
While still a relatively new concept, the Bentall Kennedy team including Anna Murray, and Technical Services Manager, Brandon Malleck, used the CaGBC’s new Standard to simplify the process of reducing emissions and cut through the confusion of what it means to have a zero carbon building:
“The ZCB Standard recognizes those properties that are taking a closer look at high performance in energy efficiency, and also the types of energy used by making carbon emissions the key indicator of building performance. The tools and lessons learned from the Standard will guide future decision making to drive operational excellence at the property,” said Malleck.
“Green building certifications validate the environmental performance of our assets, enhance transparency and establish a clear market differentiator that our investors and tenants value,” added Murray. “Further, green building certification creates a virtuous circle that generates the potential for higher value, more satisfied tenants, and forestalls obsolescence for our investor clients.”
“The CaGBC’s ZCB also provides a credible and verifiable pathway for landlords to contribute to the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement.”