Airport Square

Vancouver, British Columbia

April 6, 2016

Rating System/Standard
LEED Canada
Certification Level
Gold
Building Type
Office

Built in the mid-1970s along the southern edge of Vancouver, Airport Square features unobstructed views of the Vancouver International Airport, Fraser River, and the surrounding areas. In April of this year, the 14-storey, 226,000 sq. ft. class A office building achieved LEED® EB:O&M Gold certification.

LaSalle Investment Management, Advisor to the Airport Square owner, identified LEED certification as a key differentiator for the building. Receiving a recognized third-party certification for sustainability allows Airport Square to remain competitive with newly constructed buildings within the Vancouver office market.

The following case study was written using responses previously provided for a LEED Spotlight in October 2016, and is the result of an interview with Edmund Lee, Senior Vice President at LaSalle Investment Management.

LEED represents building quality

LaSalle’s client is a large institutional investor with global holdings and a progressive sustainability program for its real estate portfolio, therefore LEED certification was an obvious choice for Airport Square.

“LEED is the most internationally-recognized sustainability certification today, both by industry professionals and the general public, so certification carries with it acceptance and the highest marketing impact for the building,” says Lee.

While confident that they were providing clients with a comfortable and efficient work environment, Airport Square did not have the measurable evidence needed to confirm and market this assumption, and so they looked to LEED.

“LEED signifies a certain minimum level of building quality, similar to star ratings for hotels, and is a statement to the marketplace that the owner cares about the building and its tenants. Certification provides existing and prospective tenants with a level of assurance that they’re going to be well taken care of.”

The journey towards LEED Gold

LaSalle relied on the expertise of their LEED consultant to help frame their expectations and set realistic goals for the building. Based on various criteria, it was agreed that targeting LEED EB:O&M Gold certification was both achievable and cost-efficient.

While achieving LEED certification was very gratifying and delivered many benefits, it was an undertaking that involved many moving parts, and required a committed team of individuals to bring it to fruition.

“It’s critical to have: 1) a committed owner, 2) an experienced LEED consultant and 3) a dedicated management team to work through the process. We were fortunate to have an incredible group, from our Chief Engineer and on-site staff, our Property Manager and support team, our LEED consultant, and an owner with the foresight to understand the long-term value of this certification,” says Lee.

In addition, open communication in regular meetings ensured that the team worked well together to guarantee that the best results were achieved for all parties and their end goal.

Assessing the results

Analysis during the initial year indicated that energy consumption at the building dropped by two per cent after LEED® changes were implemented in the building.

“It should be noted that Airport Square was already considered one of the more energy efficient buildings prior to LEED certification,” says Lee. “For instance bearing an EnergyStar score well over 90 per cent and receiving recognition from BC Hydro’s PowerSmart program for our lighting retrofit a number of years back.”

Achieving certification also allowed them to confirm that their low operating costs were a result of efficient operation, rather than cost-cutting or deferred maintenance.

Tenants gain from improved health and wellness amenities

Lee says that tenants are benefitting from multiple on-site amenities in the building that focus on health and wellness, including a large fitness room and an expansive open-air plaza. The on-site team at Airport Square have received positive tenant feedback on improvements introduced through certification such as new landscaping, improved communication and feedback systems, as well as recycling options and education.

Along with these more tangible improvements, Airport Square has implemented mechanical systems upgrades and has installed additional metering in order to deliver a better overall work environment for tenants and staff. They expect this to translate into lower overall operating costs, a more stable tenant roster and, ultimately, a positive financial benefit to their client.

LEED SCORE CARD

Certification LevelGold
Rating SystemLEED Canada for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance 2009
Total Points earned64
Sustainable Sites12 out of 26
Water Efficiency8 out of 14
Energy & Atmosphere23 out of 35
Materials & Resources4 out of 10
Indoor Environmental Quality8 out of 15
Innovation6 out of 6
Regional Priority3 out of 4

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