Édifice Jacques-Parizeau’s ZCB-Performance certification to guide future Ivanhoé Cambridge projects

Montreal, Quebec

April 28, 2022

Rating System/Standard
Zero Carbon Building

Located in Montreal’s International District, Édifice Jacques-Parizeau is the home of real estate firm Ivanhoé Cambridge and its main shareholder, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. Constructed in 2002, the building was previously known as the CDP Capital Centre before being renamed in 2016 in honour of the former Quebec premier, who helped found the Caisse.

Édifice Jacques-Parizeau consists of three blocks connected by a glass-walled central atrium, with two entrances from the Jean-Paul-Riopelle public square and Square Victoria. Linked to a network of underground shopping promenades that stretches across 33 kilometres, the building also houses The Parquet, an indoor corporate event venue capable of hosting up to 800 people, along with office space and restaurants.

With its energy-efficient design, the building was an excellent candidate for Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) – Performance certification, allowing Ivanhoé Cambridge to validate the building’s high performance while also gathering valuable data on making the transition to zero carbon.

A better understanding of what is needed to get to zero

Ivanhoé Cambridge is a commercial real estate company that develops and invests in high-quality real estate properties, projects and companies. With interest in more than 1,000 assets with a value of $64 billion, Ivanhoé Cambridge is guided by its commitment to creating living spaces that foster the well-being of people and communities, while reducing its environmental footprint.

For Ivanhoé Cambridge, obtaining ZCB-Performance certification for its Montreal head office provided an opportunity to better understand Édifice Jacques-Parizeau’s operational and embodied carbon footprint. The certification process also enabled the company to better understand the physical modifications and investments needed to transition to an all-electric, zero carbon building.

Édifice Jacques-Parizeau was a natural choice to serve as a pilot project for the company’s broader exploration of what it might take to decarbonize its asset portfolio, with the ZCB-Performance certification process offering a framework for assessing carbon. The building had already been recognized as a high performer, having earned LEED Gold certification, and it was a participating building in the Défi énergie en immobilier / Building Energy Challenge. A multi-year program in which property owners and managers across Quebec work to better understand building energy use, the Energy Challenge helps develop and implement solutions to reduce consumption and associated emissions.

In line with the Caisse’s sustainability goals, Ivanhoé Cambridge also aims to increase its low-carbon investments by 80 per cent by the end of year 2020 and to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent by 2025.

The project team was able to achieve ZCB-Performance certification without making any physical changes to the building. This is due in part to Édifice Jacques-Parizeau‘s innovative approach to energy efficiency and comfort, as part of its original design.

The ventilated double glass wall optimizes the use of energy and maximizes natural light inside the building. The higher shade coefficient in the sintered glass used for the atrium reduces the penetration of heat-generating rays, helping maintain a consistent indoor temperature.

Energy efficiency is further aided by the preheating of new air from the thermal energy of the exhaust air, ventilation displacement due to raised floors, and continuous commissioning processes in place since the building’s construction.

While Édifice Jacques-Parizeau utilizes natural gas, primarily for heating, hot water, and humidification, the innovative approaches to energy efficiency help minimize its use. Furthermore, the pursuit of ZCB-Performance certification required the development of a detailed, costed decarbonization transition plan. Although current energy prices and the performance of the mechanical equipment currently in place make it challenging to shift to low-carbon forms of energy at this time, development of the transition plan provided insights into the long-term potential to eliminate the use of fossil fuel.

A flexible pathway to success

Édifice Jacques-Parizeau’s certification showcases the ZCB Standard’s flexibility in enabling energy-efficient buildings to validate their performance. The ZCB-Performance standard allows for emissions to be eliminated through the procurement of green power, which the project team purchased from the Gros Morne wind farm in Gaspé, Que. This approach is designed to get more buildings to achieve a zero carbon balance, creating a groundswell of new zero carbon buildings while still delivering on meaningful GHG reductions. The ability to purchase offsite green energy also recognizes that not all buildings – especially those in built-up urban centres – have the space to accommodate on-site renewable energy production.

Working through the ZCB-Performance certification, the project team also benefited from the use of the Arc platform to track building performance. With the Arc tool, it was easier to complete the paperwork required to obtain and renew its ZCB-Performance and LEED certifications.

“Not only does the Arc platform reduce time, money and effort required to renew our LEED certification,” said Annik Desmarteau, Vice President, Office, Quebec. “It enables our property management teams to focus on reducing carbon emissions and water consumption, better managing waste and improving indoor environmental quality and tenant satisfaction.”

Operating a globally diverse portfolio of real estate assets comes with a great environmental responsibility. By embracing the move toward carbon as a key indicator of a building’s performance, Ivanhoé Cambridge continues to demonstrate its commitment to mitigating the environmental impact of its buildings.

“Édifice Jacques-Parizeau is yet another step in fulfilling the ambition we have set for ourselves in our most recent strategic plan. We are always looking for opportunities to operate our assets as efficiently as possible, and to ensure healthy living environments and optimal environmental performance, while making a meaningful and lasting impact in the communities where we operate,” said Stéphane Villemain, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility.

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