A year of green real estate milestones for Canada

With the approach of the third annual Green Real Estate Conference to be held on April 3, 2008 in Toronto, it is time to take stock of notable ‘green’ initiatives in the past 12 months.

Since this time last year, there has been an inspirational ground swell of green projects, activities and events in the real estate sector that indicate an unprecedented desire to alleviate green house gas emissions and move toward a more environmentally benign real estate industry.  

Following is a summary of green real estate milestones from the last 12 months, each of which could be considered ' pivotal' in the drive for greener real estate in Canada.

CB Richard Ellis to be carbon neutral by 2010

In May 2007 CBRE the Worlds largest real estate company became the first major commercial real estate services firm to announce plans to become carbon-neutral by 2010.  The company also plans to assist its clients, representing over 1.7 billion square feet of building space, with energy efficiency programs.  (Canada News Wire, May 31, 2007)

Stefan Ciotlos
Executive Vice President & Executive Managing Director
CB Richard Ellis Limited
Co-chair Green Real Estate Conference

First Capital Realty lists 30 projects underway for LEED certification

First Capital Realty Canada owner of 164 retail properties located predominantly in growing metropolitan areas, announced a list of 30 development projects underway, or in the planning stages of development that are being built according to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification standards. (Canada News Wire, October 10, 2007)

Since May 2006, all of the Company’s new development projects are being built according to LEED certification standards. 

Paul Cameron
Vice President Construction
First Capital Realty
Speaker Green Real Estate Conference

German Pension Fund buys Ottawa Green Building

The business case in favor of green buildings received a boost in January 2008 with the sale of The TELUS Building at 215 Slater St. in Ottawa, a candidate for LEED Silver Accreditation, to German Pension Fund, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Immobellenfonds mbH (DEGI) International for $66.5 million. (Real Estate News Exchange, January 30th, 2008)

DEGI is one of Europe's leading real estate portfolio managers with assets under management totaling $6.4 billion euros.  Morguard Investments Ltd. will be the operational managers for the building. Broccolini Construction in Ottawa is developer of the project.

Trish Clarry
Director, Real Estate Strategy
TELUS Communications Corporation
Co-chair Green Real Estate Conference

Green certificates grow in numbers and popularity

The Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada (BOMA) reported in January 2008 that Montreal’s Édifice Sun Lifes became the 500th building to attain Go Green/Visez vert Certification since the programs inception in 2005. There were 55 new certificates in Quebec in 2007 where the program has been particularly poplular. (BOMA News Release, Januray 22, 2008)

The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) has over 700 buildings registered to qualify for LEED certificates and it has certified over 90 buildings.

LEED Canada Initiative (formerly LEED Complete)  launched by Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC)

Following is an excerpt from the CaGBC website:

In response to market demand, the CaGBC is updating the LEED® Canada Green Building Rating System to address existing as well as new buildings, include all building types, and streamline the process to lower costs and shorten the time required for certification.

The next generation of LEED Canada will be web-based, and incorporate actual performance-based energy and water efficiency credits. It is evolving from one-time certification to a life-cycle building performance management system for any type of building, new and existing.

LEED® Canada for Existing Buildings is to be launched in 2009 and offer online assessment, action planning and performance verification as well as a certification process that is fast, economical and easy to access.

This further development of LEED in Canada will allow for the massive scaling up necessary to meet the CaGBC goal of 100,000 buildings and 1 million homes certified by 2015, with 50% reduction in energy and water use, and 50 Megatonnes of GHG emission reductions.

The LEED Canada initiative is described in detail on the CaGBC website.

Anne Auger
Vice President of LEED
Canada Green Building Council
Panelist at the Green Real Estate Conference

British Columbia introduces carbon tax to fund climate change initiatives, other provinces expected to follow

British Columbians will begin paying a new carbon tax on almost all forms of fuel in July 2008 as the provincial government moves to cut greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming.

Besides the tax scheme, the government will spend $1 billion on climate action incentives over the next four years including energy audits and retrofits of people's homes and a sales tax exemption for Energy Star appliances.

How to Measure & Manage Your Carbon Footprint?
Information Session at the Green Real Estate Conference

Carbon trading market grows to USD 31 billion

Indicative of the pace of change is a rapidly growing carbon market referenced in the 2007 annual report of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The CDP seeks information on the business risks and opportunities presented by climate change and greenhouse gas emissions data from the world's largest companies, 3,000 in 2008, with combined assets of over $57 trillion under management.

The CDP annual report notes that the carbon trading market increased in volume by 100% between 2005 and 2006 to 1.6 billion tones of CO2e worth USD 29 billion. If the trend continues for 2007 the volume could reach 2.4 billion tones of CO2e worth USD 31 billion. While the report indicated that the gap between awareness of climate change and action is narrowing for institutional investors and major companies, the same gap for investors remains the large.

What Are the Cost Benefits of Carbon Trading to A Real Estate Company?
Information Session at the Green Real Estate Conference

Major Canadian real estate owners participate in Carbon Disclosure Project

Canada’s major pensions, who collectively own over $100-billion in commercial real estate, are members of The Carbon Disclosure Project. CBRE is a member of CDP and has posted its carbon report to The CDP website.

As recently as last week the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board was urging all major Canadian companies to join The CDP, embracing the philosophy that carbon is like other things, if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.

How to Measure & Manage Your Carbon Footprint?
Information Session at the Green Real Estate Conference

To stay abreast of the Green Real Estate issues register for the Green Real Estate Conference to be held on April, 3, 2008 at the Toronto Convention Centre.  Only $395 until the early bird deadline of March 14, 2008. Register today.

Ann launched RENX in 2001 as a part-time venture and has grown the publication to become a primary source of online news for the Canadian real estate industry. Prior to…

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Ann launched RENX in 2001 as a part-time venture and has grown the publication to become a primary source of online news for the Canadian real estate industry. Prior to…

Read more

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