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Canadian Tire distribution centre cuts energy use 46%

Canadian Tire Corporation will soon be celebrating a one-year anniversary — its distribution cent...

IMAGE: Canadian Tire Corp. obtained LEED Gold certification at its Caledon, Ont. distribution centre in November 2018. (Courtesy Canadian Tire Corporation)

Canadian Tire Corp. obtained LEED Gold certification at its
Caledon, Ont. distribution centre in November 2018. (Courtesy
Canadian Tire Corporation)

Canadian Tire Corporation will soon be celebrating a one-year anniversary — its distribution centre in Caledon, Ont. was officially LEED certified in November of 2018. Achieving the certification has resulted in enormous savings at the centre.

The LEED Gold certification is “an honour we’re extremely proud of,” Canadian Tire’s Teresa Bonanno told Sustainable Biz. “There are just a handful of (distribution centres) of our 1.4-million-square-foot size that are gold certified, making our facility truly one of the most energy efficient distribution centres in all of Canada.”

The building is owned by CT REIT, the company’s real estate arm, and leased back to the retail group to occupy and operate the facility.

In achieving LEED Gold certification, energy consumption at the centre has been reduced by 46 per cent; energy costs by 39 per cent; and more than 1,700 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions are saved annually.

Employee-driven effort for Canadian Tire

The exercise has pushed the team to be innovative about “how to design our buildings and to apply new technologies which may be applicable to our larger portfolio,” Bonanno said. “We’re proud of our team for choosing to set the bar high, and to show Canadians and others that it can be reached.”

When the team set out to build the Caledon distribution centre, the LEED certification was not initially a priority.

“As the planning process went on, our Canadian Tire employees working on the project helped us decide to target LEED certification to push technical innovation and to develop a more environmentally-friendly building, while creating a positive work environment and maintaining a financially attractive project,” Bonanno said.

The certification was achieved through close collaboration by the construction team and Canadian Tire’s supply chain group which would be operating the centre. External LEED consultants were brought in to determine how best to design the building, while meeting both business and environmental objectives.

A detailed design was then “executed flawlessly working with suppliers and installers during the construction phase to ensure that it would operate as intended,” she said.

Canadian Tire’s Real Estate team played a “critical role through the design, and procurement of materials to ensure we would be eligible for many of the criteria that needed to be met to achieve this certification.”

The project also received an award from the Toronto Illuminating Engineering Society for its innovative lighting design.

Canadian Tire’s GHG reduction goal

“Across the enterprise, we’ve made it a top priority to be more energy efficient, use fewer resources and produce less waste in our buildings and operations,” Bonanno said.

Overall, Canadian Tire has committed to GHG emissions by 22 per cent from its buildings and operations.

”We ensure that we’re making our facilities more resilient to the impacts of climate change, and we’re choosing resilient suppliers,” she said. “When we build we balance design, cost and environmental impact to achieve the most environmentally friendly buildings without sacrificing design or incurring cost.”

It’s a top priority “across the enterprise” to be more energy efficient. Those efforts are being recognized.

CTC was recently notified that it’s retained its spot on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, as well as the North American Index. Of 111 retailers invited to be assessed, CTC placed 13th.

The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) are a family of indices evaluating thousands of companies on their sustainability performance.

Since 2012, CTC has been included in the North American DJSI, which represents the top 20 per cent of Canadian and U.S. companies. Since 2014 it has also been included in DJSI World, which represents the top 10 per cent of global companies.

“Our result this year was due in large part to our strong and accelerated efforts to build the environmental, social and governance part of our brand,” said Bonanno. “That, together with increasing transparency, resulted in us improving or maintaining our score year over year.”

Some facts about CTC and sustainability

* Two Canadian Tire stores have achieved LEED Gold certification.

* Five Canadian Tire stores are LEED Silver certified.

* CTC’s 20 ONRoute service centres, found along Ontario’s 400 series of highways, are all LEED Gold or Silver certified – the first gas bars in Canada to receive this distinction.

* By using some of the most advanced technologies available, new Canadian Tire stores are among the most energy efficient large retail stores in North America.