Montreal-based real estate company Canderel Management Inc. has launched its own decarbonization service for landlords and asset managers, dubbed Road to Net Zero (RNZ).
RNZ launched officially on September 6. It promises a holistic approach to decarbonization, from assessment to project management, planning for the strategic investment of capital, as well as real-time optimization and monitoring.
“Buildings that were once perceived as energy efficient or had already implemented some of the low-hanging fruit, such as LED retrofits, are at risk of seeing their vacancy rate and operating costs increase because asset performance on ESG metrics can influence property rents if properties are not meeting market expectation,” Romain Stephano, Canderel’s director of sustainability, told SustainableBiz.
Founded in 1975, Canderel owns and manages a real estate portfolio of more than 25 million square feet in Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Its 650 employees have executed more than $20 billion in acquisitions, developments and management projects.
According to a recent RBC report entitled High Rise, Low Carbon: Canada’s $40 billion Net Zero building challenge, Canada's existing buildings emit approximately 90 megatonnes of greenhouse gases annually.
Canderel’s Road to Net Zero
Discussions on launching RNZ began in early 2023, and some Canderel clients in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto and Ottawa are already using the service. Stephano said RNZ is being implemented in multiple office buildings totalling over four million square feet.
There is also over two million square feet of office space in the pipeline for decarbonization, set to launch "in the next month or so."
He noted that over the past five to six years decarbonization has started to become a priority for building owners.
“As property managers and owners, we know better than anyone what makes sense financially from a leasing perspective, from an operational perspective, what to do to decarbonize a building," Stephano noted. "So definitely we learned from our past experience on implementing energy efficiency projects.”
Another factor in the decision to launch RNZ came from what Stephano and Canderel saw as fragmentation of the decarbonization market.
“Existing service providers tend to focus on specific point solutions, but they do not provide comprehensive long-term support,” he explained. "We have expertise in property management . . . oversight, sustainability, project management and engineering.”
He also stressed that RNZ focuses as much on decarbonization as it does on energy efficiency, noting the two initiatives go hand in hand.
Each building would have different needs, and therefore each decarbonization plan would look different. However, Stephano broke the service down into four basic elements: assessment, planning, implementation and management.
Canderel employees in its property management, engineering and construction divisions, as well as Stephano’s ESG team, work with the platform.
The future of Road to Net Zero
Canderel doesn’t have specific targets when it comes to RNZ and decarbonization – it simply wants to utilize the service at as many buildings as possible.
It is offered both to existing clients as well as for buildings owned or operated by other companies.
Stephano said the response from clients so far has been positive, and he expects demand for RNZ to pick up over the next few weeks.
The RNZ team wants to remain flexible in how it lowers the carbon footprints of its assets – both in technology and technique.
“When we look at what is the best technology to decarbonize the building, to retrofit that equipment, obviously we are aware of the latest technology and the efficiency of those new technologies and how they can be implemented in a building," Stephano said. "But all buildings are different in terms of location, in terms of leasing (and) occupancy.
“So everything is about looking at the asset.”