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BGO finishes Ontario’s first all-electric, net-zero spec industrial building

Features are estimated to cut over 2,000 tons of CO2 in the first 10 years

The Fifth Line Business Park will host Ontario's first all-electric, net-zero speculative industrial building. (Courtesy BentallGreenOak)
The Fifth Line Business Park will host Ontario's first all-electric, net-zero speculative industrial building. (Courtesy BentallGreenOak)

BentallGreenOak (BGO) has completed construction on Ontario’s first all-electric, net-zero carbon speculative industrial building in Milton, Ont.

Located at 6750 Fifth Line, the 234,061-square-foot property is one of four buildings at the Fifth Line Business Park owned by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. BGO, headquartered in Miami, is a real estate investment firm owned by Canadian company Sun Life Financial Inc.

Its key features are an all-electric HVAC, a 500-kilowatt rooftop solar array and an efficient building envelope. The energy and carbon savings and the rooftop solar array are projected to cut annual operating costs in the first year by 59 per cent, compared to a traditional new construction building.

The building has already received the Canada Green Building Council’s Zero Carbon Building - Design certification, and is targeting the Zero Carbon Building - Performance certification.

“We continue to move intentionally and steadfastly towards meeting our net-zero carbon goal by 2050 by taking demonstrable action today and delivering the first net-zero carbon speculative industrial building to Ontario,” Ross Strowger, managing partner at BGO, said in a release.

“This move-in-ready building combines outstanding spatial and locational attributes with an operationally net-zero carbon footprint on Day 1 to help tenants with a sustainability focus immediately meet their net-zero goals too.”

Net-zero features

The building’s electric HVAC system is 200 per cent to 300 per cent more efficient than the standard, according to BGO. Its rooftop solar array will negate 100 per cent of its annual greenhouse gas emissions, and the envelope is designed to reduce air leakage.

Altogether, the all-electric building is projected to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 2,151 tons in the first 10 years – equal to removing 468 cars from the road, BGO said.

The other three buildings at the Fifth Line Business Park are built to be net-zero carbon ready, the company added, planned for the same kind of building envelope and possibility of incorporating rooftop solar panels.

“Greener, more energy-efficient buildings are highly sought after, and this project is a first-hand example of how Sun Life’s commitment to net zero is delivering real-world emissions reductions while meeting our investment objectives,” Randy Brown, Sun Life’s chief investment officer, said in the release.  

BGO’s climate goals

The all-electric building on 6750 Fifth Line represents a part of BGO’s effort to be a net-zero company by 2050.

BGO’s climate strategy hinges on three pillars: energy efficiency and electrification, renewable energy, and carbon offsets for no more than 10 per cent of its emissions.

Its interim 2030 target for its core North American strategies and select separate accounts as outlined in its 2023 ESG report are:

  • a 72 per cent reduction in BGO’s Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions intensity;
  • a 50 per cent reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of its residential investments; and
  • a 57 per cent reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of its commercial investments.

BGO reports making a 20 per cent reduction in its Scope 3 emissions since 2019.

The company’s progress on its climate efforts earned it recognition by GRESB, giving two of its investment strategies five-star ratings in 2023. The funds are in the top 20 per cent of the global ESG benchmark for real estate investments, BGO said.

A neighbouring building in Milton that is designed with sustainability in mind is an industrial warehouse development project that achieved the LEED Building Design and Core certification. BGO projects it will use 27 per cent less energy than a standard building, and its construction diverted 84 per cent of construction waste from landfills.

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