Lemay, a Montreal-based architecture and design firm, has acquired Fusion Énergie Inc. to push “one more step forward to support decarbonization for existing buildings,” according to Lemay's sustainability chief.
“We really believe that this is the future of the practice,” Loïc Angot, Lemay’s sustainability practice leader, said about Fusion Énergie’s building management systems in an interview with Sustainable Biz Canada.
The family-owned architectural firm, founded in 1957, is one of Quebec’s largest at 400 employees.
Fusion Énergie, founded by its president Daniel Sarrazin in 1994, is a Laval-based building management systems integrator that optimizes the mechanical equipment used in residential towers, seniors living, commercial buildings and hotels.
“Our vision is to control 100 per cent of the equipment that consumes energy and then do management of peak demand,” Sarrazin told Sustainable Biz Canada in an interview.
The sustainability focus for Lemay
Lemay began to concentrate on sustainable buildings in the early 2000s, Angot said, and formed a sustainability team in 2015.
The team's first major project was designing Lemay’s Montreal headquarters dubbed The Phenix. The firm had a vision to create a building that is net-positive energy to benefit both the environment and the health and wellness of its employees, while reducing embodied and operational carbon.
Lemay’s president was told such an endeavour was “impossible,” at the time, according to Angot, but the sustainability team was not deterred.
In 2019, The Phenix opened and secured certifications including Zero Carbon Building – Performance by the Canada Green Building Council and LEED Platinum. The accolades were earned by designing an efficient envelope, smaller mechanical systems, installing 200 roof-mounted solar panels, and the inclusion of an energy storage system, Angot said.
Fusion Énergie’s offering
Fusion Énergie is the developer of a real-time automated system that manages building energy by optimizing mechanical systems and forecasting energy needs to manage expected demand.
Angot said the integration of Fusion Énergie's systems into a building can result in annual energy savings of 20 to 50 per cent, which also saves a substantial amount on energy bills and carbon emissions.
The company’s system manages 300 buildings simultaneously and alerts technicians about problems so they can be addressed.
Fusion Énergie’s works with École de technologie supérieure and Polytechnique Montréal universities to develop the technology through research, internships and collaborations.
The company also helped the electrification of a seniors home in Quebec by adding an electrical water heater and incorporating its system that analyzes when to use electricity rather than natural gas. It reduced 100 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from the 850-room building and cut natural gas consumption by 62 per cent.
Acquiring Fusion Énergie
After completing The Phenix, Lemay searched for ways it could accelerate its sustainability efforts, Angot said. While Lemay was proficient in designing sustainable buildings, it had no way to control a building's energy use or carbon emissions.
Fusion Énergie gives the firm that dual capability - to be involved in both design and operations. “They have the track record of managing and saving energy, so there was an alignment on values and vision that makes it very interesting for us,” Angot added.
Incorporating Fusion Énergie's capabilities into Lemay will result in an integrated offering that will close the loop on building decarbonization requirements, he continued.
He declined to disclose the value of the acquisition.
As part of the acquisition, more staff will be hired to help grow Fusion Énergie’s offering outside of Quebec. Sarrazin named downtown Toronto and New York City as strong potential markets because there is significant energy savings potential.
In 2024, Angot said Lemay will be working with Fusion to continue developing its product and markets.