Minto Developments is preparing to construct a new green office tower in Ottawa’s central business district. Minto Place Phase 3, a 19 storey, 365,000 sq. ft., Class A office building, will complete the existing Minto Place complex and is located at 180 Kent Street. The final design includes elements to support a LEED-Canada Gold certification.
Minto has adopted sustainability as part of its overall vision with its corporate message of "Thinking Green and Living Greener." Green building construction comes naturally to Minto according to Bill Campbell, Senior VP, Minto Commercial Inc.. “It has been a corporate philosophy since day one to do what is right for the customers and for future generations. We have been practicing environmental design for several years”.
In the multi-residential sector Minto is well known as a ”green” builder (Canada.com – January 2006). In Toronto, Radiance at MintoGardens will be the first Canada Green Building Council LEED certified multi-residential building while MidtownMinto and MintoRoehampton are currently candidates for LEED certification. Recently, Minto was awarded an Urban Development Award of Excellence for MintoYorkville, in part due to its commitment to environmental stewardship.
”When we saw building green working so well in multi-residential we were eager to proceed with a green commercial building” said Campbell. “Commercial tenants are becoming increasingly sophisticated when it comes to the costs of tenancy, in particular with respect to operating costs”. “Minto Commercial is incorporating features that mitigate the risks of rising energy costs and provide environmentally sensitive solutions for tenants. Green design elements used at 180 Kent will be adopted on other Minto Commercial properties in future.”
According to Andrew Pride, VP, Minto Energy Management, MintoUrban Communities, energy consumption at 180 Kent is expected to be 25% lower than a typical office building. “This translates into cost savings to the tenant of approximately $10,000 per floor per year or $190,000 annually for the building. While Minto is always concerned about cost savings, we embrace ways to enhance comfort and improve productivity for our building occupants” said Pride.
A green roof constructed 16 years ago on the second level Minto Place proves the value of the principles of green construction to building occupants and property owners alike. It is a relaxing place for tenants to enjoy the outdoors and also maintenance free for the property managers, (other than having to cut down some of the very healthy and fast growing trees from time to time!). According to Bill Campbell covering the roof with soil protects it from the destructive effects of solar radiation. This second storey green roof at the Minto Place Complex is to be extended to connect to 180 Kent Street and additional green space will be planted on top of the new building.
An innovative feature of the new 180 Kent is a fresh air monitoring and exchange system. Each floor in the building will be equipped with a carbon dioxide detector. Before carbon dioxide reaches unhealthy levels increased fresh air will be supplied to that part of the building.
Carbon dioxide accumulation in buildings is associated with mid-day fatigue for office workers and contributes to reduced productivity levels. Sick building syndrome is also identified with bad air quality. Andrew Pride indicated that while many existing buildings have air exchange systems that are not capable of delivering higher levels of fresh air, some newly constructed green buildings like 180 Kent are designed to rectify this all too common structural problem.
Minto has clearly committed to becoming a leader in sustainable building development and already counts three credited LEED professionals on its staff. According to Andrew Pride while the market may not be clamouring for green buildings now, people will be demanding them in the near future. Building green adds to the costs of construction making it important to make the green commitment early before major design decisions are made to keep incremental costs at a minimum.
Bill Campbell is convinced that 180 Kent's LEED Gold certification will place the facility first on the wish list of A Class tenants in Ottawa.
Final design for 180 Kent with renderings will be on display at the up and coming Green Building Conference to be held in Ottawa on April 10-11, 2006.
Andrew Pride and Bill Campbell are speakers at the Green Real Estate Forum.