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Minto’s LEED portfolio tops 6,500 apartments

An Oakville, Ont. apartment is the latest Minto property to receive LEED certification by the Can...

IMAGE: 1235 Marlborough Court in Oakville is Minto's newest LEED Gold-certified apartment building. (Courtesy MInto)

1235 Marlborough Court in Oakville is Minto’s newest LEED Gold-certified apartment building. (Courtesy Minto)

An Oakville, Ont. apartment is the latest Minto property to receive LEED certification by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).

This third-party acknowledgment is “something that we’re very proud of,” said senior building performance specialist Joanna Jackson in an interview with SustainableBiz.

Minto’s purpose-built rental tower at 1235 Marlborough Court was completed two years ago and is designed with features that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also reducing waste and water consumption.

The 1235 Marlborough project was built on previously under-utilized space, said Jackson, and increases the density of Minto’s portfolio without having to expand into greenfield space.

The company broke ground on the property in June 2017 and tenants began moving in about a year later. The building, located in the College Park neighbourhood, stands 14 storeys and houses 144 units.

Features of 1235 Marlborough

Key features include distributed in-suite heating, cooling and ventilation; HRV filters fresh air from the outside directly into units, which is top-of-mind these days as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Programmable thermostats allow for enhanced, individual control of heating and cooling.

The building also features low VOC paints, sealants, and adhesives for improved indoor air quality; a certified flooring system for reduced VOC emissions; and air sealing between units and corridors to reduce sound and odour migration.

In terms of enhanced energy efficiency, the building has high-performance mechanical equipment, LED lighting and occupancy sensors, plus high-performance water fixtures and toilets to reduce consumption and water costs. The building also features individual utility metering.

A “great common area” serves the building’s student population since Sheridan College’s Trafalgar campus is next door along Trafalgar Road, just north of the QEW highway.

Nearly two years in, feedback has been positive so far.

“Everybody seemed quite happy with the amenities,” including the centralized air conditioning, she said.

Minto Apartments is an offering of the Minto Group—a fully integrated real estate company featuring new homes and condominium units, apartment rentals, furnished suites, commercial space, property and investment management.

The company manages multi-residential units and commercial space in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and London, Ont.

With this latest recognition (the LEED certification became official in June), Minto now has more than 6,500 LEED-certified residential units in Ontario. Most of these sustainable projects are in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Some of Minto’s other LEED buildings

Minto Roehampton was built in 2008 and has 148 units, plus LEED Gold certification. It’s located at 150 Roehampton Avenue, near Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue West in downtown Toronto.

There are 236 units at 620 Martin Grove Road in Etobicoke, which was built in 2013. It also has LEED Gold status.

A larger project in downtown Toronto is located in the Front Street and Bathurst Street area. It’s called 39 Niagara West and is currently in the LEED certification process.

With 500 units, “it’s a big footprint,” said Jackson, noting the entire complex nearly takes up a city block. There are two condos and two rental buildings that interconnect on a large, L-shaped site.

“It’s a really funky building to look at,” she said.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system is an internationally recognized verification program for sustainable building and energy performance.

Developed by the CaGBC’s U.S. counterpart, it focuses on key areas of human and environmental health including: location and transportation, sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

LEED certification “recognizes our commitment to sustainability, enhanced building performance and reduced environmental impact,” said Minto Communities vice-president of development Agnieszka Wloch in a news release.

Sustainability has many benefits

Achieving LEED certification gives confidence to residents and investors that a building meets high standards.

“It’s not just something we’re putting into brochures,” she said, noting Minto is an acknowledged industry leader in sustainability.

From an investment perspective, LEED buildings yield higher occupancy and rental rates, too, Jackson said. LEED-certified buildings are also more valuable assets due to reduced operating costs through the life cycle of the building.

Going forward, Minto is focusing on the Toronto Green Standard — sustainable design requirements for new private and city-owned developments.

There are four tiers of performance measures, with supporting guidelines promoting sustainable site and building design.

Tier 1 of the Toronto Green Standard is a mandatory requirement of the planning approval process, according to information posted on the city’s website, while financial incentives are offered through the Development Charge Refund Program for planning applications that meet higher-level voluntary standards in Tiers 2 to 4.

“We’re looking at opportunities to not just meet the base Toronto Green Standard Tier 1,” said Jackson. Aiming for Tier 2 and higher is crucial, she said, because those will eventually become the base standard.

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