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Montoni Group building aims for zero-carbon, LEED certifications

Montoni Group's Building J is preparing to be certified as a Zero-Carbon Building and LEED Silver by the Canada Green Building Council. (Courtesy Montoni Group)

Montoni Group, a Laval, Que.-based real estate developer and manager, is seeking to certify its latest building as a zero-carbon and energy efficient structure, illustrating the company’s progress in sustainability.

The company broke ground in mid-November for ‘Building J.’ It is a 300,000-square-foot industrial building in Laval set between Boulevard Saint-Martin and Autoroute 13. Building J is expected to be completed in May 2023.

Montoni Group is aiming to certify the building as a Zero-Carbon Building and LEED Silver by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).

Building J will join Montoni Group’s 20-million-square-foot portfolio of industrial, commercial, institutional and residential projects.

The company developed around 4.5-million-square-feet LEED-certified buildings and almost 2-million-square-feet of net-zero carbon buildings, according to David Paulozza, vice president of planning and development at Montoni Group.

Building J certification goals 

Paulozza said Montoni Group's intent is “setting the bar always high in our innovation and in terms of our sustainability.” Pursuing dual certification from the CaGBC for Building J is bringing the company one step closer to that level, he added.

“It’s the first time we’ve done a dual certification in terms of net-zero and LEED so I think that really sets the bar for an industrial asset class that wants to rent any part of that building. So that’s really unique in terms of this industry.”

To achieve Zero-Carbon Building certification from the CaGBC for design and performance, Building J must meet standards for factors like embodied carbon and operational carbon. The embodied carbon aspect requires careful consideration of building materials and techniques. Operational carbon means building operations must be energy efficient.

The Zero-Carbon Building certification requires a life-cycle analysis of the building materials, so Paulozza said it is “not really choosing one particular material,” but considering the overall envelope of the building and how the structure has an impact on the life cycle of the building.

Paulozza said Building J is set to exceed the standard for decreasing thermal energy by a minimum of 25 per cent. He said it is at 30 per cent, meaning it is “pushing higher than the actual minimum.”

Building J is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent through its choice of materials and efficient mechanical systems, and will halve energy costs for building operations.

Being certified as a LEED Silver building requires meeting standards for reducing water consumption, using low emissions materials and optimizing the performance of the building envelope.

The company’s focus for LEED is “comfort in terms of energy systems and the envelope.” This is achieved by reducing parking spaces, adding greenery and solar panels on the roof, Paulozza explained.

Montoni Group’s ESG push

The ambition for Building J corresponds to Montoni Group’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) push.

Building J continues the company’s leadership in sustainable buildings, Paulozza said. He referenced its membership in the CaGBC and completing over 50 projects with LEED certifications as proof it is “part of our DNA.”

The company published a 2022 ESG strategy document outlining its plan to increase the energy efficiency of existing buildings, aim for net-zero emissions with its new buildings, and carbon neutrality with its existing building stock.

Montoni Group set a goal of reaching carbon neutrality across Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by 2040.

In the next two years, Paulozza said Montoni Group will have 15 million square feet of LEED-certified and zero-carbon buildings.

He also noted the company  launched its first ESG program in mid-November to highlight its efforts with sustainability, LEED certification and its DISTINCTION by MONTONI program that complements other environmental initiatives.

Its ESG program encompasses the ESG sphere, from climate change with carbon neutrality at the heart of its projects and operations, broad environment consideration, talent and culture, as well as community and governance.

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