Montreal’s iconic Place Ville Marie has become Canada’s largest property to be awarded a LEED Silver certification in the Existing Building: Operations & Maintenance category by the Canada Green Building Council.
The 616-foot tall, 3.4-million-square-foot complex in the heart of downtown Montreal is owned 100 per cent by Ivanhoé Cambridge. The company gained full ownership in 2013 when it acquired a 50-per cent interest in the building from clients of the Alberta Investment Management Corp. for more than $400 million.
More than $160 million has been invested in the complex over the past 10 years to qualify it for LEED Silver status. Certification criteria included: energy efficiency and air quality; water management and consumption; use of materials and re-use of surplus materials; the quality of interior spaces; and the ecological development of exterior sites.
“Place Ville Marie’s LEED Silver certification for existing buildings is a proud achievement for us,” said Claude Sirois, Ivanhoé Cambridge’s co-chief operating officer and executive vice-president for Quebec.
“Commitment to sustainable development and the environment”
“It confirms our commitment to sustainable development and the environment as core values for the company. As the LEED certification programs bring international recognition for sustainable building management, our certification at Place Ville Marie means that we are able to raise the quality of the environment we can offer to our tenants while achieving the highest energy efficiency standards.”
Place Ville Marie received a BOMA BESt level four certification (the highest designation a building can receive) from Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada for its environmental performance in 2013. It has been a member of Hydro Québec’s Energy Savers’ Circle since 2008.
Among the improvements made to the 53-year-old structure’s five buildings and one shopping centre — which houses 10,000 occupants, 2.42 million square feet of offices, 187,000 square feet dedicated to retail and 110,000 square feet of storage space — were:
• replacing chillers;
• replacing electrical transformers and motor-control centres;
• installing a new and more efficient exterior envelope (curtain wall) for 5 Place Ville Marie;
• modernizing cooling towers;
• replacing the envelope of the four lobbies of 1 Place Ville Marie;
• upgrading and/or replacing main ventilation systems;
• replacing the automation centre for all main operating systems;
• adding measurement instruments for various energy sources;
• adding lighting controls;
• and installing new and more efficient plumbing equipment.
150 corporate tenants
Place Ville Marie has 57 employees and another 130 people on site from sub-contractors catering to the needs of its 150 corporate tenants and the 365,000 visitors it receives every week.
More than 50 random analyses of indoor air quality are done every month throughout the complex, which has an air conditioning system that’s equivalent to 800 residential units.
A system is in place to closely monitor energy efficiency, consumption and costs. Lighting is provided by more than 95,000 energy-efficient bulbs.
An automated system monitors more than 32,000 control points in the structure and a preventive maintenance program includes more than 3,000 tasks.
Water consumption is monitored and water-efficient equipment has been installed throughout most of the complex. Rainwater is recovered and there’s an irrigation system for landscaped areas.
An impressive recycling program is in place, with 2013 data showing these quantities being recycled at Place Ville Marie:
• 521 tonnes of paper;
• 292 tonnes of cardboard;
• 139 tonnes of glass, plastic and aluminum;
• 230 tonnes of dry materials;
• 360 tonnes of organic materials;
• 943 kilograms of household batteries;
• 800 litres of paint;
• and 11,356 litres of water per minute in the outdoor esplanade fountain.
Place Ville Marie is a major transportation hub, as it’s directly linked to three subway stations, several bus routes, a bus terminal and the Central and Lucien-L’Allier train stations. It’s also the starting point for Montreal’s 33-kilometre underground pedestrian network.
Place Ville Marie has 930 parking spots for cars and features electric charging stations, a car-sharing program using Nissan Leaf electric vehicles and a free twinning program to promote carpooling. There’s also indoor space for 180 bicycles, and bikes can be loaned out under the Bixi corporate program. Sweaty cyclists can clean up in two locker rooms with showers before getting to their desks.
Ivanhoé Cambridge, a real estate subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, has assets held through multiple subsidiaries located mainly in Canada, the United States, Europe, Brazil and Asia that are valued at more than $40 billion. Its portfolio consists mainly of shopping centres, offices and multi-residential properties.