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QuadReal earns Fitwel award, continues retrofitting plan

QuadReal Property Group has been awarded the Industry Thought Leadership award for its commitment...

A rendering of the Post, a new development located in Vancouver’s Crosstown neighbourhood. (Courtesy, QuadReal)

QuadReal Property Group has been awarded the Industry Thought Leadership award for its commitment to driving research on the impact of buildings on human health and wellness.

“At QuadReal, our ongoing work with the Center for Active Design (CfAD) is an important part of our commitment to creating places that support the health and wellbeing of our tenants and residents,” said Sarah Clarke, senior vice president, office, operational excellence at QuadReal Property Group, in a statement about the awards.

“The partnership began with a focus on certifying our office properties through Fitwel and has since extended to encompass education and research.”

Held and operated by CfAD and created in partnership with the CDC, Fitwel is a third-party healthy building certification system. QuadReal was also among the first companies to certify its policies using Fitwel’s Viral Response Module.

The leadership awards ceremony, which recognizes companies enhancing human health, honoured QuadReal and many global real estate companies and technology firms for retrofitting buildings to create sustainable and healthy spaces.

In addition to receiving the Industry Thought Leadership award, QuadReal also took home the Fitwel Promise Award — given to the firm with the most benchmarked projects of all time — and received high scores for its Southcore Financial Centre in Toronto and World Exchange Plaza in Ottawa.

QuadReal heralded for build and design

Following a partnership between RBC Canadian Core Real Estate Fund and British Columbia Investment Management Corp. last September, QuadReal has been accelerating plans to develop energy- and water-efficient, low-carbon buildings.

As the company also looks to provide superior indoor air quality at its commercial properties to draw and retain occupants, QuadReal is leveraging environmentally sustainable technologies without compromising health and wellness.

“(We use) smart building technology assists in monitoring energy use as related to ventilation with the assistance of smart sensors, which can also assist with parameters such as comfort and humidity for a holistic approach to indoor environmental quality,” Nisha Agrawal, director of sustainability, told SustainableBiz in an email.

At the Southcore Financial Centre in Toronto, property management has teamed up with tenants to reduce the complex’s environmental resources through waste and recycling programs, energy-efficient technologies, water conservation, and green cleaning.

The World Exchange Plaza in Ottawa is undergoing a major renovation to modernize its retail and food court spaces and an outdoor plaza. The outdoor plaza is designed to bring people together through flexible and static seating and shaded landscaping.

Another example is the lobby at Commerce Court, a class-AAA office complex in Toronto. The property was refreshed with new furniture featuring seating designed for social interaction, locally made low-VOC (volatile organic compound) pieces and even moss structures to add greenery to a large space.

Building off Fitwel award and future projects 

Terraces and atriums are another way QuadReal incorporates sustainability into new developments.

At the Post in Vancouver, the commercial real estate group encourages occupants to access outdoor areas more often than they would in a traditional office building.

“Creating healthy buildings and communities is not only about design but also about how the space becomes part of the community’s fabric organically and authentically,” Agrawal wrote. “By engaging with community members regularly through various consultation projects and community activities, we can create spaces for people to work, shop and play that enhance the area and bring benefit to the community.”

She noted that adding amenities such as end-of-trip facilities for cyclists, including showers and lockers; multi-use sports courts and dog walking areas on the roof decks; and adding shaded outdoor areas with seating: will help support occupants’ health and wellness, including work-life balance.

QuadReal is planning future projects at Cloverdale Mall, Assembly Park, and Commerce Court — all located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

These projects will also have artist-focused components, which will encourage studio residences, special exhibitions, and interactive programming.

Cloverdale Mall is also a hub for ArtworxTO, the City of Toronto’s public art program.

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