Toronto’s Telus House sets the standard for water conservation

When it comes to water conservation, Toronto’s Telus House at 25 York Street is a leader. The 30-storey office tower features state-of-the-art water conservation technology as well as a stringent water conservation policy.
The building includes a reclamation system for rainwater. The system collects and directs the rainwater to flushing fixtures up to the 10th floor and reuses it for irrigation. As well, the tower is equipped with low-flow fixtures throughout.
Annual water audits and monitoring keep an eye on the ongoing water consumption. Not surprisingly, the building’s water reduction rates are 22 per cent better than those of conventional buildings.
Telus House is just one of many office towers, retail centres, and residential buildings highlighted for their sustainable practices in the Building Owners and Managers Association’s (BOMA) new report.
The BOMA BESt (Building Environmental Standards) Energy and Environment Report 2013 analyzes and compares the data from buildings participating in BOMA’s certification process against national averages supplied from Natural Resources Canada.
Emphasizes continuous improvement
“The intent behind the BOMA BESt program is to emphasize continuous improvement,” said Hazel Sutton, manager of environmental standards for BOMA. “We hope to do that by providing buildings with a benchmarking process, so if they’ve never looked at how their building is performing on all of these different metrics, we’re providing them with the opportunity.”
The metrics include energy, water, transportation, waste, emissions and effluents, and indoor environment.
Benjamin Shinewald, BOMA Canada’s president and CEO, said several thousand buildings across Canada have gone through the certification program.
Certification is available for different classes of buildings, including office, multi-unit residential buildings, enclosed shopping centres, light industrial and open-air retail.
“The program really is an excellent way to minimize your environmental footprint, maximize your financial cost savings and be a good corporate citizen,” Shinewald said.
According to the report, which offered a number of recommendations, the average diversion of waste has dropped in comparison to 2011 levels despite high scores in waste management practices.

Telus House in Toronto
Increase tenant engagement
The report suggests building managers need to increase tenant engagement by setting higher targets for waste diversion and increasing the availability of composting.
It also said building owners and managers need to do more to reduce single car occupancy and associated carbon emissions. The report advises that adding shelters over bike racks, providing changing facilities for cyclists, and encouraging car-pooling would spur alternate forms of transportation.
The report also recommended sub-metering to help owners and managers better understand their building’s energy performance, and more site remediation with the planting of native species and the removal of more water-intensive landscape features.
The report contained plenty of good news. Key findings showed that BOMA BESt office buildings achieved a nine per cent reduction in energy costs at re-certification, and that the certified buildings showed a 16 per cent improvement in energy use intensity compared to the Natural Resources Canada national average.
BOMA BESt office buildings also avoided the emission of 160,240 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to removing 33,383 cars from the road for a year.
As well, the report noted that 45 per cent of the certified office buildings divert between 30 to 59 per cent of their waste from landfill, while a smaller percentage diverts between 60 to 90 per cent.
Environmental and financial incentives
Sutton said one of the most important things about the program is it shows environmental stewardship can be married with financial incentives.
“BOMA BESt buildings cost less to run because you’re spending less on energy, much less on water (and) on other environmental costs.”
The 2013 BOMA BESt report analyzed data from 455 buildings certified at levels 2, 3 and 4. The sample represented approximately 100 million square feet of Canadian commercial real estate.
Shinewald noted that in addition to the sectors the program already covers, BOMA is working on a module for healthcare. That would take into account such buildings as hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics and laboratories.
Shinewald said the report itself also boasted improvements this year, including a new executive summary, and is also more accessible.


Ann launched RENX in 2001 as a part-time venture and has grown the publication to become a primary source of online news for the Canadian real estate industry. Prior to…

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Ann launched RENX in 2001 as a part-time venture and has grown the publication to become a primary source of online news for the Canadian real estate industry. Prior to…

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