Oxford First to Pilot CRBP Living Green Together Standards
In December 2016, Oxford’s Greater Toronto Area (GTA) multi-residential managed portfolio, made up of seven complexes and over 3,000 units, was the first property manager to successfully achieve the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario’s Certified Rental Building Program (CRBP) Living GREEN Together™ Program Standards requirements.
Developed by the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO), the CRBP provides rental housing customers with quality assurance that their property is well-managed and environmentally responsible. The Living GREEN Together™ Program Standards are now a part of the CRBP quality assurance commitment and include 10 new environmental standards of practice.
The Standards focus on ensuring proper environmental management policies, such as purchasing, waste management, energy efficient operations and resident engagement. Over the past few years, the residential properties have installed and implemented low flush toilets, low flow faucets, LED lighting, low VOC paints and green cleaning which met compliance to the Standards. Additionally, these Standards are in line with Oxford’s Residential Operations Standards, making it an important and obvious choice to complete the program. Together with our residential customers we can make a difference for a healthier environment and place to live.
The CRBP Living Green Together Building Environmental Audit is a two-part process. The first part of the audit reviews and verifies head office/centralized documentation and practices that support the implementation of the Standards of Practice. The on-site portion of the environmental audit process is intended to verify through investigation, observation, discussion with staff and a review of documentation that the Living Green Together Environmental Standards of Practice have been implemented and that CRBP approved buildings are in compliance with the requirements of the Standards.
Oxford is proud to be the first to pilot the Environmental Audit two-part process and recognize the multi-residential buildings for their efforts related to energy efficiency, waste management, water conservation and other environmental initiatives.
EV Chargers at Oxford’s Buildings
On February 10, 2016, Ontario’s Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the new Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Program as part of the province’s Climate Change Strategy. At Oxford, we are proud that our elected leaders thoughtfully chose to partner with Oxford and determined WaterPark Place as the most fitting building in the City of Toronto for such an announcement. In the last five years, Oxford has installed over 90 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across our Canadian assets, demonstrating a natural extension of Oxford’s commitments and beliefs: a commitment to leadership in sustainability and customer service; and the belief that we can thrive in our environment, while our environment thrives.
LEED Platinum C&S at RBC WaterPark Place
At the core of our sustainability approach for our office portfolio is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). One of Oxford's newest development projects, RBC WaterPark Place, was designed and built to achieve the title of Toronto's first LEED Core and Shell Platinum office building.
The 980,000 square foot, 30-storey office tower located in the heart of downtown Toronto represents an integral part of Toronto's waterfront revitalization. It provides unique access to a revitalized Queen’s Quay and is closely connected to the PATH network, Union Station and other key areas within the downtown fabric.
To meet its Platinum status, the building was designed to achieve a 51% energy savings and 36% indoor potable water savings. Further energy efficiency measures included:
- Dual duct ventilation with 100% outdoor air;
- Dedicated outdoor air delivery system with heat recovery;
- Building Automation System to control mechanical and electrical systems;
- Low lighting power density (1 W/sf) with LEDs in office spaces, as well as occupancy sensors on approximately 80% of lighting fixtures and continuously dimming day lighting sensors for 90% of fixtures in the perimeter zone;
- Connection to Enwave’s Deep Lake Water Cooling system; and
- Roller blinds integrated into the window system allowing more natural light in when open and keeping heat and light out when closed.
The building features 750 m2 of green roofs, public transportation access for clear alternatives for commuting that are knit into the infrastructure of the city, 14 electric vehicle charging stations, extensive bicycle storage infrastructure, bird-friendly glass, rainwater harvesting for irrigation, and a tenant engagement program.
In 2016, the building achieved an Energy Star score of 100 – a distinction that has never been achieved in an office building of this size in Canada – and an unheard-of energy performance – 12 equivalent kilowatt hours per square foot. This makes the building the most energy efficient large office building in Ontario.
Is 90% Diversion Possible?
Centennial Place, located in Calgary, always had a comprehensive waste program that included single stream recycling, organics, coffee K-cups, e-waste, batteries, cigarette butts, wooden pallets, glass and light bulbs. Despite being able to recycle almost all waste produced in an office tower, its diversion rate had plateaued at 75%.
In 2016, Centennial Place completely revamped its waste and recycling program. It purchased a scale for the loading dock and had the cleaners label each bag of garbage, organics and recycling with the area in which it was produced. The cleaners weighed each bag and entered the data into a spread sheet so that a diversion rate could be calculated by floor.
The cleaners opened and sorted all bags of garbage, organics and recycling. On average they diverted about 66% of the garbage (by weight) back into the recycling or organics streams. As a result, the property has gone from emptying its garbage compactor once every month to once every three months. The compactor does not smell since all the organics have already been removed. As well, management was able to measure the effect of improved marketing on the food court waste receptacles, which increased the food court diversion from about 15% to just under 50%.
The data from this program is being used to produce a tenant scorecard, issued to the tenants on a quarterly basis. Tenants are celebrated quarterly with a trophy, and the annual winners with a floor-wide celebration. The tenant scorecard is discussed in all Client Relations Meetings to help tenants understand what they are doing well, and where to best focus their efforts to improve their recycling score. As a result of a poor recycling score on a quarterly scorecard, one of Centennial Place’s largest tenants has put together a focus group and is working with us to improve its diversion rate from about 65% to their goal of 80%.
As a result of this program, our diversion rate improved from about 75% in 2015 to about 86% in 2016. Based on the last half of 2016, we are anticipating that the diversion rate in 2017 will be over 90%.
LEED Gold and Beyond
At Oxford, we are no strangers to achieving the highest industry standards when it comes to green buildings. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the internationally recognized certification system, is at the core of our sustainability approach for our office portfolio. We are enhancing the quality of our buildings – currently 70% of our office buildings are LEED certified and we are targeting 80% by the end of 2016.
Attaining LEED certification means enhanced energy efficiency, increased comfort and indoor air quality, and responsible resource and waste management. It also means taking a holistic approach to sustainability, one that encompasses the well-being of our tenants – creating healthy workplaces to help employees perform at their optimum levels, while reducing our environmental footprint.
Oxford has worked to achieve LEED for Existing Buildings, New Construction, Core and Shell, and even Commercial Interiors. We strive for low-cost measures and capital investments with quick paybacks and returns. Pushing the limits to go the extra distance for Gold and, more commonly now, Platinum makes financial and environmental sense – keeping our assets competitive and exceeding the expectations of our customers, stakeholders and communities.
Common LEED features for our buildings:
- Energy Star scores between 80 and 97
- Fine-tuned operation of building systems to achieve industry-leading energy efficiency
- Comprehensive green cleaning programs
- Water efficient washroom fixtures and cooling tower water management
- Active engagement of tenants to understand and contribute to green building initiatives
Implementing Sustainability in Our Shopping Centres
Our shopping centres continue to innovate and find ways to reduce their waste, whether it’s through our food courts or internal practices.
In an effort to elevate the food court dining experience and address environmental concerns, Food Central at Square One shopping centre and Dine on 3 at Yorkdale shopping centre have made a commitment to eliminate disposable dishes and cutlery, in favour of custom-designed dishware. There are no garbage bins. Customers bring their trays to a station where staff sorts the waste. The scullery service decreases waste by over 60% and reduces water usage through grey water recirculation and an energy efficient dishwashing system.
In terms of our internal practices, Les Promenades Gatineau recently transitioned to a paperless memo platform for all communications with its retailers. All memos are stored on Oxford’s intranet page for quick reference for our tenants, eliminating the need to print individual memos for each retailer.
Our Hillcrest Mall management team has also reduced their use of printed paper by reviewing tenant construction drawings digitally rather than on printed paper, promoting paperless rent payments from tenants and opting for electronic billing from vendors where available.
We are taking steps – large and small – to reduce waste at our shopping centres.