Sustainability at the core of Sony Center, Berlin
In 2017, Oxford acquired Sony Center, a 1.2 million square foot best-in-class mixed-use complex in Berlin, making way for significant opportunity to contribute to the local environment and community in an impactful way.
The Sony Center was one of the first projects in Germany awarded with the “DGNB certificate Stadtquartier in GOLD” (2013). DGNB is an established certification scheme in Germany, known for providing an assessment based on a building’s entire life cycle. The accolade means Sony Center meets the highest quality criteria for ecological, economic and socio-cultural construction.
The complex is also a keen supporter of WWF’s Earth Hour event for raising climate change awareness globally and has taken part continuously since 2007. The 2018 campaign was no exception and saw the Sony Center switch off the complete façade and Forum roof lighting in the outdoor area as a visual display of our commitment to sustainability.
A few notable initiatives that impact our environment and the bottom line:
- Replacing the lights of the emblematic Forum roof structure with LED lighting
- Achieving a reduction of 20 hours/day (from 24 to 4 hours/day) runtime for the cooling systems across all eight buildings
- Introducing a rain water capture system for irrigation of all outdoor areas as well as grey water re-use for WC flushing in the 247,000 square foot Bahn Tower
- Installing electric vehicle charging stations in 2016 with further installations planned for 2018
- Building up a strong pedestrian, public transport and bike infrastructure including dedicated bike lanes and over 340 cycle racks across the complex
As a result of these initiatives, the Sony Center is well positioned to continue its sustainability journey with the implementation of Oxford’s new Sustainability 2.0 Targets throughout 2018 and beyond.
The Sun Shines at Yorkdale
When the sun shines, the meter rolls at Yorkdale!
In the summer of 2017, Oxford successfully installed 600 electricity generating solar panels on the east expansion rooftop of Yorkdale Shopping Centre. The rooftop solar panels cover approximately 20,000 square feet and generate over 230,000 kWh of clean electricity per year – equivalent to three months of interior and exterior lighting at Yorkdale. This makes for the first large-scale solar project at Oxford, building on a decade of sustainability leadership.
Solar is a well-established technology that can be safely and professionally installed on our rooftops. We continue to explore rooftop solar opportunities where it makes good business sense. In fact, as part of our new S2.0 targets, we have committed to develop 1,000,000 square feet of rooftop solar by 2022 across our Canadian retail and industrial portfolio and to pilot a rooftop solar project in our US office portfolio.
SMART Systems and Innovation
We are investing in and researching SMART and Connected technology to help us operate our facilities more efficiently, and provide an enhanced experience for our customers.
What do we mean by SMART and Connected?
Our Fault Detection and Diagnostics platform (or as we’ve termed it, Opportunity Detection) is in a nutshell, a software that enables our teams to perform continuous commissioning. We started the initial deployment across seven properties in 2017, and the plan is to deploy to the entire portfolio over the next couple of years.
What does it do?
The platform pulls data from our building systems (building automation, lighting, metering) and alerts us to opportunities that when acted upon, save energy, improve comfort, and reduce operating costs. Opportunities are generated via analytics within the software (a library of logic and rules). Opportunities generally fit into two categories: break/fix items (e.g., fixing non-functioning equipment and controls) and optimization items (e.g., changing the sequence of operation, or control strategy of a system).
Is it working?
Since implementation, we’ve seen less than a two-year payback for the software. Beyond financial savings, there are numerous other benefits as well, including comfort improvement, increased energy performance, hands-on training opportunity for our teams, and overall increased engagement of our operations staff.
WELL by Design (and Certified Too!)
MNP Tower (Vancouver) was the first new building in Canada to become certified WELL Core & Shell. The WELL Standard puts an emphasis on the health and wellness of occupants, focusing on the people who work in a building, and how the building can enhance overall experience. Given that we spend 90% of our time indoors (and over half our waking hours in the office), many believe that promoting a healthy environment at the office can have substantial health and productivity benefits.
The WELL Standard aligned with our design objectives at MNP Tower. After a year of occupancy, MNP Tower became WELL certified Gold for Core & Shell. The certification is a detailed and rigorous standard that stretches beyond design and requires on-site performance testing. Project features from MNP Tower include: higher levels of natural light and indoor air quality testing; the installation of MERV 13 and carbon filters throughout the building; secure bicycle storage, shower facilities, and a state-of-the-art fitness facility; access to stairwells to encourage regular use from customers; cutting down exterior noise intrusion and biophilic design. The latter recognizes humans’ psychological need to be around nature and incorporates natural elements into the design of indoor environments to enhance relaxation and increase productivity.
The certification proved to be a valuable exercise to further activate our commitment to health and wellness and encourage our investment in world-class wellbeing amenities for our customers.
We’re seeing certifications like WELL and LEED work together to paint a comprehensive picture of what it means to be a sustainable organization with great workspaces.
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. Management was also 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 through 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 this program, our diversion rate improved from about 75% in 2015 to about 86% in 2016. Centennial Place proudly achieved a 92% diversion rate in 2017. The hard work and dedication of the Centennial Place team shone through at the recent 2017 Recycling Council of Alberta Conference in mid-October where the team won the Corporate Leadership Award for their recycling efforts.
Implementing Sustainability in Our Food Courts
Our Oxford Property management teams continue to innovate and find ways to reduce waste and enhance the customer experience at our food courts across the retail and office portfolio.
In an effort to elevate the food court dining experience and address environmental concerns, a number of our shopping centres, such as Square One, Yorkdale Mall, and Les Promenades Gatineau, 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.
Other properties in our office portfolio such as 1250 René-Lévesque in Montreal, WaterPark Place in Toronto, Edmonton City Centre in Edmonton, and Centennial Place in Calgary, engaged with their cleaning staff and waste service provider to develop customized sorting systems both in the back-of-house and in the food courts to properly dispose of waste in order to increase diversion from landfill.
Evolving our waste management programs and coming up with solutions to reduce waste in our food courts is a top priority for our organization. We are proud to see the creativity and hard work of the management teams in this area.
Lake Louise Shines Emerald
Located in the heart of Banff National Park, Alberta, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (FCLL) understands its responsibility to environmental stewardship and responsible tourism. The hotel has implemented a number of environmental initiatives to preserve the pristine natural environment in which it’s located. The hotel has implemented the following:
- Waste management – The hotel has a paper reduction program, recycles used kitchen grease into biodiesel and, to close the loop, uses a minimum of 30% recycled content paper in all offices. The hotel works with the Clean the World program, which processes and distributes amenities to homeless shelters, senior citizens and struggling families throughout Canada. Water dispensers are also installed throughout the hotel to encourage the use of reusable water bottles.
- Water management – Water efficient fixtures such as aerators, toilets and shower heads have been installed in guest rooms, public areas and staff accommodations. Water meters are also installed throughout the hotel. Surface water quality samples are also collected from Lake Louise and Louise Creek on an annual basis.
- Energy management – 50% of electricity is purchased from green sources, while also providing on-site EV Chargers for hotel guests. The hotel is also working towards 100% LED with approximately 80% of the hotel already retrofitted to LED. Other initiatives include motion sensors in areas of the hotel.
- Employee engagement – Sustainability is embedded into employee orientation and a Sustainability Committee is in place where at least one representative from each department is included to brainstorm sustainable best practices for the hotel. Employees also participate in events such as the Shoreline Clean-Ups. A Sustainability Star Award is also given on a monthly basis to staff that have shown commitment to sustainability.
- Guest engagement – The guest experience is elevated through participation in the sustainability program at the hotel. The hotel regularly hosts events to promote environmental stewardship, such as Earth Hour and Earth Day events which feature a lights-off, candle-lit dinner accompanied with a sustainable food menu in the restaurant and themed cocktails, as well as fireside stories for children. The resort activities are focused around nature and the outdoors, while embracing the natural built environment and respecting the landscape. More recently, the hotel has made drink straws only available upon request to further cut down on plastic waste, and has introduced compostable straws when they are requested.
Through these initiatives, the FCLL has proudly diverted 378 tons of waste and 3.2 tons of mattresses from landfill since their inception. Water consumption has also decreased by 40% since 1995 to date, and energy consumption has decreased by 4% since 2015 to date. While the average annual occupancy has been increasing, the water and energy consumption have been steadily decreasing in the last two years, which speaks to the initiatives above.
These initiatives led to receiving the Emerald Award in the Sustainability Program (large business category) sector in 2017, awarded by the Alberta Emerald Award Foundation. Recognizing corporate environmental awareness in Alberta, the Foundation acknowledged FCLL for its creative thinking and innovation in the Sustainability Program sector. In addition to the Emerald Award, FCLL was awarded a rating of 5 Green Keys from the Hotel Association of Canada’s Green Key Eco-Rating Program in 2005 and 2016. It was the first hotel in Canada to receive the designation.
VIDEO: Learn more about Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise’s environmental program.
Read more about Environmental Stewardship at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.