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.
Established in 1996, Toronto Commercial Real Estate Women (Toronto CREW) is group of key decision makers from some of the most influential corporations in Canada. Toronto CREW is committed to providing high-quality networking and leadership opportunities to assist in furthering the careers of each of its members.
During its 20th anniversary gala, hosted at one of Oxford’s office buildings, the lobby of 130 Adelaide W., awards were given out for the first time in 20 years for Excellence in Leadership, for Volunteer Engagement, and to a Rising Star.
The Excellence in Leadership award is given to someone with experience in the commercial real estate industry, stands out for her leadership qualities and achievements, and shows commitment to her career, the industry and community. The Rising Star award was given to someone who has worked in the commercial real estate industry for less than 10 years and whose initiatives in the industry stand out above all others.
Two of Oxford’s very own were awarded these prestigious awards:
Nancy Prenevost, Vice President, REM Legal, won the first ever Excellence in Leadership award. Nancy takes every opportunity she can to identify opportunities to promote women in the industry and to break down roadblocks in the industry that prevent women from advancing. Nancy is a true champion of Toronto CREW and the essence of what Toronto CREW was set up to accomplish.
Courtney Starr, General Manager at Canada Square, won the first ever Rising Star award. During her four years as a member of Toronto CREW, Courtney has been involved with the Programs Committee, and the Real Jobs Committee where she quickly moved from being a member to Vice Chair and now Chair. This past year, the Real Jobs Day hosted over 130 grade 11 and grade 12 female students for a fun and informative day focused on the various careers in the commercial real estate industry.
World-Class Energy Management
Through the leadership of energy professionals in Oxford’s head office, we’re taking energy management efforts in our office portfolio to another level. A strong foundation had been built through two successfully achieved corporate emissions/energy reduction targets, portfolio-wide real-time energy metering and recommissioning, and the integration of energy metrics into quarterly reporting. But there was still much more to do. In late 2013, the team successfully developed an “energy signature” for each Oxford office building showing how it performs in a range of temperatures throughout the year, and used this data to set a “predicted target” for each building. They then challenged each building to beat its best past performance to “Be the Best You Have Been”. Liviu Botan, National Manager, Energy and Technical Services at Oxford, notes, “Our office buildings are achieving incremental energy savings of an average of 6% as a result of operators now having visibility into their energy data and their building’s performance through daily targets.” And the team is not stopping there. They are well on their way to benchmarking each building at a system level (base, heating, cooling) and working with site teams to develop a custom, absolute (ekWh/ft2) target to “Be the Best You Can Be”.
Leading Change in Our Industry
We are proud of the many Oxford employees who actively contribute to organizations and initiatives focused on sustainability and real estate. In so doing, they help drive global thought leadership in this important area. Among their many affiliations, they are involved in the Canada Green Building Council and US Green Building Council, Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark, International Council of Shopping Centres, BOMA, Real Property Association of Canada, and Race to Reduce.
Oxford Head Office Steps Up for OxWalks
From June 4 to July 1, 2017, Oxford Head Office employees were getting their step counts up with the oxWalks Step Challenge.
Led by the Head Office Green Team Wellness Champions, 13 teams vied for the top prize of best overall increase for a team and for an individual. Over a four-week duration, teams set their baseline steps in Week 1, and had three weeks to achieve an increase in absolute steps and percent increase from their baseline.
The excitement could be felt by the chatter in the elevator, or in common area spaces where employees would ask each other how their oxWalks were going.
Impressive Key Stats:
142 total head office participants (24% participation)
15,234 average steps per week by all participants
41% average step increase over the first week baseline
The individual winner, Niddhi Signh, Contact Centre Solutions Anaylst, was motivatedby his friends and son as they would send step count updates after work to encourage one another to get to the next level on their step trackers. The challenge helped Niddhi to get back to the gym where he noticed considerable improvements over the four weeks, including a 206% increase over his baseline and an average of 79,671 steps above his baseline.
The team winner was Corporate Legal who averaged 233,219 steps a week and a 64% increase from their baseline week!
Tracking devices: A smart phone device can be used as a step tracker if you don't want to wear a FitBit or alternative. Many employees did not know that their phone was tracking their steps. Going forward, we would recommend that employees provide their own devices in the future as pedometers that were available for employees did not provide expected results. Even though the challenge is over, many employees still refer to their daily steps!
Teamwork: Many individuals joined as a team and really motivated each other. It was great to hear stories of lunch time walks, and creative ways steps were added throughout the days and nights of the challenge. The challenge was filled with excitement and positivity, fostering a friendly competitive environment.
Change in habits: The challenge duration was long enough to create new habits such as tracking daily steps, having walking meetings, or getting out more on weekends. Many employees have commented that the challenge provided them an excuse to get moving again and the motivation they needed. Scheduling the challenge through June was beneficial for this.
Leading Change in Our Industry
We are proud of the large number of Oxford employees who actively contribute to organizations and initiatives and drive global thought leadership in sustainability and real estate. Among their many affiliations, they are involved in the Canada Green Building Council, International Council of Shopping Centres, Global Reporting Initiative, Real Property Association of Canada, Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada, and Race to Reduce.
Joint Customer-Landlord Green Teams
Industrial Wins the BOMA National Earth Award
Utilizing Space to Increase Diversion
Collaborating with Our Contractors
Managed with Pride
Industrial Wins the BOMA National Earth Award
After a five-plus-year initiative to realize the benefits of sustainable operations, 9050 Airport Road achieved BOMA Best Gold certification, along with the Earth Award and National Earth Award. This is the first achievement of its kind in Oxford’s National Industrial Portfolio.
In order to achieve BOMA Best Gold certification, sustainability initiatives were implemented through policies and programs to effectively partner with tenants.
Through tenant engagement and building operations, the property achieved:
87% score rating for in-place emissions, effluents and pollution controls as well as good management practices for hazardous products and waste, health and safety
82% score rating on use and management of refrigerants and firefighting systems
Installed high efficiency lighting, including parking area and the exterior of the building
Implemented a waste diversion program showing the impact to our resources and savings – diversion rate achieved was more than 90%
Implemented a water reduction program with annual targets in place
Achieved savings through additional sub-metering equipment installed in various departments within the facility allowing for monitoring of consumption of electricity
Managed with Pride
“A Fresh Take on an Existing Process” Broken windows in buildings and office towers is a common occurrence. Sometimes it takes weeks or even months before a window can be replaced. Traditionally, broken glass is covered with plywood and often clunky clamps are used to keep it in place. This process usually takes a few hours and a piece of plywood covering a window is not a good thing to stare at either.
The Centennial Place team in Calgary came up with an idea to transform the ordinary white plywood into a world-class experience by using vinyl wrap instead of plywood. This eliminates the need for unsightly clamps, avoids damage to the windowsills, and the best part – it installs in minutes! And who doesn’t appreciate a lovely view of downtown Calgary?
The impact? We’ve transformed a negative experience into a positive one. Instead of tenants complaining about how long it’s taking to replace their window, they're having fun with their new office art.
Utilizing Space to Increase Diversion
Recognizing the importance of making recycling easy, Brampton Towers repurposed some newly liberated space to create well-located interior recycling rooms in 2017. Located within each of the four towers that make up the complex, these new facilities make it easier and more convenient for our residents to sort their garbage and recycling. Relocating the recycling area also created the added benefit of improving the curbside appeal of the property as all bins can now be stored out of sight.
The Boston office portfolio got off to a great start by establishing a joint landlord-customer green team. Consisting of about 20 members and with over 50% participation (based on tenant square footage), the green team provides a space for tenants to collaborate on dynamic environmental campaigns, share best practices, and design initiatives that are relevant, innovative, and have an impact on both comfort and energy efficiency.
Coupled with recycling facts and knowledge, and appropriate signage, residents find recycling easier than ever. We successfully kicked off the launch of these recycling rooms with an interactive resident event held in conjunction with the Certified Rental Board and the Region of Peel Waste Management team. The event was held in order to promote the new rooms and provide a means of educating our residents on the specifics of recycling in their buildings. The event included Oxford’s famous “Plinko” board to educate residents on waste streams, as well as a draw for Oxford gift cards for those who participated in the recycling games.
This initiative was recognized by the Certified Rental Building Program (CRBP) with an Environmental Excellence Award presented to our team by City Councillor Jeff Bowman.
Joint Customer-Landlord Green Teams
With tenant energy use representing an estimated one-third of a typical office building’s operations, it is important to engage in healthy dialogue around what tenants can do to help reduce energy consumption and costs. As a starting point in 2012, Oxford launched joint landlord-tenant green teams across its office portfolio. Green teams meet quarterly to focus on sustainability goals, best practices and challenges aimed at creating more sustainable workplaces. Green teams also align Oxford’s efforts with customers’ objectives and sustainability priorities.
Today, all of our directly managed office towers have formed their own customer-landlord green teams, representing hundreds of customers operating in 44 office buildings across Canada and the US. We have achieved an average 70% customer participation rate at green team meetings across the portfolio and an overall 90% customer satisfaction rating from members.
Meetings include discussions around energy benchmarking, management and reduction, materials and waste diversion, procurement, indoor environmental quality, comfort and wellbeing, and how all these factors relate to our greater community, buildings and individuals within.
The program engages organizations and their employees in meaningful initiatives that seek to align sustainable actions with business and operating objectives. An example of this is the highly popular Oxford Recycles program and game where properties work with customers to evolve their waste program through proper education and awareness, customized signage tailored to individual customer needs and spaces, a robust organics recycling program, and the introduction of various waste-specific programs such as paper towel and coffee capsule recycling. Office properties across Canada have increased their waste diversion rate from an average of 60% in 2012 to 72% in 2017 due to ongoing discourse and combined efforts.
Our goal is to build strategies with our green team members that create more sustainable workplaces. Together, we can reduce energy use, increase waste diversion, procure responsibly, and promote sustainability and wellbeing for our buildings and the people in them.
Collaborating with Our Contractors – A Day of Customer Service Excellence and Sustainability
In the fall of 2017, the Oxford team held a workshop with our key Contractor Leadership teams to help build a deeper understanding and commitment to our Customer Service Excellence and Sustainability efforts.
As a result, we were able to share expectations, build on existing relationships and develop new ones, discuss opportunities for innovation and leadership, and work toward a common goal of advancing our journeys in the areas of sustainability and customer service excellence. Feedback from the workshop was overwhelmingly positive, and the resulting sentiment to maintain a regular dialogue on the issues was clear.
Our Oxford Real Estate Management teams pride themselves on working together as one team. Extending this notion to our contractors only strengthens and improves our efforts. We are proud of the collaboration and look forward to building it into our improvement plans and performance.
Visiting Peru with Oxford’s Volunteer Sponsorship Program
What’s All the Buzz About?
2017 NXT City Prize
Creating Places Out of Spaces
Turning Corporate Waste into Change
What’s All the Buzz About?
Oxford was abuzz in 2017 as we welcomed our newest tenants at our office and retail properties in Toronto, Richmond Hill, Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver. Understanding the decline in bee populations, we recognized that our urban locations, rooftop availability and close proximity to parks and urban agriculture made a perfect home for the bees. Did you know that bees now have a better chance of thriving in our cities than in the country because of this?
Through the summer months, we launched our hives with customer engagement opportunities through lobby events including honey sampling and general information on the fascinating and complex world inside a hive.
The hives started with approximately 10,000 bees in the summer and grew to almost 50,000 (or more) at each property by the fall. We were able to produce over 150 kilograms of honey through our successful hives. We shared our first batch of “Oxford Honey” with our customers, who have grown to love our bees!
We plan to increase the number of hives and locations in 2018. Until then, let us keep buzzing…!
The 2017 NXT City Prize, presented for the third year in a row by Oxford, awards people under 35 for their big ideas to help inspire, create and activate Toronto’s public spaces. It also provides a platform to connect these young leaders with city builders to help bring these activations to life. The winners were announced on November 28th.
New this year were site specific categories for entries including: Wellington Destructor Site, the Liberty Market Galleria, The Bentway and Civic Tech. Winners received $5,000 in prize money to make their vision become reality.
This year’s prizes were awarded to:
Wellington Destructor Site – Global Seed Vault by Suzan Ibrahim and Richard Lam. The Global Seed Vault would contain, protect and preserve an extensive variety of seeds from around the world. The site would also be open to the public to enjoy the collection of plants.
Liberty Market Galleria – Liberty Lights by Daniel Watchorn, Yasmin Afshar, Christina Glass and Eunice Yong. Liberty Lights would create a bustling locale which both residents and visitors are drawn to. Light has the power to attract, invite, illuminate, shine, heal and make things new. By using light, the space can be transformed into a vibrant and dynamic beacon of Liberty Village.
Civic Tech – Public Space Permits by Lucas DeClavasio and Andrew Patterson, co-owners of local design agency Wysp Creative. Public Space Permits is a mobile app that allows people to reserve and pay for permits for Toronto’s public spaces all in one spot, thus reducing the long and tedious existing process.
Oxford is proud to partner again with NXT City, and help support tomorrow’s city builders, customers and partners.
Meanwhile, Oxford is making its own waves in connecting office workers to public space. Whether it’s our recent extension of the PATH to Toronto’s waterfront, or connecting the occupants of our office buildings to surrounding public spaces through health and wellness events, we too are helping to create what’s NXT for Toronto.
Visiting Peru with Oxford’s Volunteer Sponsorship Program
Through Oxford’s Volunteer Sponsorship Program, Meghan Kinney, Senior Manager, Leasing, had the opportunity to volunteer with an after school care program in the Oropesa District of Quispicanchi Province, Peru.
Meghan’s initial reaction upon landing included being both in awe and light-headed, with her resting heart rate near double as she adjusted to the shock of 11,200 feet. Due to flight delays, she missed the recommended day to adapt to her new surroundings and instead was picked up in a flurry of Spanish greetings and honking horns and taken to volunteer headquarters for an immediate program briefing.
After arriving to Picaflor House, Meghan’s worries about travelling to Peru vanished. Greeted by 60 children of all ages, she was pulled in many directions introducing herself to the children. Right away she went to work on preparing lunches for all the children with two Quechua speaking women in a rustic kitchen. Following lunch preparation, she worked with students to read books in Spanish and work on their word association skills. During her experience, she also taught English to the older students, music, art and chess.
Meghan reflects on her time in Oropesa with so much gratitude – for the selflessness it taught her, the creativity it has inspired, and for the new perspective on life.
Creating Places Out of Spaces
Utilizing over 25,000 square feet of pavement, Urban Oasis at Dix30, in Brossard, Quebec, was built in 2017 as a new gathering place to wander, enjoy the moment and partake in activities for all ages. The team at Dix30 thought out of the box and reinvented part of its Avenue des Lumières to increase connectivity between the Square and the Avenue des Lumières through a vibrant and immersive park. In collaboration with Projekroom, an open platform composed of artists, creatives and communicators, the temporary installation was created. The vibrant colour is designed to bring people together and even includes a basketball court, maze and giant game of checkers.
Echoing the high-trend ephemeral public place movement, the Urban Oasis acted as a powerful driver. The goals of the Oasis included: (1) creating a sense of place; (2) incorporating a retailer aspect through the use of local and community pop-ups; (3) providing weekend entertainment; and (4) bringing in activations focused on family activities.
The public flocked to this new venue, making it their own as they enjoyed play areas and amenities (on-site materials reused to create new park benches and chairs and retailer collaborations), open-air concerts, open-sky fitness, cultural and culinary initiatives, and more. More than 60 tenant activations occurred during the summer weekends including the relocation of lululemon’s in-store weekend classes to the Oasis. In addition, the Oasis was always buzzing with Boom FM’s Friday radio show, tai chi, giant games, a reading corner, and various public art attractions and live entertainment bringing crowds in the hundreds on every occasion. In early August, media reach averaged 7M impressions, 295K on Facebook and 205K on Instagram, along with highlights by influential voices. The Oasis also served as the backdrop for media interviews and morning news.
What started as a pilot project in 2017 will continue as a more permanent installation in 2018 and beyond.
Turning Corporate Waste into Change
In the fall of 2017, OMERS consolidated three offices, moving into a shared space within a newly constructed LEED Platinum building. As part of the transition, OMERS partnered with Green Standards and Herman Miller’s rePurpose program to recover usable resources to support 17 Toronto-based non-profits with renewed spaces that they would not have attained otherwise.
When a company empties or renovates an office space, much of the interior assets – supplies, appliances, computers – end up in landfill. This prematurely ends the life cycle of valuable resources and produces greenhouse gases over time. By working with our Circular Economy-inspired program, OMERS was able to repurpose valuable products with a 99% landfill diversion rate on 400+ tons of surplus items. The majority of items – including tables, desks, chairs, shelves, fridges and dishwashers – were either resold, recycled or donated, reducing costs while benefitting the environment and local community groups.
For office supplies, the plan also included donating any extra, unneeded office supplies to an organization in need. Employees were given large bins to collect the donations, which included paper, pens, pencils, markers, unused notepads, paper clips, binders and more.
We donated a total of 23 skids of supplies (approximately 1,500 boxes) to Arts Junktion, a depot for receiving and distributing donated materials and supplies free of charge to Toronto District School Board (TDSB) staff for use in schools, daycares and parenting centres. The purpose is to recycle material that can be used to enrich classroom projects, in-school creations, and visual arts classes, and to support students in the delivery of curriculum using creativity and innovation. We were pleased to have supported this great program while at the same time reducing our waste in the moving process.
Hoarding for Humanity Puts Waste to Good Use
At one time, temporary construction enclosures made of drywall (also known as hoarding) created a lot of waste at our shopping centres. Used to enclose storefronts undergoing renovations, the drywall was not typically re-used after its short useful life. To remedy the problem, Oxford became a leading partner of Hoarding for Humanity. Partnered with Habitat for Humanity Canada, Hoarding for Humanity puts hoarding to use in charitable community building projects.
Oxford has more participating properties and has donated more hoarding than anyone else in the program. To date, Scarborough Town Centre, Square One, Hillcrest Mall, Upper Canada Mall and Oxford Urban Properties have donated more than 113,000 square feet of hoarding. Laid end-to-end, these drywall sheets would reach the height of 16 CN Towers! That's a lot of waste diverted from landfill, and a win-win for all involved.