Case Study: Cadillac-Fairview’s Yonge Corporate Centre (YCC)
Imagine living in a world where buildings use 20-30 per cent less gas and electricity than they did when they were first built, utility bills are substantially lower than before, and buildings have fewer associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Does this sound like a fantasy – too good to be true? Actually, this is a reality for several building owners right here in Ontario!
Commissioner Dianne Saxe and ECO staff recently toured one of Ontario’s best examples of a commercial building energy savings initiative: Cadillac Fairview’s Yonge Corporate Centre (YCC), an office complex of three adjacent buildings located in north Toronto. These 30-year-old buildings are achieving Energy Star scores and energy use intensities that would be the envy of almost all new buildings built today.
Since 2010, the YCC has reduced its energy use by about 25 per cent across all 3 of its office buildings. These savings resulted from a number of energy-savings initiatives undertaken over several years. This modernization program was guided by energy consultants and partly supported by utility-funded conservation programs. In addition to substantial utility bill savings, Cadillac Fairview’s experience shows that improved building energy efficiency results in:
- tenants that are happier and more loyal,
- building operations having more pride in their work,
- the community having better air quality (due to less natural gas use for heating and for peak electricity supply),
- the province having a bit less pressure to import natural gas or invest in new electricity assets, and
- Ontario’s share of GHG emissions being slightly reduced.
What was the key to their success? Data! Energy data helped to identify the best opportunities for savings and ensured that equipment is performing optimally. An integrated team made of up service providers, utilities, energy consultants and building operators used the data as a starting point to developing energy efficiency changes. Many low-cost operational changes were identified that saved substantial energy without capital investments.
In addition, as a result of sub-metering each floor of their buildings separately, the Yonge Corporate Center was able to identify which floors were using more or less electricity, and occupants that reduced their power use were celebrated (with ice cream!).
Strategic retrofits also played a key part in their energy savings. They replaced the lighting in all of their buildings, swapping out two older lamps in each fixture for one newer, more efficient one. When it came time to replace their boiler, the integrated team came up with an innovative solution. They retrofitted their old boiler instead of replacing it. This saved money while achieving the same efficiency.
The YCC shows us that “best in class” energy performance is not reserved only for the fanciest and newest designs; it’s within reach for almost all of Ontario’s buildings, if we’re ready and willing to look for it.
To learn more about:
1) the potential for substantial energy conservation in Ontario’s broader public sector buildings, and
2) the importance of data for energy efficiency retrofits,
check out Chapter 4 of our 2015/2016 Energy Conservation Report Conservation: Let’s Get Serious.