Recent News

Race, Reduce, Recognize: CivicAction’s Smart Energy Office Challenge Closes in on its 10% Collective Energy Reduction Goal

TORONTO, December 5, 2014 – CivicAction’s smart energy office challenge the Race to Reduce continues to gain momentum with landlords and tenants delivering a 7.9 per cent collective energy reduction over three years, up over 2 per cent from last year and just 2 per cent shy of the Race’s final four-year collective reduction goal of 10 per cent. The results – the equivalent of taking approximately 2,700 cars off the road and putting $7.6 million back into participants’ pockets over three years – were unveiled at CivicAction’s 2014 Race to Reduce Awards last night along with biggest energy savers and best collaborators.

“CivicAction’s Race to Reduce is one of the largest regional energy challenges in the world[1],” said Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO, CivicAction. “The numbers show the desire for action is there, and that if you give people the tools and motivation, they can drive real change in their own businesses and for the Toronto region.”

Technical rigour – a founding principle of the Race – has led to a restatement of previous years’ reported results, adjusted for unusual weather fluctuations. Restated results show steadily improving performance with collective energy savings of 1.7 per cent (2012), 5.4 per cent (2013), and 7.9 per cent (2014)[2]. This trend – of more than a 2 per cent increase each year – would take the Race past its 10 per cent goal in its fourth year.

The past year also saw an uptake in participation, with an increase of 11 per cent in the number of buildings registered in the Race – now representing over 69 million sq. ft. or over 42 per cent of the Toronto region’s office space.

“The Race is going from strength to strength as it enters its final year. More participants, more activity, and continued growth in collective savings,” said Brad Henderson, ‎Senior Managing Regional Director at CBRE Limited and Co-Chair of CivicAction’s Commercial Building Energy Leadership Council. “These results demonstrate the power of landlord-tenant collaboration and friendly competition, and put us close to declaring victory in the Race.”

The awards show the difference a high-performing building can make. One of the Greatest Energy Reduction winners decreased its energy use year-over-year by over 21 per cent, and all recipients in the Building Performance Award for Lowest Energy Use delivered an ENERGY STAR Score of 95 or more, an impressive 38+ points above the Canadian national average for commercial office buildings. (See below for award recipients).

“The Race is a win-win for the commercial office sector because it allows participants to do well by doing good,” said Roger Johnson, SVP Corporate Real Estate and Procurement, TD Bank Group and Co-Chair of CivicAction’s Commercial Building Energy Leadership Council. “Participants are reducing their carbon footprint and improving our air quality while reducing costs over the long-term.”

The awards recognize leading landlords and tenants for their energy reduction efforts and results, and reinforce the need for active and sustained efforts by the office sector. Gord Miller, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, set the stage for the awards with a keynote about the energy conservation challenge in Ontario.

“It’s critical to build consensus and a feeling of shared responsibility to reduce our carbon emissions,” said Commissioner Miller. “CivicAction’s Race to Reduce is a great example of the private sector coming together to make a measureable impact.”

2014 Performance and Collaboration Awards:

Earning the Team Excellence Awards for active and sustained landlord- tenant collaboration are the Town of Caledon, and Oxford Properties Group in partnership with RBC. (Click here for descriptions of the work that earned recipients the awards.)

Earning a Building Performance Award for Lowest Energy Use (2013 data):

lowest energy use

Earning a Building Performance for Greatest Energy Reduction (2013 vs. 2012):

greatest energy reduction

This year, 10 buildings received the Building Engagement Award for having over 80 per cent of tenant space registered in the Race within a building.

Find more information about CivicAction’s Race to Reduce and a full list of award winners here.

CivicAction would like to acknowledge our 2014 Race to Reduce Awards Premier Sponsor saveONenergy, Presenting Sponsor CBRE Limited, Supporting Sponsor Enbridge Gas Distribution, Contributing Sponsors Armstrong Fluid Technology and BOMA Toronto, Major Media Partner the National Post, Industry Media Partners Canadian Property Management and REMI Network, and Event Partner The Buildings Show. CivicAction is also grateful for the support provided to the Race to Reduce by program sponsors Enbridge Gas Distribution, Manulife Real Estate, Toronto Hydro, Union Gas, GWL Realty Advisors, Oxford Properties Group, TD Bank Group, MMM Group, and Stikeman Elliot LLP.

– 30 –

Our thanks to CNW Group for sponsoring this announcement.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Sarah Harris
Director, Communications
T (416) 309-4480 x 508
M (647) 267-4997

About CivicAction’s Race to Reduce: Launched in 2011, CivicAction’s Race to Reduce challenges Toronto region landlords and tenants in office buildings of all types, sizes and ages to work together to collectively reduce energy use in their buildings and to decrease the total energy use in participating office buildings by at least 10 per cent over four years. 195 buildings are registered in the Race to Reduce – over 69 million sq. ft. or over 42 per cent of the Toronto region’s office space. To learn about some initiatives Race participants have undertaken, click here.

About CivicAction: For over a decade, CivicAction has played the role of neutral sandbox, bringing together senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle challenges facing the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. We are in the business of building partnerships and taking action through campaigns, programs and organizations that transform our region. For more information, visit:, or follow us on Twitter @CivicActionGTA.


[1] Based on a global scan of energy reduction challenges

[2] Based on reporting years