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A race against energy consumption

Written by Rebecca Melnyk
Published in The Remi Network – Canadian Property Management

Over the past four years, about 69 million square feet of Toronto’s office stock participated in an ambitious challenge to lower energy usage in buildings. CivicAction’s Race to Reduce united landlords and tenants in collaborative sustainable initiatives in an effort to meet a minimum reduction target of 10 per cent. All races must eventually come to an end, with accomplishments and challenges along the way, but this race inspired partakers to keep moving towards long-term sustainable goals.

At the time of the Race to Reduce launch in 2011, the focus on collaboration between landlord and tenant was still in its infancy, says Steven Sorensen, vice-president of operations for Cadillac Fairview’s Toronto office portfolio and chair of the original working group that established the race.

“There wasn’t a great deal of success amongst the landlords in our industry in reaching out to tenants to try to collaborate on identifying and acting on energy savings opportunities,” he notes.

However, he adds, the race proved to be a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness and encourage partnership through a friendly competition and, ultimately, to encourage landlords to team up with larger clients and reduce their environmental footprint. Overall, out of the 196 buildings that registered, 64 per cent achieved more than a 10 per cent energy decrease, with a collective reduction of amounting to 12.1 per cent—equal to 193 million equivalent kilowatt hours (ekWh), and a $13.7 million savings overall.

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