Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Bentall LP Applies State-of-the-Art Technology and Best Practices to Green Properties in Canada

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Bentall LP Applies State-of-the-Art Technology and Best Practices to Green Properties in Canada

Article excerpt

Sustainable property management is currently at the forefront of industry thinking in Canada. The move toward more energy-efficient buildings has presented my organization, Bentall LP, with an opportunity to not only reduce energy costs, but to evaluate the very criteria by which we measure the value of an asset. This progression in thinking represents the natural evolution in responsible property investing (RPI).

As a real estate advisory and services organization, we view the tenets of RPI as a framework to assess risks, identify opportunities, deploy continuous improvement thinking into our practices and operations, and create long-term value for our clients and their assets. This view, along with the many questions we receive from clients, tenants and colleagues, such as, "How do you measure sustainability?" and "What is attainability worth in dollars, in energy, in preservation of the asset and in reputation?" have continually shaped our green efforts since we began evaluating properties in 2006.

(establishing a baseline)

In order to answer the questions above, we had to prove that lower utility costs realized through energy-efficient programs, tools and technology, operational best practices and social responsibility initiatives, in combination with a well designed and well located building, offer a competitive leasing advantage.

We developed and deployed Eco-Tracker, our online utility, waste and GHG tracking system for streamlining our assessment, measurement and reporting practices. Through this technology we are able to get real-time views of energy performance at properties. Eco-Tracker analyzes and compares the performance of our properties with other buildings, and benchmarks against performance averages over multiple years. Reporting can be consolidated at regional, portfolio and client levels.

When it comes to benchmarking sustainable building initiatives, we know we're not alone. The Canadian federal government has dedicated funds and resources to greening the government, including the pursuit of sustainable and efficient buildings. Currently, the government is assessing buildings under BOMA Canada's Building Environmental Standards (BESt), a certification program with standards for energy and environmental performance based on independently verified information. It is also renovating the Canada Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and updating the Model National Energy Code for Buildings, a benchmarking, labeling and rating system aimed at creating parity and standardization in assessment criteria.

Establishing a baseline through benchmarking, measuring, monitoring and reporting are paramount to enabling detailed evaluation, thoughtful consideration and finally, systematic action. At Bentall, we invest in tools, technologies, design policies and best practices, so our actions yield results, as evidenced by the following property case studies:

THE BUSINESS CASE FOR GREEN: The Sun Life Building in Montreal, Quebec

When it comes to sustainability, whether it's altering your business practices, developing new technology, retrofitting existing properties or constructing new buildings, the discussion of cost always comes up. While the initial costs of retrofitting a building's systems can be expensive, a more energy-efficient property can result in tremendous savings.

The Sun Life Building is jointly owned by Sun Life Financial and SITQ (a subsidiary of the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec) and managed by Bentall LP. Originally constructed in 1918, the Sun Life Building was widely rumored to have been the secret hiding place of the Crown Jewels of England during the Second World War. Our goal was to improve the energy efficiency of this historic place through a combination of straightforward and state-of-the-art sustainable options.

The building's HVAC system is comprised of over 1500 heat pumps. …

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