Greening Greater Toronto launches Commercial Building Retrofit Initiative and
Leadership Council

TORONTO, Sept. 29 /CNW/ - Greening Greater Toronto (GGT) convened today a meeting of Toronto's building owners, tenants and commercial real estate experts at the Commercial Building Retrofit Initiative Summit. The Initiative, one of four identified by the GGT to address the region's environmental challenges, is aimed at breaking down the barriers to achieve greater resource efficiency in the GTA's existing commercial building stock.

The Summit also marked the inaugural meeting of the Retrofit Initiative's Leadership Council. This group is made up of representatives from many of the GTA's largest tenants and building owners, and includes many of the GTA's largest tenants, representatives from the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto, industry experts, lawyers and others.

    
    Over the next year, Leadership Council members will:

    -  Provide leadership and direction for the overall initiative focusing
       on increasing the energy efficiency of the GTA building stock;
    -  Help GGT evaluate and recommend policy options and tools to encourage
       retrofitting;
    -  Lend their knowledge on the development of the business case for
       retrofits; and,
    -  Champion resource efficiency within their organizations and to the
       broader community.
    

The meeting was co-hosted by Michael Thornburrow, Senior Vice President, Corporate Real Estate and Strategic Sourcing, BMO Financial Group, and Linda Mantia, Senior Vice President, Procurement and Corporate Real Estate, RBC Financial Group who are co-chairs of the Commercial Building Retrofit Initiative.

"Office buildings are the largest consumers of energy in commercial and industrial sectors in Ontario. They are also the largest producers of GHG in this sector. With 80 per cent of that office space located in the GTA, most of this energy consumption and resulting greenhouse gas is in our backyard," explained Mantia. "By focusing on retrofitting and making facilities more energy efficient, businesses can save money, reduce energy consumption, boost the green economy, and create healthier buildings where people work and shop."

The Leadership Council discussed the enormous environmental and economic potential of energy efficiency and retrofits in the commercial sector. It also discussed some of the barriers to the broader uptake of retrofits including capital constraints, lack of awareness of how incentive programs work, and change-averse corporate culture.

"Today's meeting highlighted the need for open dialogue between building owners and tenants about the benefits, both environmental and financial, of retrofitting Toronto's commercial buildings," said Thornburrow. "I am confident that the Leadership Council members will be our strongest advocates for change."

About Greening Greater Toronto:

Greening Greater Toronto (www.greeninggreatertoronto.ca) is an initiative of the Toronto City Summit Alliance, a coalition of civic leaders who develop and launch solutions to pressing social and economic challenges in the Toronto region. More than 150 partners from corporations, industry, government, and the non-profit sector have joined the Greening Greater Toronto initiative, which aims to make the Greater Toronto Area the greenest city region in North America. They and others are engaged in four initial programs to address the region's environmental challenges, including: driving a large-scale retrofit of Toronto region commercial buildings; creating a local emissions reduction fund; developing a green procurement initiative; and building a network of public education/demonstration centres.

SOURCE BMO BANK OF MONTREAL

For further information: For further information: Media Contact: Rebecca Geller, Events and Communications Officer, Toronto City Summit Alliance, rebecca.geller@torontocitysummit.ca, (416) 309-4480 x.509


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