New Report Unlocks the Potential of Commercial Buildings

    TORONTO, Nov. 23 /CNW/ - A new report released today provides the
blueprint for greener Commercial Buildings in Canada. The report, released by
Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), highlights the technical and
non-technical changes in the design, construction and maintenance of Canada's
commercial buildings that need to be made to reduce their energy utilization,
water consumption and waste production.
    "The commercial building sector accounts for about 14% of secondary
energy use in Canada and has seen energy-related GHG emissions increase 42%
between 1990 and 2004," said Vicky J. Sharpe, President and CEO of SDTC. "For
this sector to change direction, we need a whole new approach to both the way
we design, build and use commercial buildings as well as the regulations and
policies that guide these activities."
    Among the technical changes recommended, the report stresses the
importance of improved system and equipment efficiencies as well as the
development of integrated design processes.
    "Right now, too many of the key players in the development and operation
of your typical commercial building work in isolation, focusing on their niche
of expertise," said Dr. Sharpe. "We need real-world demonstrations that break
the silos in the design process to align the concepts of liability and
economic viability to comfort and usability."
    Among the non-technical changes recommended, the report stresses the
importance of accurate data, improved eco-labeling and life-cycle-based
performance standards that will enable certification of buildings on a
life-cycle rather than on an as-built basis.
    "Switching to a life-cycle approach is crucial if we are to truly achieve
on-going sustainability in our commercial buildings," said Rick Whittaker,
Vice President, Investments at SDTC. "Progress has been made over the last few
years with the rise of LEED designation and other tools, but more work needs
to be done to establish at-a-glance, meaningful measurements that give owners
and tenants sustainability indicators to help in their decision-making."
    The Sustainable Development Business Case Report on Commercial
Buildings - Eco-efficiency is the fifth in a series of reports produced by
SDTC. These reports are the result of extensive consultations with industry,
policy makers and academia. This input is analyzed along with market data and
current reports and studies to arrive at an investment report that creates a
common vision of market potential. These reports are used to guide the
investment decisions of SDTC. Previous SD Business Case reports addressed the
subjects of Renewable Electricity, Clean Conventional Fuels, Biofuels, and
Hydrogen. They are all available in the Knowledge Centre at

    About SDTC

    SDTC is an arm's-length foundation which has received $1.05 billion from
the Government of Canada as part of its commitment to create a healthy
environment and a high quality of life for all Canadians.
    SDTC operates two funds aimed at the development and demonstration of
innovative technological solutions. The $550 million SD Tech Fund(TM) supports
projects that address climate change, air quality, clean water, and clean
soil. The $500 million NextGen Biofuels Fund(TM) supports the establishment of
first-of-kind large demonstration-scale facilities for the production of
next-generation renewable fuels.
    SDTC operates as a not-for-profit corporation and has been working with
the public and private sector including industry, academia, non-governmental
organizations (NGOs), the financial community and all levels of government to
achieve this mandate.

                     SD Business Case Report Backgrounder

    This SD Business Case(TM) report focuses on impacts of energy and water
utilization and solid waste production on commercial building operations in
Canada. It examines market characteristics such as building size, construction
and type, establishes a set of vision statements for the industry, and
identifies the technologies that can help create more sustainable buildings in
both the existing and future stock.
    The report covers all types of commercial buildings; including offices,
institutional and public service such as health care and education,
hospitality, entertainment, and retail and wholesale trade. Together, they are
simply referred to as "commercial". Multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs)
are not included in much of the analysis because they are classified as
residential buildings by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). However, many of
the technologies and issues do apply to MURBs.
    The focus of the analysis is on building operations. Although embodied
energy, material selection, construction, and demolition are important in a
life cycle approach to buildings, the largest environmental impacts are a
result of the operation of buildings. Operations are the most important aspect
of commercial building eco-efficiency analysis. SDTC understands the critical
importance of a full lifecycle approach, and incorporates the entire building
lifecycle considerations into individual project investment assessments on a
case-by-case basis.

    Fast Facts - Commercial Buildings and the Environment:
    -   There are currently about 395,000 commercial buildings in Canada, up
        from 379,000 in 2004.
    -   In 2004, the commercial buildings sector accounted for about 14% of
        total secondary energy use in Canada.
    -   Between 1990 and 2004, commercial energy consumption increased by
    -   Energy-related GHG emissions in the commercial sector increased by
        42% between 1990 and 2004.
    -   Commercial buildings currently consume about 1.2 trillion litres per
        year of municipally-treated water.
    -   In 2004, commercial buildings generated about 14.26 metric tonnes of
        solid waste.

    Commercial Buildings Vision Statement
    By 2030, commercial buildings in Canada will:

        -  have reduced their energy consumption by 50% from the current
        -  consume 65% less municipal water than in 2007
        -  produce 85% less solid waste than in 2007

    Non-Technical Needs
    Price on Carbon - Industry stakeholders agree that the single-largest
driver of sustainable buildings could be a realistic and consistent price on
fossil fuel based carbon.

    Integrated Supply Chain - There needs to be greater agreement on the
system requirements as well as the economic, resource, productivity, and
recyclability performance of buildings among building owners, financiers,
architects, engineers, contractors, suppliers, managers and operators,
municipalities, and utilities.

    Integrated Building Practices - There is a need for integrated practices
in regional planning, project financing and compensation, construction and
building operation.

    Improved Building Code & Greater Enforcement - Industry stakeholders
agree that a more advanced building code, such as the Model National Energy
Code for Buildings, is urgently needed. It must be supported by stronger
enforcement measures that are updated on a regular basis.

    Continuous Reporting - There is a need for measurable, defensible, and
reproducible financial assessments, based on realistic building performance

    Information Exchange - Building designers need to learn from the
experiences from the installation and long-term operation of high performance
buildings. A centralized information exchange, similar to the ones in the
United States and Europe, could be developed in Canada.

    Sustainability Ethic in Education - Sustainability needs to be integrated
throughout the course curriculum in the growing number of new and innovative
sustainability programs that are beginning to emerge in Canada's postsecondary
education institutions.

    Technical Needs
    Integrated Building Design - This refers to the process of designing and
siting sustainable buildings while optimizing resource use, building
functionality, and occupant comfort. The measures are built around the central
theme of the integrated design process.

    Building Envelope Improvements - There is a need to implement best
available and best emerging technologies as well as a need for "next
generation" building envelope technologies to minimize thermal transfer and
maximize the use of available natural resources.

    Operator & Occupant Management Tools - There is a need for technologies
that help building operators and occupants be aware of, and respond to,
individual resource consumption, while maintaining or improving indoor
environmental quality.

    System & Equipment Efficiency Improvements - This involves the
application of high efficiency mechanical and electrical equipment used
throughout the building.

    Optimized Resource Supply - This involves optimizing the supply of
conventional resources, maximizing the use of available natural resources, and
the reuse of existing building resources.

For further information:

For further information: Media Relations: Patrice Breton, Director,
Communications, SDTC, Tel: (613) 234-6313 x295,; Application
Process: Zoltan Tompa, Manager, Applications, SDTC, Tel: (613) 234-6313 x234,

Organization Profile


More on this organization

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890