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Big landlords, tenants near four-year green target two years early

It turns out when you ask the business community to cut their energy use, and they find out that it also saves them money, they go green like gangbusters.

Civic Action announced last week that the Race to Reduce, a voluntary campaign among Toronto’s commercial landlords and their clients to shave their energy use by 10 per cent in four years, was two years ahead of schedule, with consumption to the end of 2012 - figures that have just been compiled and analyzed -- down nine per cent ahead of their end-of-2014 schedule.

Brad Henderson, a senior managing regional director for CBRE and Race co-chair, is proud of what they’ve been able to collectively do so far.

"There was a lot of heavy lifting in the early days," he says. "We needed to establish process, we needed to get consensus on how information on energy reduction would be collected, measures and reported.  We also determined that it was important to collect and document case studies and tools used by participants as a way to help accelerate achievement by other companies.  While this work has been completed, there is a lot more work to be done."

The fact that they were able to do as much as they were is largely attributable to the fact that in the first few years of what's expected to be an ongoing program, Race participants were mostly large landlords and large tenants with, Henderson says, "considerable resources to mount significant energy reduction programs."

Programs included switching to LED lamps, converting to 100 per cent daytime cleaning to reduce lights used after hours, and decommissioning inefficient transformers.

(The Commercial Building Energy Leadership Council, made up of landlords and tenants representing 175 buildings and 67 million square feet, set their own reduction goals.)

The big challenge now, Henderson says, is that they've started recruiting smaller players. "As a result," he says, "achieving success of energy reduction will get harder and harder. Notwithstanding, the Race to Reduce participants are dedicated to persevere."

The Council is scheduled to set its new goals in January.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Brad Henderson
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