Staff members gathered recently at the Ontario Real Estate Association to celebrate the achievement of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified Designation at the Don Mills building.
An engraved glass plaque was unveiled in the second-floor lobby to celebrate this achievement of a prestigious national designation for outstanding environmental efforts. The LEED certification marks the culmination of more than five years of effort to enhance the physical space through various environment-friendly initiatives.
An international benchmark, LEED is a third-party certification administered by the Canada Green Building Council. Only 241 buildings in the province have earned such certification to date. The work involved in achieving LEED status was complex and involved many people, including staff, the board of directors, contractors and a renovation task force. The criteria are based on energy conservation and sustainability.
“Getting here was a long process, and we’re thrilled to celebrate this news,” says Bill Shepherd, Executive Director of the OREA Centre for Leadership Development, who, along with Ed Barisa, the association’s CEO, spearheaded the environmental efforts that took place as part of a multi-year renovation and expansion of the building. “The energy savings are huge, and that’s incredible, but the most important benefit of LEED certification is the impact it has on people – our staff and students.”
Efforts to “green” the association have resulted in huge reductions of energy usage — 50 per cent less hydro, 60 per cent less water, and 75 per cent les natural gas. Natural light floods some 92 per cent of the space in the building.
Stantec, OREA’s consultant on the project, was recognized at the ceremony, as were members of various contractor groups involved in the renovation of the facility. After the ceremony, staff and guests enjoyed an al fresco lunch featuring a “100-mile diet” of food from producers in the Peterborough area to mark the occasion.
The greening process at OREA will continue. In the months ahead, all fluorescent lights will be replaced with energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) alternatives that enable OREA to save 40 per cent on electrical consumption and costs. Efforts are also ongoing to enhance the greenery in the areas adjacent to the building, and work is underway to build a gazebo.
“We’re delighted with our LEED status, but we’re not stopping here,” says Luigi Favaro, Building and Office Manager, also a key player in the association’s environmental efforts.
“We plan to continue working to lessen our environmental footprint and continue to move down a greener path.”