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Toronto welcomes first LEED Platinum office tower

Tridel’s Metrogate community achieved LEED Silver certification in the Neighbourhood Development program. Other Tridel communities (Accolade, Verve) made LEED Gold. All new buildings are Built Green, to Tridel’s own sustainable building standard. 

Toronto is to get its first LEED Platinum office building, and it will join a growing number of buildings, residential and commercial, that are achieving the distinction. The new RBC Waterpark Place on Harbour Street, owned by Oxford Properties, is now under construction and will be completed in 2014. Oxford Properties, which manages a real estate portfolio for the Ontario Municipal Employment Retirement System (OMERS), one of the biggest pension funds in the country, has very deep pockets. OMERS has $55 billion in investment assets. The RBC building will cost $400 million. There will be additional costs of about $500,000 to reach the LEED Platinum level.

So what does it mean?

LEED is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a system developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), to rate the design, construction and performance of buildings for sustainability. The notion of sustainability entails a range of factors that include water efficiency, energy efficiency, use of environmentally friendly building and finishing materials, and overall impact of the building on the specific site and on the larger environment.

LEED has been adopted by the Canada Green Building Council as well, where you can see the detailed checklist used in assigning points. The number of points a building scores determines how it ranks, from Certified, (26–32 points) to Platinum, (52–70 points).

Some of the features RBC Waterpark Place will incorporate include deep lake water cooling, a separate air system to bring outdoor air into the building, vision glazing windows, and high-efficiency lighting and plumbing.

Tridel condominiums have achieved LEED Gold and Silver

While this will be Toronto’s first commercial building to achieve LEED Platinum, it is not the first such building in Canada. In fact, Canada has two of the ten “greenest” buildings in the world, according to a slightly outdated list on the LEED website. One is in Vancouver, the Centre for Research on Sustainability, which opened last year, and the other is La Maison du Developpement Durable, in Montreal. Both are LEED Platinum.

The LEED system also includes multi-family residential—condominiums and apartment buildings—and in Toronto that means Tridel. Tridel has developed its own Built Green. standards, which are applied in constructing all of its new buildings. Built Green communities are built for residents’ health, and the health of the environment.

But a number of Tridel communities have also achieved LEED standing. The Tridel community of Metrogate, which includes Solaris, Avani, and Ventus, has been certified LEED® Silver in the new Neighbourhood Development program. And the Tridel community Accolade achieved LEED Gold earlier this year, the second to do so, after Verve. Both of these buildings are sold out.

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