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Project Spotlight: Scotia Plaza's 40 King St. W. reaches new heights with first ZCB-Performance v2 certification

Scotia Plaza’s 40 King St. W. has achieved several third-party building certifications including the Zero Carbon Building Standard, LEED Platinum, ENERGY STAR, WiredScore Certified: Gold, and Fitwel One Star certification.

Scotia Plaza’s 40 King St. W. is a commercial high-rise located in the heart of Toronto’s financial district. In June 2020, it became the largest zero carbon building in Canada, and the first to certify under Zero Carbon Building – Performance v2.

Designed by WZMH Architects and completed in 1988, Scotia Plaza’s 40 King St. W. features 68 storeys of above-grade AAA Class commercial office space, and below-grade, one level of retail and four levels of parking. The building is a concrete frame, clad with distinctive granite claddings and punched window openings with double-glazed, aluminum-framed windows that make the building stand out in the Toronto skyline.

Accelerating to zero in Toronto’s financial core

Scotia Plaza’s 40 King St. W. is recognized as one of the first major office towers in Canada to achieve LEED Platinum certification. As a premium location in the heart of the financial district, it was important to the building owners, KingSett Capital, Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), and James Richardson & Sons Limited (JSRL), that the building maintain the highest operating standards.

“The path to becoming a zero carbon building started by making the necessary building and operational enhancements to achieve LEED Platinum, which was an integral step in being able to achieve the Zero Carbon Building certification,” said Bill Logar, EVP of Asset Management at KingSett Capital. “This achievement makes 40 King St. W. a healthier, more sustainable, and all-around more environmentally sound workplace.”

KingSett invests in sustainable and innovative solutions that go beyond the building to enhance communities, mitigate risk, and reduce environmental impact – including reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. KingSett is committed to developing asset-specific carbon neutrality roadmaps for its assets. Having achieved LEED Platinum, Fitwel, and WiredScore certification at 40 King St. W., tackling GHG emissions using the Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) Standard was a natural next step. Achieving and maintaining these high standards is critical for the overall environmental, social, governance and resilience performance of the building.

Prioritizing carbon reductions

The pursuit of the ZCB Standard meant taking a close look at energy requirements. Both grid electricity and utility-supplied natural gas are consumed at 40 King St. W. The building benefits from the fact that central heating is electric, not typical of large towers.

The property management team of BentallGreenOakleverages 40 King St. W.’s robust metering and energy monitoring system to record and drive decision making from real-time interval consumption data. This level of detail allows for a comparison of current energy consumption against energy budget estimates, real-time variations in energy use and fast detection of anomalies.

“A sophisticated metering system enables the tracking of energy consumption and early identification of potential anomalies at the property,” said David Matarasso, Principal, Property Management at BentallGreenOak. “Together, these serve as a system of internal controls which support the operations teams and drives performance at the building.”

Consideration was also given to the HVAC equipment containing refrigerants, in keeping with the updates to ZCB Standard v2. The LEED certification at the building already required proper refrigerant management, including detailed maintenance and record-keeping procedures. ZCB-Performance certification required that the owners take a step further, reporting and offsetting all refrigerant leakage.

Always looking ahead

As part of the Zero Carbon Building certification, a carbon transition plan was established to help move the building away from the limited number of systems using fuel combustion. Four systems historically used combustion-based technology: main building humidification, parking garage heating, loading dock heating, and concourse restaurants. Working with a team of consultants at Purpose Building Inc., the owners are rapidly transitioning away from fossil fuel combustion for all base building systems. The remaining fossil fuel combustion will be limited to the restaurant tenants and their cooking equipment.

“The transition to a carbon-neutral portfolio requires thoughtful long-term planning. We are making investments today that will have a positive impact on climate change now and in the future, such as pursing the Zero Carbon Building Standard.”

– Bill Logar, EVP, Asset Management, KingSett Capital

Thanks to the building’s original design, reliance on limited combustion-based systems, and diligent ongoing performance monitoring, this 68 storey building had a total carbon footprint of only 1,561 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. Going above and beyond, KingSett chose to assess and offset emissions associated with the waste from the building, which contributed a further 1,194 metric tonnes. Carbon offsets were purchased against the emissions and to drive climate change mitigation measures through worthy projects. KingSett chose to invest in Gold Standard carbon offsets, widely regarded as among the highest-quality carbon offsets in the world. Gold Standard offsets fund emissions reduction projects and sustainable development around the world.

As one of the most prestigious addresses in Toronto’s financial district, KingSett is proud to add Zero Carbon Building Standard certification to 40 King St. W.’s accolades. While KingSett’s efforts in obtaining the certification tie closely to its own environmental, social, and governance goals, the organization hopes to inspire other owners and corporations to consider a zero carbon path.

“The transition to a carbon-neutral portfolio requires thoughtful long-term planning. We are making investments today that will have a positive impact on climate change now and in the future, such as pursuing the Zero Carbon Building Standard,” said Logar.

Project Team

Project Owner

Kingsett Capital Inc.

Energy & Sustainability Consultant

Purpose Building Inc.

Property Management



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Also in this issue:
Green Building Programs
COVID-19 recovery and return-to-work resources
Project Spotlight: Scotia Plaza's 40 King St. W. reaches new heights with first ZCB-Performance v2 certification
Ask the Expert: Kit Milnes of KingSett Capital on the value of green certifications
EcoAmmo's recipe for LEED certification success
Addressing the zero carbon skills gap among Alberta's building trades
CaGBC's Zero Carbon Building Standard featured in WorldGBC report
Certified Projects – May 2020
Conferences & Events
Building Lasting Change 2020 goes online this fall – mark these dates
Upcoming online event and education offerings
Member News & Updates
CaGBC's AGM: 2019 in review
CaGBC welcomes three new Board members
CaGBC Chapter Leadership Board elections suspended for 2020
Canada's Greenest Employers 2020 list features more than 20 CaGBC members
Government of Canada releases RFI on new low-carbon concrete requirements
National Media Partners news from Sustainable Biz Canada, SABMag and REMI Network
In the News: BLC, ZCB v2 certification, skills gap studies, green recovery & energy disclosure
New Members – May 2020
Build a solid green building foundation with LEED Green Associate exam courses
New zero carbon building education coming in Fall 2020
Course Calendar – July/August 2020
Canada Green Building Council
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