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high performance building

Viewpoint: Existing Building Upgrade

Caring for, understanding and nurturing existing buildings is central to improving our industry and key to its health and growth into the future.

By Brandon Malleck and Paula Partner

In October 2012, after a three-year pursuit to improve the building performance and community presence of the world exchange Plaza [WEP] achieved LEED gold certification through the LEED for existing Building: Operations and Maintenance [LEED EBO&M] Program.

The building management team at the 20-year old WEP pushed beyond attaining LEED EB or BOMa Best certification, beyond recycling bins, beyond light bulbs, and beyond looking ‘the part’ to focusing on the whole. They have been ahead of the green curve by etching out their own curve. for this group of engaged and enthusiastic individuals, it’s about more than jargon and a certification plaque; it is about living real, measured actions and collaboration.

WEP is located in the heart of Ottawa’s downtown core, steps from parliament hill. It includes two Class-A office towers, a multi-level retail concourse, an open-air amphitheater and five levels of underground parking. The most distinctive feature of the site is the amphitheatre where visitors can enjoy extensive natural gardens, seating and a sheltered stage, all of which contribute to the urban caché of the Plaza.

It’s been over a year since World Exchange Plaza achieved LEED Canada EB Gold. Five years earlier the project began with conversations between the building owner [bc-IMC Realty Corporation] and building management [Bentall Kennedy] with a focus on performance and a mandate to achieve green building certification. Brainstorming and excitement quickly accelerated from what if…to why not? And from there the work began.

Some of the building’s greatest achievements over that time included a 30% reduction in energy consumption [now World Exchange Plaza is in the top 10% of similar buildings as benchmarked in the Energy Star program], a 78% waste diversion rate, and one of Canada’s first rainwater harvesting retrofit systems.

Brandon Malleck is Manager, Technical Services and Projects, Real Estate Services at Bentall Kennedy [Canada] LP. Paula Partner is General Manager of the World Exchange Plaza.