Scotia Square Certified as the First BOMA BEST Platinum Office Space in Nova Scotia
The team at Scotia Square is proud to share that we’ve been certified as the first BOMA BEST Platinum office complex in Nova Scotia! This third-party recognition of our sustainability efforts comes after more than 20 years of work to reduce our carbon footprint and offer best-in-class properties and services.
Our first BOMA BEST certification was in 2010, and was the result of work completed between 2000 and 2010 to reduce energy and water consumption and improve waste diversion. We’ve been BOMA BEST Gold certified since then. In addition to that certification, we’ve won numerous other awards, including multiple BOMA Nova Scotia Awards of Excellence and BOMA Canada’s National TOBY (The Outstanding Building of the Year) Award.
To add to that list, we’ve been named Halifax’s Most Bicycle Friendly Landlord by Halifax Cycling Coalition many times, due to our first-class bicycle facility on-site that includes bike racks, e-bike spaces, and washroom and shower facilities. This amenity is available to all clients. We’ve also been named a Carbon Hero by EcoPilot for work completed in Cogswell Tower. EcoPilot is an artificial intelligence tool that helps optimize your HVAC systems. It helps you identify what they call your “balance point temperature”, based on a number of factors like existing data, weather forecasts, and thermal massing, and uses that information to help set appropriate temperatures. This award acknowledges a company's contribution to greenhouse gas emission reduction and their ability to inspire other companies to consider their impact on the environment.
Is there really value in holding all the certifications and titles? Absolutely, says Vice President, Sustainability, Dan Bourque. “Each program measures different things, and when you put them all together, you know that you have a well-rounded certification. You can’t get any better. There is no higher standard for which to reach.”
The team sees this certification as a “community win”. “We extend a huge thank you to our team for this prestigious achievement,” says Terry Doran, Vice President Office Properties. “Our clients, tenants, partners, suppliers, and our community also contribute every day to advancing our sustainability efforts. We couldn’t do it without them.”
When asked what pushed them from the Gold to Platinum level, the team explained that there wasn’t one single project or effort. It’s the result of years of work and investment to improve building operations, reduce energy and water consumption, improve waste diversion, and focusing on customer service and tenant and employee well-being. “This is the culmination of a number of small initiatives and improvements, and continuing to perform well in alignment with previous policies and efforts,” explains Pat Poirier, Director, Operational Sustainability.
Obtaining BOMA BEST certification includes completing an extensive application process, answering questions about building operations, energy and water consumption, waste diversion, community benefits, and more. This is audited and verified by BOMA, and points are awarded accordingly. Working through the application process has benefits beyond the end result of certification; it shows how and where we can improve and results in substantive deliverables for the team.
In short, making it all the way to the top, and receiving Platinum certification, is a lengthy process and requires significant resources. It’s worth it though; having third-party validation of the work you’re doing to reduce your impact on the environment is priceless. Our employees know that the work they do makes a difference, and our tenants know that they are working with a landlord who follows through on their commitments. There’s a confidence in knowing that we’re among 594 million square feet of BOMA certified space in Canada.
As we mentioned, our tenants also play a role in our efforts to reduce our environmental impact, and they benefit from certification too. Reduced energy and water consumption results in savings for them, too, and they get the added benefit of knowing that their stores and offices are located in third-party verified buildings. By participating in reducing our collective carbon footprint and helping reverse climate change, they’re also better able to attract and retain talent.
So, how much of an impact does this work have on the environment? Since 2015, we’ve reduced our annual energy consumption by 12,553,449 KWH, reduced annual water consumption by 51,157 M3, and reduced natural gas consumption by 7,215 GJ. This adds up to a reduction in greenhouse gases of 8,457 metric tonnes, which is the equivalent to 19,560 barrels of oil consumed, or 1,882 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles driven for one year, or 951,615 gallons of gasoline consumed.
What’s next on Scotia Square’s environmental journey? “Our efforts don’t stop here,” says Dan Bourque. “We’re committed to ongoing improvements to our properties and services, and to further reducing our carbon footprint. We do this not just to achieve certification, but because it’s the right thing to do for our people and our planet.”
Ian Selig Photographer
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