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Property Management A Regional report focusing on the GTA, Hamilton & Niagara november 2009 Vol.16 No 7


Photo courtesy of Loyalty One

Toronto Green Standard

Rooftop Retrofit

Lease Expiry Opens Opportunity for Change

Contents LEED Gold Call Centre Toronto Green Standard Commercial Building Energy Initiative Certification in Energy Excellence LED Plaza Lighting Water-efficient Irrigation Electronics Recycling Green Roof Makeover Energy Modelling Applications LEED Gold Health Unit Development in Downtown Pickering Smart Growth & Housing Choices

1 6 8 11 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28

Corporate Sustainability Program takes Physical Form By Debbie Baxter and Janine Reaburn An expiring lease at its call centre coincided with LoyaltyOne’s focus on enhanced corporate sustainability in 2007, spurring the company to explore options for new, more sustainable space. Initially, the decision was made to invest in a b u i l d i n g t h a t co u l d a c h i e ve L E E D (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, and, as the project progressed, more features were added. To d a y, t h e r e c e n t l y c o m p l e t e d 50,000-square-foot facility at 6696 Financial Drive in Mississauga’s Meadowvale business district boasts a rooftop solar installation that generates electricity for the building and delivers power to the hydro grid as well. The

core and shell were designed to meet LEED Silver certification, but the project team – including the developer, Bentall LP, and the design firm, Figure3 – calculates that further enhancements to the interior of the building should comply with criteria for Gold certification. Beginning with construction, the jobsite was orderly and organized to minimize waste and ensure best possible air quality. At least 75% of construction debris was sorted and diverted from landfill through recycling and reuse. All air ducts were covered so that dust and debris did not get into the HVAC system, and low-VO C mater ials and Continued on page 4.


From the Editor PUBLISHER Sean Foley EDITOR Barbara Carss Ext. 236 ASSISTANT EDITOR Ashley Ward Ext. 233 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Debbie Baxter, Krishan Bhatia, Patty Hargreaves, Steve Kemp, Ryan Lang, Mike Laurie, Todd Litman, Terry McGlade, Erin Melnyk, Janine Reaburn, David Sim

Fads Manifest in Planning Policy The historical record demonstrates that it’s best to be somewhat wary when urban planners embrace new enthusiasms. Professionally, they’ve foisted at least as much misery upon the landscape as the developers, engineers and financiers who have been less successful in avoiding the blame. (Blame that’s often levelled at those disciplines, curiously enough, by planners.) Planners play an important role in assessing how development fits with municipal goals, and they are often thanklessly caught between the public and their political masters on the municipal Council. However, planners’ technical grasp of what’s actually required to implement policies can sometimes be rather superficial – a trait they share with their political masters on Council. For example, much of the boosterism for green roofs comes from planners, politicians and those in line to make money from designing, installing and maintaining green roofs. Pioneers in the green building sector who were producing energy-efficient buildings with reduced footprints long before planners jumped on the bandwagon aren’t convinced that green roofs deliver performance commensurate with the required investment or comparable to other measures on which the money could be otherwise spent. Similarly, there is certainly much to applaud in the new Toronto Green Standard that will apply to all planning applications beginning in early 2010, but it’s also illustrative of what Darius Rybak of Aspen Ridge Homes calls a “zero to 60 in two seconds” mentality. New policies that create new expenses for residential taxpayers are almost invariably phased in over longer periods of time, often following explosive debate. Whereas some significant new rules that affect the development industry – such as the Green Roof By-law and the Toronto Green Standard – have recently been passed with little Council discussion and scheduled to go into effect within months. It will be interesting, too, to see how the City of Toronto strives to apply the green standard in its own developments – such as new TTC stations along the expanded Spadina subway line – particularly in light of current budgetary constraints. The Toronto Green Standard does come with a carrot, however. High-performance buildings that meet the criteria for the more rigorous Tier 2 of the program qualify for a 20% refund of development charges. Regulatory Update provides the details. In neighbouring Mississauga, developers of 6696 Financial Drive have delivered a high-performance building to meet the tenant’s specifications for high-quality workspace that reflects corporate sustainability goals. Debbie Baxter and Janine Reaburn describe the process and the results. Turning from new construction to existing buildings, Patty Hargreaves outlines the mandate and startup activities of the Commercial Building Energy Initiative and its efforts to build collaborative landlord and tenant support for investment in retrofits and capital improvements. Meanwhile, other features in this issue depict just how varied retrofit opportunities can be – from lighting to roofs to water efficiency. Todd Litman tracks the rising demand for housing in mixed-use, transit-oriented neighbourhoods – the kind of development pattern that was the norm prior to the 1950s. Whoever thought it was a good idea to segregate housing in distant automobile-dependent suburbs, anyway? Hmmm...was it the planners?

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Environmental Management Continued from page 1.

Photos courtesy of LoyaltyOne

that gives the impression of a 21st century forest, while epoxy floors evoke the building’s industrial nature. Conferencing seats have been placed around the facility in various forms and types of seating and configurations for both casual and formal meetings. Other employee amenities include a games room, personal rooms, café and lounge areas, a resource centre and a large lunchroom designed to encourage gathering and socializing.

finishes were used within. Two weeks were left open at the end of the construction schedule to allow for a full air exchange before staff, who operate the call centre for the AIR MILES Reward Program, moved in. EFFICIENT AND ENGAGING WORKSPACE The building is designed to reduce energy consumption by 15% and water use by at least 30% compared to conventional buildings. The design also incorporates daylight sensor controlled lighting to reduce energy when rooms are vacant. Outside the building, rainwater is collected in underground cisterns and is used for irrigation of the landscaping and for interior facilities needs. Only indigenous plants have been used in exterior landscaping, which requires less maintenance, weeding and irrigation. A number of desig n features are incorporated to provide employees with the maximum amount of natural daylight within all working areas of the facility. Fifty-two solo tubes are spread throughout the entire space to create the same effect as a skylight. Each long tube runs from a cutout in the roof down to 12 feet above the finished floor, and houses a highly reflective interior core that brings natural light into the space. Panoramic windows providing outdoor views surround the space, with enclosed offices situated at the interior of the floor plate. Soaring 20-foot ceilings expose structural steel girders to prov ide a contemporary urban environment. Other necessary components have also been positioned as design features. Power poles for cable management are used to create a threedimensional pattern in a variety of colours 4 November 2009 PROPERTY MANAGEMENT REPORT

ROOFTOP ARRAY, LUNCHROOM DISPLAY The hallmark of the LoyaltyOne facility is the massive solar ar ray on its rooftop. Approximately 800 photovoltaic solar panels generate 165 kilowatts (kW) of power – enough to power 16 average-sized homes – making it the largest rooftop solar array in Canada. These panels are primarily located on the rooftop, with a smaller installation on the top of a carport in the parking area.

Environmental Management

A number of design features are incorporated to provide employees with the maximum amount of natural daylight within all working areas of the facility. The renewable energy generated through the main installation will be fed into the provincial power grid, replacing some of the facility’s own power requirements. A smaller array atop a carport in the building’s parking area will produce electricity that heats water for employee showers, taps and appliances (all of which use low-flow technology). In conjunction with the rooftop solar installation, a TPO roof membrane – a white roof that reflects heat all day, all year round rather than absorbing it – reduces heat island and global warming effect caused by pavement, concrete and other dark, hard surfaces absorbing heat all day and then releasing it into the atmosphere at night. A full-length wall of solar inverters, typically hidden behind drywall in most applications, has been exposed in the communal lunch and games room to support employee education and LoyaltyOne’s corporate sustainability initiative. As the panels are exposed to sunshine, employees will be able to see the system in action and gain a greater understanding of the positive impact of renewable energy. ENVIRONMENTAL AND URBAN LANDMARK Planning and execution of a sustainable project of this size and scope required the expertise of a diverse group of planners, designers, contractors and specialists. The introduction of solar power – an industry still in its infancy in Canada – was an additional challenge. Members of the project team included: bcIMC RealtyCorp, Bentall LP, Urbacon, Rae Brothers, Smith and Anderson, Figure3, RESCo Energy, Stantec and Halsall. More than 500 AIR MILES call centre employees have recently moved in and are now working in one of the greenest facilities in Canada. The building creates a new environmental landmark in the heart of Mississauga’s financial district and gives convincing physical expression to LoyaltyOne’s corporate sustainability program. pmr Debbie Baxter is Vice President of Corporate Sustainability & Facilities Management and Chief Sustainability Officer, and Janine Reaburn is Associate Director, Facilities, at LoyaltyOne.


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Regulatory Update

Toronto Green Standard Sets Bar for Development Approval High-Performance Buildings to Qualify for Incentives By Barbara Carss

Future commercial, industrial, multiresidential and institutional projects in Toronto will have to comply with 44 minimum performance measures to secure development approval. The Toronto Green Standard (TGS) will apply to all planning applications beginning January 31, 2010. It establishes requirements for: air quality; emissions reductions and energy efficiency; water quality, quantity and efficiency; ecological protection and enhancement; and solid waste reduction and diversion. Most of the measures relate to site orientation, design features and amenities rather than building systems and technology, but all new development is mandated to deliver at least 25% better performance than the standards of the Model National Energy Code for Buildings (MNECB). Green standards with different but comparable measures will apply to low-rise residential and low-rise non-residential projects. Developers can also voluntarily aim to meet more rigorous conditions set out in a Tier 2 of the Toronto Green Standard to qualify for a 20% refund of development charges. To be eligible, buildings must achieve at least 35% better performance than the MNECB and six additional mandatory Tier 2 requirements along with three of the 10 other optional Tier 2 measures. The refund program will cover Site Plan applications submitted after April 30, 2009. “We set up specific targets. This is all measurable stuff,” observes Joe D’Abramo, Director of Zoning By-law and Environmental Planning for the City of Toronto. “Really, what we care about is how the building and site interact with our infrastructure and our environment.” Through an agreement with the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), Torontobased LEED registrants will be able to document attainment of TGS requirements at the same time as LEED prerequisites and credits, thus avoiding duplication of processes. The two programs are not interchangeable, however. The TGS has more mandatory elements and requirements that are specifically tailored to Toronto’s n a t u r a l f e a t u re s , e nv i ro n m e n t a l a n d infrastructure pressures, and design and development ambitions. “LEED is ver y optional and it’s too

optional in terms of what we want to achieve,” D’Abramo explains. Other observers suggest the TGS might be too ambiguous. “It would have been preferable for the City to adopt a more popular rating system like LEED or similar type program that would give us a clear basis to know how to deliver what they’re looking for,” says Andrew Pride, Vice President of the Minto Green Team, which h a s o ve r s e e n d e ve l o p m e n t o f L E E D projects in Toronto, including a 148-unit LEED Gold rental apartment building and a t w o - t o w e r, 8 7 6 - u n i t L E E D G o l d condominium complex. “We are running into issues of people not knowing how to implement what the City is asking for. There is a lack of experience in the design and engineering community and we are running into issues of implementation on-site with the trades as well,” concurs Dar ius Rybak, Vice President of Operations with Aspen Ridge Homes, which is seeking to secure LEED Silver certification for a 500-unit


condominium project now nearing completion in downtown Toronto. COSTS & COMPLICATIONS Many of the required measures – such as bicycle parking and associated facilities, or dedicated areas for collection and storage of recycling and organics – are straightforward to i n te r p re t a n d i m p l e m e n t i n n e w construction, but may increase capital costs. Others – such as requirements to select native plant species – shouldn’t necessarily create any extra costs. However, stipulations for green roofs, storm water retention and managing the quality of storm water runoff could present design challenges, as well as extra capital costs. Although Toronto’s new Green Roof By-law exempts multi-residential buildings with fewer than six storeys or tower roofs with floor plates of less than 8,100 square feet, those buildings will have meet the TGS requirement for reduction of urban heat island effect. That calls for a green roof on 50% of roof area, or highalbedo or cool roofing on 100% of the roof, or a

Regulatory Update combination of a green roof and cool roofing on 75% of the roof surface. This could also require some new skill sets for condominium boards of directors, and create new maintenance costs and considerations for reserve fund planning. “We are required to build it, but I’m not sure what happens after we’re gone and the condo corporation is operating the building,” Rybak notes. The undifferentiated energy performance standard for all building sectors could in fact favour commercial, industrial and institutional buildings since energy savings are typically more difficult to achieve in multi-residential buildings with a more diverse range of occupants who are more likely to behave in ways that undermine the effectiveness of energy-efficient systems and technology. Both City officials and developers suggest the requirement to outperform the MNECB by 35% could be the most difficult of all Tier 2 criteria. “Our buildings are built quite efficiently and we’re just hitting that 35% mark in the multiresidential side of things, whereas in commercial it’s no problem,” Pride reports. “In multiresidential, 35% is going to be a challenge for most developers.” However, he applauds the philosophy of the Tier 2 standards. “I’m very pleased to see the City moving in the right direction in providing incentives for builders that go above and beyond Code,” he adds. INCENTIVE CRITERIA Other measures required to meet Tier 2 standards and qualify for the development charge refund include commissioning, reducing heat island effect on non-roof areas, lighting controls and water-efficiency features. Among the 10 choices of optional Tier 2 measures, Pride predicts Minto will not be incorporating salvaged, refurbished or reused building materials equivalent to 5% of a project’s value. “That’s a significant task in a retail environment like a condominium,” he maintains. “As a standard, I’m not sure how well the market will accept that level of refurbished content in the units.” Rybak suggests buyers’ interest in energyefficient and sustainable features is still rather superficial anyway. “There is a small group of purchasers who will seek out green elements and features, but the majority of purchasers really are not going out of their way to look for those features in a building,” he says. “Buyers would like to have environmentally friendly elements in their buildings, but there is a very, very small percentage that is willing to pay extra for it.” Ultimately, added capital costs get passed through to homebuyers, residential and

commercial tenants, but a 20% refund of development charges will go a long way toward balancing that. “It’s very substantial and very attractive. From a financial standpoint it does make sense to pursue Tier 2,” Rybak acknowledges. “What I would be wary of before committing to this is being really able to deliver it. But we are getting so much more experience each day on these issues. Maybe I will become much more comfortable.” Fostering developers’ learning curve is one of the City’s goals for the program. Planning

officials project that a maximum of 20% of applicants will meet Tier 2 standards and qualify for the development charge rebate although they anticipate the number will be closer to 10% at least initially. “In preparing this, we looked at buildings that have been built to this level,” D’Abramo says. “There are several examples. That’s how we know it’s possible.” pmr For more information about the Toronto Green Standard, see the web site at planning/greendevelopment.htm



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Energy Management

Landlord-Tenant Partnerships for Energy Efficiency Retrofit Summit Enlists GTA’s Real Estate Players By Patty Hargreaves

Improving the energy efficiency of the Greater Toronto Area’s (GTA) commercial building stock presents a vast untapped potential to increase bottom lines, foster healthier workplaces and protect the environment. But there is a gap between the level of cost-effective energy efficiency investments that should be happening and what actually is taking place in the commercial building sector. Some simple behavioural changes in the use and management of the region’s commercial space could have a major impact on energy efficiency with little cost. Given the different stakeholder groups, including tenants and building owners, each with their own agendas, goals and interests, coming to a consensus on how to make commercial buildings greener and more environmentally sustainable has been a challenge. The need for a continued open dialogue between these seemingly opposing sides has become clear. To facilitate open communication between the key stakeholders, Greening Greater Toronto (GGT), a program of the Toronto City Summit Alliance, introduced the Commercial Building Energy Initiative. As part of this project, GGT, in partnership with the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Greater Toronto, recently hosted the Commercial Building Retrofit Summit on September 29, 2009. This brought together the major players in the GTA’s real estate sector, including major commercial owners, landlords, tenants and real estate experts to develop a plan to increase the uptake of broader energy efficiency measures. Attendees at the Summit comprised senior leaders in the real estate sector, representing owners of more than 40% of the GTA commercial office building stock, and tenants occupying almost 40 million square feet of commercial office space in the GTA. Linda Mantia Senior Vice President, Procurement and Corporate Real Estate, RBC and Michael Thornburrow, Senior Vice President, Corporate Real Estate and Strategic Sourcing, BMO Financial Group, are lending their expertise and leadership as co-chairs of the Commercial Building Energy Initiative. “The Retrofit Summit highlighted the need for open dialogue between building owners and tenants about the benefits, both environmental and financial, of retrofitting the GTA’s commercial buildings,” Thornburrow says. “If we’re going to take meaningful strides towards achieving greater resource efficiency, reducing

greenhouse gases, and creating a more environmentally sustainable commercial building stock, it’s going to take a meeting of the minds between all parties.We need accountability, and that’s going to mean encouraging building owners, managers and tenants to work collaboratively with each other to make the necessary changes.” Comprehensive analysis of the key environmental drivers identified an urgent need to focus on making the GTA’s buildings more energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable. The analysis reveals that energy used by commercial and public buildings in the region causes 31% of the total greenhouse gas emissions produced in the region. Fitting these buildings with higher-efficiency, renewable energy technologies and energy management systems could reduce their energy consumption by up to 50%. “Office buildings are the largest consumers of energy in commercial and industrial sectors in Ontario. They are also the largest producers of GHG in this sector. With 80% of that office space located in the GTA, most of this energy consumption and resulting greenhouse gas is in our backyard,” Mantia notes. “By focusing on retrofitting and making facilities more energy-efficient, businesses can save money, reduce energy consumption, boost the green economy, and create healthier buildings where people work and shop.”


COMMON STANDARD REQUIRED An analysis of the input and feedback from the Retrofit Summit revealed a number of consistent issues and concerns across stakeholder groups. The challenges identified will be put to the Retrofit Leadership Council, paving the way for an action plan to increase the resource efficiency in the GTA’s building stock. There is currently no widely accepted, consistent measurement standard to evaluate a commercial building’s ‘greenness.’ Nor are there commonly regarded benchmarks to which building owners, managers and tenants may ascribe or aspire. As one building owner observed, “The problem is now apples to oranges. We need measurement standards so we can compare apples to apples.” Various standards are now being proposed by different stakeholder groups, but building owners and tenants are not sure which will be relevant in the future. Part of the conversation between major stakeholder groups must revolve around advocating for a common standard. This will help in the evolution of building benchmarking or labelling – another mechanism that will provide transparency of information to stakeholder groups. Understanding the alternatives for improving energy efficiency from a technical and cost/benefit perspective requires reliable access to information and an investment of time. There is currently a lack of information to help commercial real estate players acquire the data and knowledge necessary

Energy Management to build the business case for investments in energy efficiency measures.

environmental impact. Recent data suggests that energy-efficient buildings fare better when it comes to occupancy rates, rent premiums and sale prices. Meanwhile, health and productivity are difficult to quantify, but the research shows that retrofitted buildings do in fact reap benefits for tenants, including increased brand equity, greater ability to attract talent and better employee retention. Furthermore, disclosure of socially and environmentally responsible endeavours for tenants and building owners alike has become a powerful marketing and branding opportunity. Clearly, their interests are aligned; it’s simply a matter of engaging in a dialogue to drive the effort.

portfolios, this message does not always travel all the way down the corporate ladder to those who need to direct and implement the changes. MUTUAL & SPECIFIC BENEFITS Executives on both the landlord and tenant sides Not only is it difficult to assign quantitative values need to make environmental sustainability a greater to factors like health and productivity, but there is priority and put pressure on their stakeholders, no widely accepted value proposition attached to both internal and external, to make the necessary retrofitting projects, while incentive programs that changes. Those who have taken steps to green their support energy efficiency are not well understood. businesses need to speak up and be candid about Perhaps the greatest obstacle to increased resource their progress and lead by example in order to efficiency in the GTA’s existing building stock is inspire other organizations to ramp up their ineffective communication between major tenants, greening plans. landlords and building owners. It is often hard for Based on the findings of the Retrofit Summit, all sides to see the benefits, creating issues around Greening Greater Toronto has identified several agency and accountability. possible focus areas and next steps for the When tenants are responsible for utility bills, Commercial Building Energy Initiative. The focus there can be little perceived economic incentive for EXPERTISE & COMMITMENT will be on defining clear and measurable goals and a landlord to replace inefficient equipment or Many of the Retrofit Summit participants cited the objectives that can be turned into actionable items provide the most energy-efficient equipment when lack of broad education about energy efficiency as to move the case for building energy efficiency replacements are needed. This is especially true a concern. The need for more education for forward. The Retrofit Summit was the first of what when energy-efficient equipment is more expensive tenants, architects/engineers, schools, organizations will be several meetings between major building and in the market has become apparent. than standard equipment. owners, tenants and real estate professionals in the If the business case can be made, since ongoing efforts to green the Greater Toronto Area’s Similarly, tenants may not see the value in incurring financial increases to subsidize the technologies exist, resources must be made commercial buildings. pmr building owner’s renovations and upgrading of available to merge theory into practice. As one their own property. Especially given the long-term participant from the public sector indicated, “The Patty Hargreaves is the Director of Greening Greater return on these investments, the perceived value in technology is there, but we need to educate people Toronto’s Commercial Building Energy Initiative, on the means they can take to improve the energy aimed at bringing major building owners and tenants facilitating retrofit projects can be lost. An open dialogue is key in helping all efficiency of our building stock.” together to improve the energy efficiency of the Although many10/23/09 tenant and building leaders stakeholders understand the mutual benefits of commercial building stock. For more information, ASP PM Expo Ad - Property Management Report.qxd 10:56 AM Page 1 undertaking projects to reduce a building’s advocate for improved sustainability in their see the web site at

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Energy Management

Peel Puts its Energy Program to the Test Gold Certification Recognizes Best Practices By Ryan Lang

In November 2007 the Regional Municipality of Peel determined that its successful energy management program needed an additional boost. After thoroughly scrutinizing the current energy plan, previous initiatives, associated savings and future projects, Regional officials decided to pursue a new program that could verify historical performance and provide an additional catalyst for future energy performance improvements. The Region’s well established focus on energy reduction has been advantageous for the environment and Peel’s image, and has also led to a portfolio of properties with action plans for reducing the energy footprint within buildings. There was a clear indication of how various properties were performing, but energy management analysts also wanted to assess the effectiveness of the energy management program itself. Thus, Peel became the first North American municipality to embark on the Certification in Energy Excellence program. Its subsequent Gold level achievement Certification in Energy Excellence has recognizes that the Region scored points in more than 160 areas of international best been developed to help identify leaders in energy management. Organizations can practices. apply by demonstrating they have been proactive in managing energy in the last BEYOND ISO 14000 Energy management is more than three to five years with verifiable implementing a standard and posting a performance improvements. Peel received its Gold Certification for banner. Countries that are better at managing energy – such as Sweden, Denmark, Norway, substantiating that it has reduced energy New Zealand, Germany and the United inputs by kWh/ft 2 for buildings and by Kingdom – have all taken a structured, kWh/million litres for water services. In organizational approach to energy addition, program participants must have a management, often using a national standard structure and an executed mandate to as a baseline. As important as it is, however, continue to improve energy management a procedural framework is not enough. practices for the next three years. The ISO 14000 regime, for example, does The program has been designed to ensure not require an organization to address that all individuals within the organization energy management. Nor does it measure from the boardroom (or Council) right down energy performance improvements. Even to the plant floor consider energy management the new energy management ISO 50001 in their day-to-day activities. The old habit of standard, which is now in development and relying on one or two departments – like slated for introduction in 2011, will be engineering, maintenance, or purchasing – to about procedures rather than measurable manage energy for an entire organization has energy management performance proven ineffective. improvements.

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT Organizations considering the Certification in Energy Excellence have the flexibility of selecting from three levels of certification, from silver to platinum. Once an organization has applied and is accepted into the program, a registered assessor – an experienced professional in energy management – is assigned to the organization to gather required evidence. The assessor is independent and cannot have worked for the organization in the last five years. His or her priority is to work with the organization to determine its level of proficiency in managing energy in the previous three to five years. The certification process can take from three to 12 months depending where on the path to excellence the organization is currently positioned. Assessors interview a variety of people, auditing the organization’s site and collecting proof to evaluate level of attainment in four key areas: 1. Management commitment to energy 2. Energy procurement practices


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3. Investment in energy efficiency 4. Demonstrated improvements in energy performance The assessor is also a mentor and will articulate what steps the organization should take to continue to improve its performance. The scope of the program must cover at least 80% of the organization’s energy usage. Once the assessment process is complete, the assessor assigns a certification score to the organization and forwards the assessment to the National Energy Foundation in the U.K., an independent, non-profit international moderator, for final approval. BENEFITS FOR PARTICIPANTS Results in other jurisdictions show that organizations can save an incremental 3% on their energy bills by going through a similar process. That estimate could actually be conservative, however, since it does not cover procurement best practices – an element in the Canadian program. With the award, Peel Region is now recognized as a leader in its sector and qualifies to have its certification renewed every three years. During the renewal of the program, the same metrics will be used and the current energy plan will be audited to determine how successful the initiatives were against the previous scoring metrics. The award was fittingly conveyed to the Region at the annual Energy Matters Summit, which has become a popular and well attended event for municipal energy management personnel from throughout Ontario to network, compare strategies and learn about new developments. “Peel has demonstrated a commitment to the wise use of energy by securing CEE certification,” said Phil McNeely, MPP and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, George Smitherman, who was on hand to present the award. “As an engineer, I appreciate the importance of the CEE program’s energy management criteria, and its requirement of progressive improvements in standards to ensure further progress.” It is not only Peel’s progress and leadership in energy management that is recognized by the certification, but also the Region’s adoption of strategic goals and initiatives that ensure energy management continues sustainably into the future. pmr Ryan Lang is Project Manager with 360 Energy Inc., an energy management consulting firm providing procurement, sustainable energy planning, energy reporting and energy efficiency services. For more information about Certification in Energy Excellence, see the web site at

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commercial real estate owners and managers and their service product providers in the GTA and beyond. With the support of the Ontario Power Authority, the BOMA CDM Program has expanded to include additional incentives for tenants and consultants alike. “We are broadening our reach substantially,” says Wayne Proulx, CDM Program Director. “Energy conservation will work best when all stakeholders are directly involved, and that is our goal.”

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Energy Management

Adjusting the Technology Template

Photos courtesy of Energy Network Services

LED Lighting Improves Ambience and Footprint of Plaza By Krishan Bhatia

Interchange Plaza, a big box entertainment and retail centre on a prominent site with views to Highways 400, 407 and 7 in Vaughan, is an early participant in Bentall LP’s Forever Green program to promote waste diversion and greenhouse gas reducing technologies. Bentall’s retail management group aimed to reduce the plaza’s carbon footprint through new outdoor lighting that could more sustainably maintain well-lit and safe parking lots, streets and pedestrian ways for customers and employees. The existing mid-1990s-vintage fixtures and light sources delivered an uneven quality of light, and resulted in hot spots. The lighting designers opted for LED technology, which provides better optical control, long operating life, and full cutoff capabilities to reduce light pollution. LED lighting systems are also well suited for outdoor lighting in the Canadian climate because they perform better in lower temperatures. When ambient temperatures drop below 16°C, the rate life of the system is increased.

In keeping with Forever Green’s mandate to test new technologies and identify best practices and approaches that could be applied at more properties, 20% of the lights at Interchange Plaza were initially replaced. An LED area light was chosen for its flexibility to achieve delivered lumen values and its extremely high documented life, which exceeds 100,000 operating hours before a lumen depreciation of 30%. The existing shoebox luminaire equipped with 250W metal halide lamp resulted in a consumption of 290W per fixture; whereas the new LED luminaire operates with a total consumption of 109W per fixture. The new lighting system provides a 40% increase of delivered lumens with a much greater uniformity of light distribution. Since the LED

system contains no heavy metals such as mercury, there has also been a reduction of hazardous materials equating to diversion of 4.2 grams of mercury from waste processes generated from the site over the life of the LED system. This further complies with the Forever Green mandate. There is a peak kilowatt demand reduction of 5.6 kW or 181 W per fixture. An electrical consumption reduction of 30,806 kWh annually across the thirty-one assemblies equates to 9,000 lbs of CO2 gas emission reduction. pmr Krishan Bhatia is President of Energy Network Services, the lighting designer for the LED system installation at Interchange Plaza. For more information, see the web site at

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Environmental Management

Excess Irrigation Often Overlooked

Weather and Plant Needs Should Dictate Watering Schedule By David Sim

Many property and facilities

Most irrigation systems operate on a set-and-forget program that ensures they operate in the middle of the night, three or four times per week.


managers have taken steps to reduce obvious waste because it makes both financial and environmental sense to do so. Sometimes it’s not obvious, however. Overlooked systems in a facility can consume a significant amount of resources, but, once identified, can present an opportunity for savings. Low-flush toilets, aerating showerheads and retrofits of cooling towers are often the first steps in a water conservation program. The landscape irrigation system should also be included. A landscape irrigation system is literally an outdoor plumbing system of pipes and valves with hundreds of fixtures in the form of sprinklers. Most irrigation systems operate on a set-and-forget program that ensures they operate in the middle of the night, three or four times per week. Typical irrigation operates whether or not it’s needed. Leaks, line breaks and waste can go undetected for years, causing infrastructure or landscape damage that may go unnoticed until the point when expensive repairs are required. Many people are surprised by how much water those little sprinklers use. For example, one rotor-style sprinkler uses up to nine litres per minute for typically 30 minutes a night. That’s 810 litres per week when operating three times per week and 16,200 litres during a 20-week season – just from one fixture. A small 10-zone system with 10 rotors per zone will use 1.6 million litres per year. Significant savings can be achieved by simply reducing the frequency of irrigation – i.e. not watering while it is raining or the day after it has rained – and eliminating overspray. A landscape irrigation auditor can help identify problem areas and recommend water saving technologies with surprisingly short paybacks. Some of those saving opportunities are evident at 75 Wynford Heights Crescent, a 24-storey residential condominium in north Toronto. After completing an energy conservation review in 2007, property manager Melinda Cassar, of Brookfield Residential Services Ltd., began searching for other opportunities for conservation within the 28-year-old facility. Water consumption was identified as a concern that required further examination. A water auditing firm was called in to evaluate the building’s irrigation system and

Environmental Management determine if there was unrecognized waste in the system that could be eliminated. The complete audit of the irrigation system included a comprehensive equipment inventory and covered system static and dynamic pressure readings, existing programming and zone allocations, soil evaluation and infiltration rates, and micro-climate identification. The resulting report highlighted the following key findings: • Numerous pipe leaks and breaks • Damaged or vandalized irrigation heads • Mixed precipitation rates • Inoperative rain switch • System over pressurized by 50% • Programming resulting in up to 600% more water being applied than the soil can absorb. The report also calculated that the daily and weekly irrigation schedule amounted to an annual water consumption of 6.9 million litres at a real life cost of $12,000 per year. Meanwhile, the evaluation of the irrigation area, plant types, soil composition and micro-climates indicated that the amount of water required for a healthy landscape was more in the order of 2.7 million litres, which would cost less than $5,000. Put simply, the irrigation system at 75 Wynford Heights Crescent was using 300% more water than the plants required, at an extra cost of $7,000 per year. Following the irrigation auditor’s recommendations, the condominium corporation’s board and management elected to implement the following improvements to the system: • Rewrite programming to match soil infiltration rates • Match the precipitation rates of irrigation heads to approach uniform distribution • Install water-efficient nozzles that reduce overspray and eliminate drift • Regulate the system’s pressure to match the manufacturer’s specification • Install a centrally monitored irrigation controller that uses real-time weather data to set irrigation schedules and monitors system performance to identify and alert to equipment failures. All work was completed by May 15th, 2009 and the results recorded over the duration of the irrigation season. Approximately 1.6 million litres were used in landscape irrigation over the course of the irrigating season – an amount less than estimated due to rainfall. The investment paid for itself in less than one year. pmr David Sim is Director of Sales and Solutions with SMART Watering Systems Inc., the water auditor and irrigation system consultant at 75 Wynford Heights Crescent. For more information see the web site at

The irrigation system was using 300% more water than the plants required, at an extra cost of $7,000 per year. Up Top v(45X73):Layout 1


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Environmental Management

Convenient Drop-offs Encourage Electronics Recycling In-Suite Battery Collection Recommended By Erin Melnyk




equipment waste such as computers, phones, batteries, televisions, stereos and small home appliances contain chemicals that can harm human health and wildlife. Canadians now discard about 140,000 tons of electronic waste annually and that amount is on the rise as they upgrade electronic devices more frequently than ever before. Computers and televisions alone are estimated to contribute 4,750 tons of hazardous lead to Canadian landfills every year. Two current programs designed to redirect waste from landfills include: Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES), a not-for-profit organization of retail, information technology and consumer electronic companies responsible for implementing the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Program in cooperation with Waste Diversion Ontario; and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), an industry-developed rating system to encourage sustainable


Environmental Management

building development, operations and maintenance. WEEE Phase 1 was launched in April 2009 to collect items such as televisions, laptop and desktop computers, desktop printers and fax machines. Phase 2, which is set to begin April 1, 2010, will expand to include items such as cameras, cellular phones and audiovisual equipment. In total, 44 materials will be covered. Currently, there 262 collectors and four approved processors participating, along with many transportation and handling firms. Approved WEEE collectors can also be well placed to help property management firms devise waste electronics recycling or reuse programs that can help garner LEED points. Some issues that are likely to arise include how to securely dispose of computer equipment housing confidential data, divert all electronic waste generated within the building from landfill, and document the amount of materials diverted and recycled. Electronic waste consultants can visit the site to analyze the amount and types of electronic waste being generated then help maintain on-site organization. This could be accomplished with electronic material collection bins to allow the building tenants to conveniently drop off electronic items like computers, monitors and printers, as well as on-site pickup of the bins and transportation to a government approved recycling facility. Stand-alone kiosks and desktop collection boxes are recommended for smaller items such as cell phones, ink and toner cartridges. Separate collection buckets for batteries can be distributed to all tenants’ premises to enable in-office collection. Employees appreciate the simple solution for disposal. Employee e-waste collection days can also be a popular event – allowing all building occupants to bring end-of-life electronic waste to work and drop it off in supplied bins for proper disposal. pmr

Canadians now discard about 140,000 tons of electronic waste annually and that amount is on the rise as they upgrade electronic devices more frequently than ever before.

Erin Melnyk is Assistant Sales Manager with Greentec, a company specializing in the recovery and secure recycling of print cartridges, cell phones, computer assets and consumer electronics. For more information, see the web site at For more information about the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Program see


Environmental Management

Heavy Lifting Leads to Transformed Space Green Roof Retrofit Poses Some Challenges

Photos courtesy of Gardens in the Sky

By Terry McGlade

ESRI Canada, a leading geographic information systems (GIS) software company based in Toronto, recently revamped its headquarters in a heavily trafficked older industrial area adjoining the Don Valley Parkway with a green roof. Company President, Alex Miller, envisioned the project as way to promote environmental responsibility and also cheer up the somewhat austere surroundings. “We wanted to create a demonstration of an environmental asset for the city on our roof,” he says. “Opaque surfaces in the sun can easily reach 40, 50 and even 60° C, but vegetation brings in temperature control because leaves are about 21° C all the time. If 8% of all existing roofs in Toronto were green, surface temperatures in the city would be reduced by one to two degrees Celsius.” Planning began in 2007 with input from the building’s landlord, Crown Property Management. The project faced several challenges, including winds, load capacity, building height and the need to protect and avoid damaging the glass curtain wall. Because the green installation was going on an existing 20-year-old roof that hadn’t been built to accommodate it, some structural reinforcement was required. The designer opted for a modular system for the 7,100-square-foot (660-square-metre) surface, which allows for sections to be removed and


re-installed whenever repairs are required to the building. Wind velocity, particularly at six storeys above ground, was factored into choosing and installing the plants. An 85-ton crane was employed for the heavy lifting, which included eight-foot pine trees each planted in a 36-inch root ball and a separate container. The total project encompassed 100 yards of soil, 56 planter boxes – 14 of which measured four feet in height, width and length – and 4,000 individual modules of live root plants, which, at 65 pounds each, collectively weighed 260,000 pounds. Further complicating the schedule, crane availability and other logistical considerations in a building housing day-to-day business meant that work could occur only Saturdays and Sundays. This was carried out with a crew of eight working


12-hour days for three weekends in early May 2009. Luckily, there were no high winds until after the craning work was complete. Capital costs for the ESRI installation are in the range of $25 to $35 per square foot. However, it qualified for a grant from the City of Toronto’s 2009 Eco-Roof Incentive Program for Green Roofs in Toronto, which provides an incentive of $50 per square metre ($4.60 per square foot). On the operating cost side of the equation, other benefits can be seen as green roofs: • retain rainwater, which reduces runoff and minimizes storm drain requirements • cool surrounding air and reduce ambient heat • absorb airborne toxins and provide additional land area • provide better heat and sound insulation • improve air quality

Environmental Management

• increase park space and enhance aesthetics. Employees at ESRI can now step out into a colourful mixture of seasonal perennials and tall grasses intermingled with sedums on what was previously concrete space with patio pavers. It has become a beautiful outdoor space for office meetings, corporate events and lunch breaks. The company celebrated its showpiece new habitat for birds and butterflies this summer with a reception for customers and partners – including some initial sceptics. “Now the landlord has become an environmental convert,” Miller reports. pmr Terry McGlade is Manager of the Green Roof Division of Flynn Canada Inc. and the founder of Gardens in the Sky, the designer and contractor for the green roof project at ESRI Canada. For more information, see the web site at PROPERTY MANAGEMENT REPORT November 2009 21

Energy Management

Energy Modelling Software Supports Sustainable Design By Mike Laurie

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a parametric software platform that provides realistic building models that can test and analyze different energy strategies. Once comprehensive information about the existing building is uploaded, different scenarios can be applied to see what the cost savings outcome will be for each one. BIM was originally created to assist projects that were still in the design stage, especially those seeking LEED certification. It can show beforeand-after effects, while experimenting with various plans and ideas. BIM can analyze the flow of energy in and out of a building based on factors such as the architectural design, building materials, structural layout, the forms of energy used, usage patterns of occupants, local weather conditions and the orientation of the property. Future energy costs can also be estimated for side-byside comparisons and cost benefit analysis. It is also possible to chart life cycle energy costs and perform a comprehensive carbon neutrality analysis. To begin, an updated digital model of the existing building is created to establish

benchmarks and as-built measurements based on an up-to-date interpretation of the BOMA standard. The model can be calibrated to reflect the current energy use and utility bills of the existing building, for example. Then the owner can perform any number of creative and informative exercises to find out how those numbers are affected by various changes to the building. Data such as room sizes, floor plans, the dimensions and configurations of windows and doors, the insulation value in walls, the HVAC capacity, and the energy consumption impact of occupied units versus vacancies can be factored in. Optional information like preferred thermostat settings, the number of occupants, light and equipment power densities, and thermal details for walls, windows, or other components of the structure can provide still more detail for the calculations. Local climatic conditions can also be considered. For example, excess rain would affect landscape watering and water reclamation, for example, whereas cloud cover impacts solar panels and the use of natural lighting. Similarly, strong wind currents in one direction might

influence the R-factor of insulation only on that side of the building or inform the most strategic location of wind turbines. pmr Mike Laurie, P.Eng, is President of PLANiT Measuring. For more information, see the web site at



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Environmental Management

Health Care in a Healthy Venue

LEED Gold Facility a Catalyst for Waterfront Redevelopment

The unique green design of the Grey Bruce Health Unit incorporates sustainable principles and draws from a vision that takes responsibility for a healthier environment. Design elements using natural and environmentally sustainable materials and systems create a healthy workplace and are an investment in community wellness. The three-storey, 5,000-square-metre (50,000 square feet) Health Unit has achieved LEED Gold certification, sets a new standard for local sustainable development and acts as a catalyst to encourage future redevelopment along Owen Sound’s heritage waterfront. The building was designed to leave a minimal footprint on the natural environment, make efficient use of energy, water and material resources, provide a healthy work environment and create an inviting, functional and educational building for visitors. The site selected for the new facility was a brownfield site, which was contaminated with hydrocarbons and heavy metals. The Health Unit improved the environmental health of the building from project inception by beginning construction with soil remediation measures.

Photo courtesy of Grey Bruce Health Unit

By Steve Kemp

Soil erosion and sedimentation control measures and a long-term phosphorous reduction plan protect local water bodies. This is especially important because the building is situated overlooking scenic Georgian Bay, where the region’s sport fishery is economically important. A large area of the property is permanently devoted to landscaped open space. This space provides pleasant surroundings for building


occupants and visitors, improves air quality and allows rainwater to infiltrate the ground. To reduce the building’s impact on the urban heat island, a reflective white membrane covers the entire roof area. To reduce transportation impacts, the Health Unit is located close to public transportation and provides facilities for cyclists. Safer working conditions during construction and better indoor air is provided when

Environmental Management construction-related contaminants do not enter the air stream. Protective measures include sealing ductwork during construction, using a sweeping compound regularly and protecting absorbent building materials from humidity and dust. Common indoor air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds and urea formaldehyde are reduced by the selection of carpeting, paints, coatings, sealants and adhesives that are certified as low off-gassing. In addition, the Health Unitâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s green housekeeping program specifies the use of non-polluting cleaning products: carpet cleaner, multipurpose cleaner, glass cleaner and disinfectant. Superior ventilation is an important part of healthy buildings. Carbon dioxide monitors located in classrooms and meeting rooms control ventilation levels. When more fresh air is required (when more people are using the room), a greater amount of outside air is supplied. When rooms are not in use, ventilation levels are reduced to save energy. Giving people some control over office conditions and the provision of natural light are also part of a healthy work environment. At the Health Unit, operable windows are provided in all perimeter rooms and natural daylight and views to the outdoors are provided for almost all indoor spaces. The building is designed to achieve a 39% reduction in energy cost compared with a similar building constructed to conventional standards. Energy conservation measures include a well-insulated building envelope, high performance windows, occupancy sensors that turn off lights in unoccupied areas and daylighting sensors that adjust electric light levels when daylight is available. Other features include exhaust air energy recovery, ultra energy-efficient condensing boilers and variable speed drives on mechanical equipment that adjust to building requirements. The Grey Bruce Health Unit has embarked on a comprehensive program of building commissioning and a long-term energy monitoring program. The Grey Bruce Public Health Unit will achieve a commendable 60% reduction in the use of potable water. The savings result from a combination of using rainwater (stored in a cistern) for toilet flushing and the use of low-flow plumbing fixtures. The choice in plumbing fixtures includes dual-flush toilets. Together these measures will save more than 1.8 million litres of high-quality treated water each year. pmr


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Development Outlook

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The federal and Ontario governments have each committed $5 million toward Pickering’s long envisioned pedestrian bridge spanning Highway 401. It will connect the Pickering GO Station on the south side of multiple lanes of traffic to a new Class A, LEED Silver office tower that 20 Vic Management Inc. is now overseeing the development of on the north side. A $20-million, 500-space parking facility that would serve GO Transit users is planned for the lower levels of the eight-storey the office tower. 20 Vic Management Inc. is also the property manager of the Pickering Town Centre, where the office tower is going up on land previously used for the mall’s outdoor parking. Site availability and synergies with surrounding facilities helped make the economic case for the project, which will be owned by the Ontario Pension Board. The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) now occupies another nearby office building and has leased 55% of the new office space, which is to be ready for occupancy in 2011. The City of Pickering has been welcoming through its policy of waiving 75% of development charges for new office projects. “The City is very pro development,” says Bruno Bartel, 20 Vic Management’s Construction Manager. “From a regional point of view, there are development fee incentives to build there.” GO Transit will operate the parking garage on levels two and three of the tower. This space

26 november 2009 PROPERTY MANAGEMENT REPORT ReadAir_PMR_Apr09.indd 1

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Development Outlook

â&#x20AC;&#x153;The City is very pro development,â&#x20AC;? says Bruno Bartel, 20 Vic Managementâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Construction Manager. â&#x20AC;&#x153;From a regional point of view, there are development fee incentives to build there.â&#x20AC;? will also be connected to a separate parking structure to be built on the north side of the building. The levels above the parking facility provide 85,000 square feet of office space on floor plates of 17,000 square feet. Construction is now underway. Energyefficient building systems and an innovative storm water filtration system are among the features expected to help secure LEED Silver status. Meanwhile, the new pedestrian bridge will open up easy access to public transit â&#x20AC;&#x201C; another consideration in LEED certification. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This enclosed walkway across the 401 will make it easier and more convenient for Pickering residents to get on the train and Durham Region transit,â&#x20AC;? notes Vanessa Thomas, Media Relations & Issues Specialist for GO Transit. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re hoping to make it more and more attractive to hop on a GO Train or the GO Bus and for people to leave their cars at home.â&#x20AC;? The footings for the bridge have been in place since Highway 401 was widened through Pickering more than 10 years ago. Bridge design is in progress â&#x20AC;&#x201C; including consideration of a proposal to incorporate solar panels on its roof â&#x20AC;&#x201C; with construction now scheduled to be completed in 2011. Funding for the pedestrian bridge comes from the federal Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, which has earmarked $4 billion for construction projects to be built in 2009-10 and 2010-11. pmr

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Development Outlook

Development Responds to Pressure and Pragmatism Growing Demand for Mixed-Use, Transit-Oriented Communities By Todd Litman

Smart growth consists of land use development patterns that emphasize accessibility and modal diversity, as opposed to dispersed automobile-dependent development, which is often called sprawl. Smart growth can include detached singlefamily housing on small lots of less than 7,000 square feet or multi-family housing. It is typified by compact, mixed-use, multimodal locations that offer good walking and cycling conditions and nearby shops, and are served by high-quality public transit. Studies of changing consumer preferences indicate that during the next two decades, the existing supply of large-lot housing can meet anticipated demand, but small-lot and multifamily housing supply will need to nearly double. Until 1990, more than two-thirds of households preferred sprawl-housing locations and less than a third preferred smart growth. It is now 50-50. Within two more decades, it is projected less than one-third will prefer sprawl and more than two-thirds will prefer smart growth. Smart growth can apply in many geographic conditions: • Urban: medium and high-density mixeduse development concentrated around transit stations, known as transit-oriented development • Suburban: small-lot and low-rise mixeduse, walkable neighborhoods, known as new urbanism and neo-traditional planning • Rural: development clustered in walkable urban villages, connected by ride-sharing and public transit and roads with adequate shoulders to accommodate bicycles. Prior to 1950, most development reflected these principles, resulting in relatively compact multi-modal communities. From 1950 to 1990, policies favoured sprawling automobiledependent development. In recent years, some communities have started applying smart growth principles again under the labels of new urbanism, which tends to reflect site and neighbourhood scale planning, or smart growth, which tends to reflect local and regional scale planning. Critics argue that smart growth relies primarily on negative incentives, such as urban growth boundaries and vehicle travel restrictions, but these are only a small portion of smart growth policies.

Many smart growth strategies reflect good planning practices and directly benefit residents. They increase land use accessibility, which reduces time and money required to reach common destinations, and improve housing options with more housing types, affordable housing and accessible neighborhoods. Smart growth offers improved transportation options, providing conditions for walking, cycling, ride-sharing, public transit and car-sharing, and also provides new opportunities to save money such as unbundled parking and lower development and utility fees in compact locations. With typical smart growth policies, most households can still choose single-family homes and automobile travel when they truly prefer those options. A significant degree of sprawl results from planning and market distortions that favour dispersed, urban expansion over more compact mixed-use development, and automobile travel over other modes. As a result, current planning reduces housing and access options – particularly affordable housing in accessible, multi-modal communities. Smart growth policies help correct these distortions, creating more neutral policies that expand housing and transportation options so households can choose the combination that best reflects their needs and preferences. POLICY BIAS Many current policies and practices tend to favour lower-density, automobile-oriented development over smart growth. These include: • Generous public spending on roads and parking facilities, which often degrades urban neighborhoods and encourages sprawled development. • Zoning codes and development policies that limit density and mix, and mandate generous parking supply. • Taxes and utility rates that fail to reflect the savings that result from more compact, accessible development. • Public housing and infrastructure investment that favours greenfield development over redevelopment of existing communities. • Planning that evaluates transport system performance based on the ease of driving and therefore favours automobile travel over other forms of accessibility.


• Lending policies that treat household automobile ownership as an asset, rather than a liability, and ignore financial savings that result from location-efficient housing. • Various policies and programs intended to support home ownership as an asset, including home mortgage interest income tax deductions, targeted housing loan programs and home financing agencies. Many policies intended to increase home ownership also tended to favour single-family suburban housing. Certain economic traps, or situations in which people compete in ways that waste resources, encourage suburbanization. From an individual household’s perspective, problems such as neighbourhood poverty, crime and inferior schools can be addressed either by helping to solve them or by moving to another location. Moving away concentrates and therefore exacerbates the problem, but, once the process starts, flight is generally easier. Once begun, urban degradation, declining urban tax revenues and declining urban service quality can force households that actually prefer urban environments to choose automobiledependent home locations. For many people, suburban housing represented a bundle of goods: home ownership and therefore investment equity (particularly before condominiums became available in the 1970s); larger homes and yards; separation from poverty; increased safety or, at least, the perception of safety; superior schools; and more status. Households became rationally irrational. They purchased homes in more isolated, automobiledependent locations than was optimal in order to obtain other desired attributes. This is not to suggest that suburban living and automobile travel are harmful and should be eliminated. Large-lot, urban-fringe housing is appropriate for many households and automobile travel is the best mode for many trips. However, historical planning biases have created more automobile-oriented land use patterns than is optimal for consumers and society. Policy and planning reforms that create more accessible, multi-modal communities with features such as attractive homes, neighbourhood security and highquality schools could result in options that better reflect consumer preferences and maximize social benefits.

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Development Outlook SHIFTING PREFERENCES Second, preference for smart growth is likely to Various factors suggest that the number of increase due to demographic, economic and households that want more smart growth is market trends such as aging population, rising much larger than the number wanting more fuel prices, increasing traffic congestion, and sprawl. First, consumer preference surveys increasing health and environmental concerns. indicate that a greater proportion of These trends are durable and cumulative and suburban residents want more accessible, some are only beginning to have their full impact multi-modal communities compared to on housing demand. Over the next two decades, urban residents wanting more suburban the portion of consumers who prefer smart locations. For example, the SMARTRAQ growth over sprawl should continue to grow. study found that in 2001-2002, between 20 For example, the United States currently and 40%Forest_Condo_Sept09.pdf of residents strongly 10/7/09 preferred10:32:37 has about 92 million suburban and rural AM walkable neighborhoods although 5% of homes that can be considered sprawl, and 36 current housing is located in such areas. million urban homes that can be considered

smart growth. If 20% of each group prefers the other housing type, there would be 7.1 million urban households that prefer suburban locations, and 18.5 million suburban households that prefer urban locations. To meet this need, suburban and rural housing must increase 7.8%, while urban housing supply must increase 51%. Smart growth locations, such as older urban neighborhoods and new transitoriented communities are often less affordable because inadequate supply drives up prices. The rational response is to significantly increase the supply of smart growth housing to bring smart growth benefits within the budget of more consumers â&#x20AC;&#x201C; particularly economically and physically disadvantaged households. UNSUBSTANTIATED CRITICISM It is wrong to claim that smart growth policies harm consumers by restricting their housing choices. Sprawl housing is now abundantly available and relatively inexpensive. Many consumers who purchase these discounted homes may regret their inaccessibility and automobile dependency and wish that past policies had favoured more accessible, multimodal development so their affordable housing would have lower transportation costs. Smart growth critics are wrong to claim that sprawled development and automobiledependent lifestyles are normal and socially desirable. These development patterns reflect unique circumstances that occurred between 1950 and 1980: growing vehicle ownership; family formation in the Baby Boom generation; low fuel prices; increased female employment; middle class flight from cities; highway expansion; and the excitement and prestige that resulted from rapid technological development. Virtually all of those factors have peaked. Driving will probably never again be as cheap or as exciting as it was during that period. When smart growth critics claim that sprawl is a universal preference, they likely reflect their own preferences and those of their peers. However, evidence suggests that many younger people prefer more urban neighborhoods, enjoy physically active transport like walking and cycling, and care more about telecommunications technologies (mobile telephone and the Internet) than about motor vehicles. pmr Todd Litman is with the Victoria Transport Policy Institute. The preceding article is excerpted from his research paper, Where We Want to Be: Home Location Preferences and their Implications for Smart Growth. For more information, see the web site at




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Property Management Report - November 2009  
Property Management Report - November 2009  

Property Management Report - November 2009