Ontario Focus Spring 2022

Page 29

Initially, the VIA Rail team expected the process would be complex and daunting. However, they were pleasantly surprised by the overall ease of the certification process, the availability of comprehensive tools, resources, and pathways to certification. Using LEED’s policies and best practices, VIA Rail was able to identify further areas of improvement. Those insights resulted in the implementation of the Corporation’s Facility Renovation and Maintenance Policy, Green Cleaning Policy and Purchasing Policy. The Corporation was also able to identify energy reduction measures through the required detailed energy audits. “The certification process allowed us to identify several opportunities to improve the efficiency of the station’s operations, which then led to the implementation of changes to our building management processes and practices,” said Dominique Lemay, Chief Operating Officer. “Ultimately, our goal is not only to enhance the travel experience, but also to go further together. And it is by modernizing our infrastructure and services, and by making them greener, that we will lead Canadians to a more sustainable future.” The station also earned Transportation Performance credits for its convenient location. The Ottawa station connects VIA Rail’s passengers with other environmentally friendly travel options available in the National Capital Region, such as OC Transport light rail, bus services and bicycle access pathways in the warmer months. This allows commuters and visitors alike to access downtown Ottawa and Parliament Hill from virtually anywhere in the Corridor with ease.

A jewel in the National Capital The renovated Ottawa site is an energy efficient building that meets high standards in several key areas of environmental performance, including energy water consumption, waste diversion and human experience. In fact, its electrical and mechanical systems demonstrated superior energy performance, while water use was reduced through low-flow fixtures. The station also achieved a high waste management performance rate, diverting almost 50 per cent of waste from landfills.

Accessibility is another area of critical importance to VIA Rail, and at the Ottawa station, it was addressed through the installation of two elevators to facilitate access to all platforms. A heated boarding platform level with the train door for ease of boarding also features an access ramp with tactile elements for the visually impaired. The Corporation also continuously invests in sustainable solutions for its stations and operations. Some of these initiatives include the 2019 installation of beehives on the rooftop of the station in collaboration with Alvéole and offering a service animal relief area outside the station, as well as curb to platform assistance upon request from passengers.

A first of many As part of its commitment to modernize passenger rail service and contribute to a more sustainable, lowcarbon future, the Corporation is dedicated to creating more environmentally friendly and accessible stations and maintenance centres. In fact, VIA Rail’s priorities include the reduction of its operations’ carbon footprint, the efficient utilization of resources, waste minimization, and highlighting the environmental benefits of rail transportation by convincing more Canadians to take the train. The LEED certification of the Ottawa station was a first for VIA Rail and represents an important milestone for the Corporation, as it marks concrete action in support of its corporate sustainability commitment. The positive impact of this pilot project has inspired VIA Rail to scale up the use of LEED principles and policies in its network. Today, VIA Rail has plans to incorporate green building requirements and credits from LEED at other stations and maintenance centres. In fact, the Corporation already initiated a LEED certification process for its Winnipeg station and envisions more projects down the road.

SPRING 2022 Ontario FOCUS