The sprawling former headquarters of Sears Canada is about to undergo one of the biggest green building retrofits on record in North America.
The government of Ontario, Canada, which recently bought the Toronto building, is spending about $100 million to convert the complex into 455,000 square feet of state-of-the-art green office space.
The office building will be a proving grounds of sorts for Ontario’s recently passed Green Energy Act, as the building will incorporate many initiatives outline in the law.
The building will be retrofitted to LEED Gold levels, according to a press release.
The office complex, according to the release, may rely on the following sustainable features:
- A green roof
- Solar energy
- Daylight & occupancy sensors for optimal lighting control
- State-of-the-art IT infrastructure
- Wireless infrastructure to reduce the need to travel to meetings
- Less vehicle parking and more bicycle storage to encourage green commuting
The retrofit is the first to come under the Toronto Accommodation Plan, a government economic initiative to create jobs by greening and retrofitting Ontario government buildings in Toronto. Efforts are coordinated by the Ontario Realty Corporation.
Toronto-based WZMH Architects is leading the design of the green workplace, with the retrofit scheduled to kick off this summer and be complete in 2011.
The retrofit of the former Sears Canada headquarters joins other large-scale office complex green retrofits, including the Empire State Building in New York City.
In other news about green construction projects in urban areas, the Climate Positive Development Program will try to establish real estate developments that reduce the net amount of on-site CO2 emissions to below zero.
Initially, the program is focusing on 16 projects worldwide, with an emphasis on economically viable innovations in building construction, generation of clean energy, waste management, water management, transportation and outdoor lighting systems. The Climate Positive Development Program is a partnership between the Clinton Climate Initiative and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which certifies buildings by its LEED standards. The Clinton Climate Initiative is a project of the William J. Clinton Foundation.