Real estate company Dream and the Canada Infrastructure Bank launched a net-zero retrofit initiative on Thursday, involving 18 office buildings in Toronto and one in Saskatoon.
The company's goal is to reduce the selected buildings' carbon emissions by over 40 per cent in the next 36 months and to net-zero by 2035, according to a news release.
A $136 million investment from the Canada Infrastructure Bank is funding the work, as part of the Commercial Building Retrofits Initiative. Dream is the first real estate company in Canada to receive funds under the initiative.
"It's important to note that real estate accounts for nearly 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions," said Gordon Wadley, chief operating officer for Dream Office REIT, said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 36 Toronto St.
"It's really incumbent on all of us in the industry to make positive impacts with the real estate that we own and manage."
The 19 buildings that will be retrofitted range from boutique historical buildings to downtown high-rises, with the oldest building dating back to 1908, according to Wadley.
The 19 buildings are:
80 Richmond St.
67 Temperance St. W.
56 Temperance St. W.
350 Bay St.
366 Bay St.
74 Victoria St.
20 Toronto St.
36 Toronto St.
6 Adelaide St.
425 Bloor St. E.
438 University St.
655 Bay St.
2206 Eglinton Ave. E.
90 Sussex Centre (90 Burnhamthorpe Rd. W.)
50 Sussex Centre (50 Burnhamthorpe Rd. W.)
10 Lower Spadina Ave.
349 Carlaw Ave.
The Residences at Artscape Weston Common
Princeton Tower (Saskatoon, 123 2nd Ave. S)
The project will involve upgrading each buildings' existing systems – including boilers, heat pumps and cooling systems – to energy efficient systems and low-carbon heating sources.
Dream says the project will create approximately 1,500 new jobs, resulting in healthier workplaces for over 15,000 people.
"Ultimately, retrofits are urgently needed for the future of our building stock and in our collective fight against the climate crisis," said Wadley.
Deputy Mayor and City Councillor Ana Bailão was at the event on Thursday to express the city's support for the project, calling Dream's target of net-zero emissions by 2035 "laudable."
"One area we know that will have a great impact [on reducing greenhouse gas emissions] is in real estate," said Bailão.
"We only have to look around and see how many buildings, how many cranes, how [much] activity is going on. So this is an area [where] we need to act."