Although the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) recently reported that Canada had earned a failing grade on climate change action, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Canada sees itself as an agency of change within the commercial real estate industry.
A report prepared by Ecofys for the conservation organization WWF and the global insurance firm Allianz SE confirmed that Canada ended up at the bottom of the pack because our greenhouse gas emissions are not only still increasing, but Canada lacks a credible national plan to reduce emissions in the future. “BOMA Canada recognizes the urgency of addressing the issues surrounding climate change and has proactively developed a program to support the industry’s desire to manage and maintain properties in a more environmentally conscientious way.” said Diana Osler-Zortea, president of BOMA Canada. For example the BOMA BESt (Building Environmental Standards) voluntary program launched nationally four years ago, which BOMA says has been establishing mechanisms for common practices and increased sustainability across the industry.
The Ecofys scorecard highlights the fact that electricity and heating account for 34 per cent of Canada’s emissions, the greatest portion overall. “BOMA BESt specifically addresses electricity and heating usage in commercial buildings,” explains Osler-Zortea. “Buildings certified to BOMA BESt Levels 2, 3 or 4 are performing substantially better on several key environmental benchmarks, including using 11 per cent less energy and 18 per cent less water than the industry standard. It is results like these that have encouraged scores of national commercial real estate companies and the federal Public Works Government Services Canada (PWGSC) to adopt BOMA BESt for their entire portfolios of existing buildings,” she added, representing over 322 million square feet of commercial real estate in Canada. Over 1,100 buildings across Canada have achieved BOMA BESt certification thus far.