Building Magazine


Race to Reduce participants approach energy reduction goal ahead of schedule

Two years into CivicAction’s Race to Reduce and participating office buildings are just one percent away from the Race’s four-year energy reduction target. Race to Reduce, launched in 2011, aims to reduce participating buildings’ energy use by 10 percent by the end of 2014. The challenge, focusing on collaboration between commercial landlords and tenants, provides participants with a plan of action and a toolkit to help increase energy use awareness, decrease emissions, measure and monitor energy use and make positive changes.

To measure and monitor results, CivicAction adopted ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager as its benchmarking tool of choice. The tool makes it possible for participants to track and assess building energy consumption in a secure online environment.

The challenge was popular early on; by mid-2012, 30 percent, or over 5.5 million m2 (60 million square feet) of the Toronto region’s office space, was participating in the race,  including over half a million square metres  (5.8 million square feet) of building space in the Peel region. Forty major landlords and over 450 tenants registered 150 buildings.

In November 2012, CivicAction and its Leadership Council for the Toronto region’s major office building landlords and tenants held its second annual awards ceremony to celebrate that year’s winners. By that time, the Race had resulted in $25.8 million in energy savings and a collective two-percent energy reduction.

A year later, the impressive results continued to accumulate, and the third award event celebrated the successes of its winners. “To date, we have seen a cumulative energy reduction of nine percent, which has inspired even the most skeptical and has galvanized the resolve of participants to shoot for increasingly higher results,” says Brad Henderson, Senior Managing Regional Director at CBRE Limited and CivicAction’s Commercial Building Energy Leadership Council Co-Chair.

“Reaching a nine-percent reduction in just two short years has highlighted what landlords and tenants can achieve when they focus together on reducing energy, costs and carbon emissions,” said Roger Johnson, Senior Vice-President, Enterprise Real Estate, TD Bank Group and Co-Chair of CivicAction’s Commercial Building Energy Leadership Council. “It also demonstrates the ample opportunities for Race to Reduce participants and non-participants alike to achieve much greater energy savings.”

“Toronto tenants and landlords are exceeding OPA’s Conservation Fund expectations. We believe the Race to Reduce couples a comprehensive engagement program with measureable results that demonstrate how tenants and landlords can work together to truly transform how buildings consume energy,” said Andrew Pride, Vice-President, Conservation, Ontario Power Authority.

“What CivicAction and the Race to Reduce have been able to accomplish with their stakeholders is unprecedented,” says Brad Henderson. The collaboration has been incredible between the various stakeholders; as Henderson says, “Never underestimate the power of a competition to bring out the best in people.”

For more information on the Race to Reduce or how to join the challenge, visit To learn about this and past years’ award winners, visit the Race to Reduce 2013 award winners’ page. To learn more about ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, visit NRCan’s national building energy benchmarking initiative Web page.

Source: Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency Newsletter –  February 2014

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