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November 28, 2018

Green standards reach new heights in Vancouver office tower development

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Is Canada a green leader or a LEED laggard when it comes to building for climate change and the 21st-century environment? One of Canada’s biggest commercial developers hopes to Stack the deck.

Oxford Properties Group is building the Stack officer tower in downtown Vancouver – the largest development now under way in that city and one of the first high-rise buildings in Canada to be built to the “net zero carbon” emissions standard.

The project, whose ownership is shared equally by Oxford and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, will meet the standard launched last year by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), which also licenses the better-known LEED (leadership in environmental excellence and design) standards, which recognize different levels of sustainability in construction and maintenance.

“This has never been done in an office tower in Canada before,” says Daniel O’Donnell, Oxford Properties’ director of media. Construction will begin next year on the Class AAA, 540,000-square-foot office development, which will be 161.5 metres high and 36 storeys, making it the tallest in the city, with completion scheduled for 2022.

Net zero carbon is a big – and necessary – step forward for commercial construction in a world that will be buffeted more and more by climate change, with Canada not excluded, says Andrew McAllan, Oxford’s head of real estate management and former chair of CaGBC.

“There’s a convergence of interests in sustainable building. Some are altruistic and some are just good, old-fashioned capitalism,” he says.

On the capitalism side, the Stack has already secured preleases for 207,00 square feet – more than a third of the building, which is still on the drawing board. Three major tenants are on board: Ernst & Young LLP, and major law firms Blakes and DLA Piper.

It is also in developers’ self-interest to cater to environment-friendly trends, such as building in downtown areas closer to where office workers live, and to add amenities, such as easy-to-reach facilities for storing bicycles and parking shared cars, Mr. McAllan says.

Keep reading in The Globe and Mail


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