Co-operators earns zero carbon certification for corporate headquarters

101 Cooper St. Guelph
The construction site in Aug. 2022 (Google Street View)

Ontario Construction News staff writer

With construction well-underway, Co-operators new head office in Guelph has earned Zero Carbon Building – Design Standard certification from the Canada Green Building Council (CAGBC).

When it opens in summer 2024, the 226,000 sq. ft. building at 101 Cooper Dr. will feature an all-electric design that eliminates direct carbon emissions from any onsite source, meaning no retrofits or decarbonization plan will be required as the organization progresses toward its net zero targets.

The building will be highly energy-efficient and minimize indirect annual carbon emissions from electricity, offsetting any remaining emissions through high-quality carbon offsets or carbon-free renewable energy. Also, ’embodied carbon’ emissions resulting from construction, manufacturing, transportation and disposal of all building materials will be significantly reduced or offset.

According to the CGHB, the building sector is Canada’s third-largest emitter with residential, commercial, and institutional buildings contributing 17 per cent of greenhouse gas (CGC) emissions and once building materials and construction are included, this level approaches  30 per cent.

“Achieving the zero carbon building – design standard certification for our national headquarters is a strong reflection of our values and vision to catalyze sustainability in our society,” said Shawn Fitzgerald, vice-president workplace services at Co-operators. “This building is a compelling demonstration of imagination and innovation that will be required as we build for a more sustainable future in Canada.

“We have an important role to play in mitigating the risks of climate change in a direct and meaningful way, helping move Canada and the world towards a net zero emissions future.”

“With this certification, Co-operators joins a growing list of forward-thinking organizations investing in the future through zero carbon buildings,” said Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council. “Our made-in-Canada and globally recognized Zero Carbon Building standards provide tangible ways for organizations like Co-operators to realize their sustainability targets. Paired with LEED and WELL, the Co-operators headquarters promises to be a marquee green building offering enduring value and resiliency for the company and a healthy and productive place to work for employees.”

Building features include:

  • 40 per cent greater energy and greenhouse gas savings beyond the Ontario Building Code’s all-electric baseline
  • 60 per cent heating load reduction beyond the code-minimum for new office builds
  • 282 kW rooftop solar array will generate approximately 9 per cent of the total annual building energy consumption
  • Highly insulated and airtight building will conserve energy
  • LED lighting equipped with occupancy and daylight harvesting sensors only turn on when needed.

In addition to Zero Carbon Building – Design Standard certification, the building is also targeting LEED Gold and WELL Platinum certifications.


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