Co-operators earns Zero Carbon Certification for new corporate headquarters

23 January 2023

Co-operators new building zero carbon certification

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

When it opens in the summer of 2024, the 226,000 sq. ft facility at 101 Cooper Drive in Guelph will feature an all-electric design that will eliminate direct carbon emissions from any onsite source, meaning no retrofits or decarbonisation plan will be required as the organisation progresses toward its net zero targets. The building will be highly energy-efficient and minimise indirect annual carbon emissions from electricity, offsetting any remaining emissions through high-quality carbon offsets or carbon-free renewable energy*. In addition, ’embodied carbon’ emissions resulting from construction, manufacturing, transportation and disposal of all building materials are also meaningfully reduced or offset.

According to the Canada Green Building Council, the building sector is Canada’s third-largest emitter. Today, residential, commercial, and institutional buildings contribute 17% of Canada’s greenhouse gas (CGC) emissions and once building materials and construction are included, this level approaches 30%.

“Achieving the Zero Carbon Building – Design Standard certification for our national headquarters is a strong reflection of our values and vision to catalyse 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 organisations 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 recognised Zero Carbon Building standards provide tangible ways for organisations like Co-operators to realise 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.”

Features of Co-operators’ new building include:

  • 40% greater energy and greenhouse gas savings beyond the Ontario Building Code’s all-electric baseline
  • 60% heating load reduction beyond the code-minimum for new office builds
  • 282 kW rooftop solar array will generate approximately 9% of the total annual building energy consumption
  • Automatic tinting windows will eliminate glare and reduce energy consumption
  • Highly insulated and airtight building will conserve energy
  • High-efficiency water source technology will recover and redistribute heat throughout the building
  • 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.

Co-operators’ journey to net zero

Co-operators first became carbon neutral in 2020 and in 2021 announced its commitment to reaching net zero emissions in its operations by 2040. To measurably demonstrate progress towards this goal, the organisation set an interim target to reduce its direct and indirect emissions resulting from corporate and financial advisor offices, business travel, fleet vehicles, use of IT assets and services, and employee commuting and working from home. By 2030, gross operational emissions will be reduced by 45 per cent. To reach net zero targets, all emissions must be fully eliminated or drastically reduced, with any residual emissions neutralised by 2040.


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