Ontario to spend $100m on green office retrofit

In its drive to position the province as the green capital of North America, the government of Ontario is investing C$100m (£56m) on retrofitting a major office complex.

The provincial government recently acquired the Toronto office building that used to house Sears Canada and plans to invest the cash in one of the largest ever retrofits in the continent.

The plan will not only significantly cut the carbon footprint of the 455,000ft² complex but also create 1,000 new jobs in the city.

The retrofit will feature energy efficiency measures such as daylight and occupancy sensors for lighting controls, low energy IT infrastructure and a green roof as well as the addition of on-site solar panels to reduce external energy demand.

It will also include measures to encourage greener working practices such as less car parking spaces and more bike storage and communications technology to make distance-working and remote meetings easier.

The plan will be led by the Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC), on behalf of the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure.

"We are bringing to life our government's commitment to greening Ontario's buildings and along with it creating green jobs and fuelling a green economy," said George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure.

"The Ontario government takes conservation leadership very seriously. We are getting our own house in order.

Dave Glass, president and CEO of Ontario Realty Corporation added: "ORC is embracing sustainability by retrofitting buildings to green standards and enhancing the value of the government's real property in an environmentally, socially and economically responsible manner.

"This project presents a unique opportunity to renovate a 40-year old building and create a greener, more efficient workplace that will be used as a model for retrofits across the province."

Sam Bond


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