By Greg McMillan
Ledcor Renew probably went out on a limb when providing both construction and energy performance guarantees before undertaking the retrofit of an office building at 77 Bloor Street West.
But now, after the renovation and optimization of the 21-storey building in the heart of Toronto’s downtown business district, a six-month period of monitoring and assessment has taken place and the results have been as originally foreseen.
“After six months, the building has been through an extremely cold winter and part of a moderate summer,” says Morgan McDonald, Director of Operations with Ledcor Renew. “Our analysis shows that we are right on track to meet the nearly 40 per cent energy reduction that we predicted.
“Verifying performance is a challenging but vital part of our work. After 12 months, we will repeat the process, striving to improve on the input data so that we can reduce the uncertainty in our calculations.”
A spokesperson for Morguard Brokerage, Renew Ledcor’s client for the project, shared in McDonald’s satisfaction with the entire process.
“We are extremely pleased that the performance guarantee is moving ahead as we envisioned,” says Tullio Capulli, Morguard’s Vice President, Property Management Office & Industrial, “and the energy savings for our HVAC in the past six months has decreased 36%, taking into account adjustments related to weather and occupancy.
“With electricity costs increasing yearly we are extremely happy with the savings to date and [anticipated] in the future.”
Moving ahead, McDonald says the building will be pursuing LEED for Existing Buildings, targeting a Gold classification.
When the project began over four years ago, Ledcor Renew, which specializes in retrofitting existing structures, got the ball rolling by demonstrating to Morguard that a business case could be made showing how the site would be rejuvenated for another 25-plus years.
During the retrofit, finished in September 2013, a number of special challenges arose – not the least of which was doing all the work while the building was fully occupied.
Looking back, McDonald says Ledcor Renew offered a fixed price construction guarantee as well as a performance guarantee to the client.
“Not knowing what is possible can sometimes be a barrier to decision making,” he says. “But this is part of our service offering; working with our clients to develop, design, build, and perform deep green retrofits on aging buildings in our urban centres.”
He says evaluating performance began back when the project was still a concept on paper.
“We had to anticipate all of the changes we would make as a result of our project, as well as the changes to the building that might take place independent of our project, so that we could isolate, forecast, and later verify, the energy savings attributable to our project alone.”
Energy modeling for the project, he says, was done by M&E consultant, Enermodal Engineering (now part of MMM Group.)
“Post retrofit, we gathered data on energy conservation, weather, building occupancy and any changes to how the building is being used since the original energy model was created,” McDonald points out. “Our method follows the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP) Option C, which is for a whole-building retrofit using real data as opposed to just the energy model.”
This innovative project at 77 Bloor Street West included the renovation and optimization of a 21-storey office building with ground floor retail at the corner of Bay and Bloor Streets, one of Canada’s most prominent retail shopping districts. Amenities included are shopping, dining (including on-site), entertainment, galleries, art dealers, banking, convenience store and two levels of underground parking. The goal was to reposition the building as Class A calibre, improving the overall long-term returns as well as tenant comfort and retention. Ledcor Renew, a Ledcor Group business division that specializes in retrofitting existing structures, was chosen as a partner to help measure, examine, analyze and implement a building retrofit to achieve those goals.