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50 year old property a model for environmental excellence

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Longstanding partnership between Colliers REMS and the City of Burnaby helped Deer Lake II win BOMA Net Zero Challenge Award

When Deer Lake II was awarded BOMA’s “Best in Class” for the Net Zero Challenge Award in 2019, it didn’t signify one year’s worth of interest in sustainability or the benefits of one year’s worth of energy retrofits. In fact, it was the culmination of a 20-year partnership between Colliers Real Estate Management Services (REMS) and the City of Burnaby, B.C.

When Colliers REMS assumed management of Deer Lake II, a 100,000 SF suburban property, the City of Burnaby had a goal of implementing continuous building improvements in line with their long-term capital plan. Buildings make up 30% of global energy and greenhouse gas emissions. Becoming more energy efficient demands a consistent and high level of commitment.

As a participant in the preparation of the City’s annual capital budget, Colliers REMS advised on what projects would have the most widespread impact, the most ideal time and source of investment, and where to secure the largest set of incentives. 

Over the past 20 years, energy use intensity (EUI) at Deer Lake II has been reduced by 50%, from 27.9 (in 2001) to 13.6 ekWh/sqft in 2019. For context, 30 ekWh/sqft is the average for commercial and institutional buildings in Canada. The importance of EUI is so significant that the criteria for selecting the “Best in Class” award winner puts a 40% emphasis on EUI. This a particularly noteworthy accomplishment given that Deer Lake II was constructed over 50 years ago.

The initiatives that led to Deer Lake II to be recognized include:

• Mechanical upgrades, including the installation of new boilers, water source heat pumps, exhaust fans, and a controls optimization system.
• Lighting retrofits, including changing over 2,400 lamps to LEDs in lobbies, stairwells, washrooms, tenant spaces, and both underground and aboveground parking between 2015-2020.  
• Water consumption decreased by 25% since 2015.
• Total waste reduced by 7%, diversion rate (the amount of waste diverted from landfill) went from 70% to 77% between 2015 and 2021. 
• Renewable Natural Gas introduced in 2017 as 25% of the gas mix, which instantly reduced gas emissions.
• Installation of first Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station in 2014, and in 2021, have 6 stations. 

Deer Lake II’s reduced EUI is reflected in an Energy Star score increase from 39 to 93 between 2008 and 2019. This amounts to over 1,750,000 kWh in avoided energy and over $200,000 in avoided costs. 

“On top of the quantifiable savings we’ve realized at Deer Lake II, these retrofits help advance our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals more broadly,” explains Daniel Mok, senior property manager. “They underscore the fact that even a building constructed half a century ago has the potential to be a standard-bearer for cutting edge sustainability initiatives that benefit all stakeholders.”

Colliers REMS is pleased to have advised on the enhancements to Deer Lake II. Together, they will reduce the building’s climate impact, improve its resilience, reduce operations and maintenance expenses, create a more positive tenant experience, and finally, serve as an example for what a partnership grounded in an unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability can achieve.