Walking the talk makes PCL a trusted partner to our clients. As our Toronto District grew in size and experience, it became clear to our leadership that the time had come to upgrade our office space for our employees and clients who expect nothing but the best from us. 

The internationally accepted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system recognizes excellence in the design, construction and operation of green buildings.

Spanning two floors of a certified LEED Silver building, PCL Toronto had to fit-out its new workplace to the most sustainable standards.

We knew that the new credits and requirements of LEED v4 Interior Design and Construction (ID+C) for commercial interiors would introduce a steep learning curve for the certification of projects. So, the expression “walk the talk” became a driving force behind the decision to be an early adopter of LEED’s version 4. As a client and constructor, we set out to design our new workplace with B+H Architects and sustainability consultant Green Reason.

Embracing sustainability, digitization and collaboration, the LEED v4 pilot project was a test case to understand the new credits, prerequisites, documentation and reference standards introduced by the new and challenging rating system.

“PCL’s commitment to sustainability is truly evidenced in its new Toronto office, where it pushed the boundaries to lead the industry through early adoption of LEED v4,” says Alan Murphy, principal of Green Reason. “By utilizing the project as a living lab for this new rigorous set of standards, we explored this new and challenging rating system together for application on future client projects.”

A major change specific to ID+C is that LEED v4 drives the project to energy modeling, rather than a series of prescriptive measures. There are also much higher expectations on indoor air quality, including emissions testing for low-emitting materials. In a post-pandemic environment, these considerations are more valuable than ever.

Our new address, Westbury’s 2201 Bristol Circle, is served by a dedicated outdoor air system feeding zoned heat pumps on each floor. Essentially, this means that outdoor air (formerly called “fresh air”) is controlled by a separate “dedicated” system. The system conditions more, or less, outdoor air in response to carbon dioxide sensors located throughout our space. Outdoor air volumes are adjusted up to deliver more oxygen on a busy office day, and adjusted down to save energy at night, on weekends and through holidays. 

With this level of control, we only condition the air we need instead of a constant code-determined air exchange rate. Better breathing conditions when we’re busy, and no wasted energy when we’re closed.

“As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, the well-being of our employees and safety measures within the work environment are absolutely essential,” says Bruce Sonnenberg, senior vice president and Toronto’s district manager. “With enhanced air quality, socially distanced seating and COVID-19 vaccinations, our office is a key part of providing a safe workplace for our PCL Toronto family.”

The building has the ability to advance as standards evolve – from the adaptable mechanical systems to the integrated lighting control system from Wattstopper. Each element is tied into the building automation system, which then monitors and controls the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, allowing the building to run as efficiently as possible. Upgrades and innovations that appear on the market can now be easily adapted to these systems.

“With the evolution of the LEED v4 rating system, spaces that could have been Gold in the old system may struggle to even certify,” adds Murphy. “As evidenced on PCL Toronto’s new office, with commitment and integration of goals from the early stages of the project, it is still possible to reach the design and performance levels that are now required to earn a LEED certification.”

In August 2020, the office space earned LEED v4 ID+C Silver certification for commercial interiors.

“PCL’s decision to adopt LEED v4’s ambitious sustainability targets for its corporate offices demonstrates the company’s commitment to lead by example,” says Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council. “LEED v4 for Interior Design also places strong emphasis on human health and well-being, which has become so critical during the global pandemic. LEED certification provides both a healthy and sustainable workplace, which meets Canadians’ changed expectations as they gradually return to work.”

Echoing Mueller’s optimism, Sonnenberg shares how PCL is known for achieving its partners’ sustainability goals for their projects. “By acting as both the client and construction manager on this project, we created a successful outcome for our employees, while gaining important knowledge that can support our clients through their sustainability journey.”

To learn more about our living lab, download the case study

PCL takes a comprehensive view of sustainability through our 5P model that evaluates positive outcomes for our partners, people, projects, practices and places. Beyond our own premises, we’re building to help our clients achieve sustainability goals in the Greater Toronto Area and throughout North America, the Caribbean and Australia.

“We recognize that LEED has had a pivotal role in guiding clients to a first environmental response for their developments – an organized set of ideas to shape a project around,” says Stephen Montgomery, Toronto District sustainability advisor. “As energy costs rise, carbon costs are introduced, and occupant health and wellness concerns increase, clients will rely on LEED as a benchmark for their efforts on the open market. We stay sharp on LEED so we can move and grow with them, delivering more efficient and productive spaces.”

PCL has built and is currently building over 435 LEED projects, 75 of which are in the Toronto area, ranging from LEED Silver and Gold to Platinum standards.

To discuss how we can create a sustainable built environment for your upcoming project, reach out to Stephen Montgomery and learn how PCL can help.