Led by KingSett Capital, the transformative project provides a roadmap for completing innovative, complex and financially viable hotel deep carbon retrofits
TORONTO, Ontario (Wednesday, November 15, 2023) - KingSett Capital and Fairmont Royal York announced today that the landmark hotel in Toronto, ON has received the Canada Green Building Council’s (CAGBC’s) Zero Carbon Building – Performance StandardTM certification. This $65 million project was completed after close to five years of detailed planning and execution. It will reduce over 7,000 tonnes of carbon annually or 80% of the hotel’s annual carbon emissions, the equivalent of taking 1,558 cars off the road.
Jon Love, Founder and CEO of KingSett Capital, said, “Fairmont Royal York’s decarbonization demonstrates the potential to complete a large and complex project in a way that is environmentally impactful, socially responsible and economically viable. It is a compelling example of what can be accomplished through collaboration, innovation and creativity. For KingSett, this investment highlights how decarbonization can strengthen a key asset in our portfolio as part of our sustainability and value enhancement strategy.”
“This complex project would not have been possible without our strong partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), PCL Construction, and Enwave Energy Corporation,” added Mr. Love.
Edwin Frizzell, Regional Vice President, Central Canada and General Manager, Fairmont Royal York, said, “Fairmont Royal York achieving Zero Carbon Building Performance certification is another transformative step in repositioning this unique icon in Toronto’s downtown core. Decarbonizing a 94-year-old heritage building and retrofitting the hotel’s energy systems to be highly energy efficient was a complex challenge. We've proven that it can be done.”
“Our valued clients and partners with similar corporate sustainability objectives will benefit from access to hotel rooms and meeting and event spaces aligned with our focus on creating genuine experiences and implementing long-term sustainability actions that deliver results,” added Mr. Frizzell.
This decarbonization project represents the largest heritage hotel retrofit of its kind within the Fairmont global brand portfolio and offers a definitive roadmap for creating sustainable energy sources for similar properties.
With its unparalleled location in Toronto's financial district and close proximity to Union Station, the hotel's decarbonization initiatives make it the ideal partner for both leisure travellers and major businesses to align their sustainability goals when booking conferences, events, and guest room accommodations. As a destination committed to the local community, Fairmont Royal York employs over 1,200 colleagues and hosts 1.5 million guests annually, while championing the global brand’s sustainability efforts for diversity, equity and inclusion.
Among several key initiatives, the hotel has eliminated single-use plastics for guests and reduces food waste with AI technology and donation partners. The local ecosystem is supported by 500,000 honeybees from the hotel’s rooftop garden and apiary. The renovations to Fairmont Royal York’s lobby, guestrooms, Fairmont Gold offering, award-winning dining venues and event spaces reflect the hotel’s transformation and enhance this destination’s global consumer appeal as a world-class luxury hotel in Canada’s financial centre.
Fairmont Royal York achieving the annual CAGBC Zero Carbon Building – Performance Standard certification demonstrates how partnership between the private and public sectors can meaningfully accelerate action towards meeting Canada’s carbon reduction commitments. The project was supported by the CIB’s Building Retrofits Initiative, which provided $46.5 million in debt financing.
“Congratulations to KingSett Capital and Fairmont Royal York on this industry-leading achievement,” said Marc Pascoli, Senior Vice President, PCL Constructors Canada Inc. “As evidenced on this project, if a 94-year-old heritage asset can be decarbonized to achieve energy efficiency targets that reduce annual carbon emissions by 80%, the possibilities are endless. With forward-thinking leadership and a positive mindset, investment, strategic partnerships, and a passionate pursuit of shared goals, PCL and our partners are proud to help chart the path to net zero.”
The Zero Carbon project advances KingSett’s sustainability strategy and leadership in the Canadian real estate market while adding strength and resilience to one of KingSett’s key assets. It adds to KingSett's broader decarbonization strategy of decarbonizing over 5.4 million square feet of Canadian real estate, reducing 35% of carbon emissions over 2019 baseline by 2027 in its core fund.
· The Fairmont Royal York decarbonization project will remove over 165,000 tonnes of carbon emissions from execution in 2023 to 2050.
· The reduction of carbon emissions will generate over 35% of utility savings in the first year.
· All carbon emissions reductions will be independently verified by the CIB’s verifiers, as well as through the CAGBC.
· All spending and project impacts were independently verified through the CAGBC’s Investor Ready Energy Efficiency (IREE) certification program.
· The building’s path to the CAGBC’s Zero Carbon Building – Performance Standard certification was achieved by:
- Detailed study and analysis of building energy load, seeking to effect meaningful efficiencies,
- Converting heating and domestic hot water from steam to electric heat pumps,
- Converting cooling from electrical/chillers to deep lake water cooling, and
- Significantly improving energy efficiency with a centralized building automation system and smart technologies.
· The project has employed over 70,000 hours of labour, creating valuable job opportunities for skilled workers and showing how environmental responsibility and economic benefits can work hand in hand.
About KingSett Capital
Founded in 2002, KingSett Capital is a leading Canadian private equity real estate firm that co-invests with institutional and ultra-high net worth clients to deliver sustainable, premium risk-weighted returns. KingSett manages $18 billion in assets across its Growth, Income, Urban, Mortgage, Residential Development and Affordable Housing strategies.
In recognition of its commitment to sustainability, KingSett was ranked #1 globally in the 2023 Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) Survey for Development in its Residential Non-Listed peer-group and 2nd in the North America Diversified Office/Residential Non-listed for Standing Investments. As a leader in the industry, KingSett remains dedicated to moving the real estate sector forward and seeking new investment opportunities in a wide range of real estate properties, developments, joint ventures, and mortgage lending.
About Fairmont Royal York
Timeless and iconic for 94 years, Fairmont Royal York celebrates a new era as Toronto's landmark hotel. The stunning modern Art-Deco renovations to the grand lobby and new dining venues create an impressive welcome for guests. With contemporary railway-inspired design, CLOCKWORK Champagne & Cocktails hosts a bubbly cocktail offering with tasteful metropolitan fare. REIGN features three elevated dining experiences, as REIGN Restaurant showcases the bounty of Canada's rich landscape, and REIGN Bar toasts to Toronto's Jazz-Age revival with a prestigious wine list and live entertainment, while REIGN Bakery creates a charming morning ritual with artisanal-roasted coffee and freshly baked goods. Renowned as the city's cocktail den, the legendary Library Bar serves the Birdbath Martini crafted as a masterpiece. A refined oasis, Fairmont Gold is a boutique getaway featuring elegantly appointed suites, premium services, and an exclusive 18th floor lounge. Fairmont Royal York is the city's destination for glamorous wedding celebrations and inspiring events – embracing a legacy that is famous for generations.
About PCL Construction
PCL is a group of independent construction companies that operates throughout Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and Australia. As one of the largest contracting organizations in North America, PCL completes more than $9 billion CAD in work annually, building projects that shape communities. The company’s 100% employee ownership model fuels a culture of commitment for clients in the buildings, civil infrastructure, heavy industrial and solar markets. With a strategic presence in more than 30 major centers, PCL’s leadership teams consistently drive innovation and set new benchmarks for excellence, bringing unparalleled skill to every project. Watch us build at PCL.com.