Investing in Sustainable Buildings
Reducing building emissions will help the world get to net zero
The future of sustainable buildings is here
Investing in building sustainability is about more than reducing emissions. It’s also good business. Watch this video to learn how we’re working with our partners to prepare buildings for a cleaner future.
1. Investing in deep retrofits
Most of the buildings that will be standing in 2050 are already built. For a world aiming for net zero by 2050, that’s a challenge. Older buildings are, on average, inefficient compared with newer ones.
Retrofitting the world’s existing building stock will be critical to reducing the sector’s emissions. The International Energy Agency says annual retrofit rates need to ramp up significantly this decade—to 2.5% of the building stock in advanced economies, from 1% today.
Revitalizing the Toronto-Dominion Centre
To stay competitive in Toronto’s robust commercial office space market, our wholly owned real estate subsidiary, Cadillac Fairview, embarked on a multiyear project to revitalize the iconic Toronto-Dominion Centre complex.
2. Using more sustainable building materials
The buildings sector relies heavily on materials which are produced using carbon-intensive processes. The emissions associated with making and transporting these materials make up a building's embodied carbon. Multiple efforts are underway to reduce that embodied carbon by making key building materials more sustainable, such as switching to electric arc furnaces to make steel.
Mass timber also holds promise. This engineered wood product is built to high strength ratings and can in some instances replace concrete and steel.
Harvesting the benefits of large-scale managed forests
Through Tamarack Timberlands, Ontario Teachers’ owns 870,000 acres of Loblolly pine forests in the southeastern U.S. Tamarack’s portfolio is managed according to Sustainable Forestry Initiative standards, which ensures its forests are harvested with long-term sustainability in mind.
3. Investing in technology that supports building efficiency
Advanced technologies can play a key role towards lowering emissions from routine building operations, such as heating or cooling spaces and keeping the lights on, by better aligning energy demand and supply. These technologies include the sensors, smart meters and connected devices that capture granular data on energy and water usage, and the software and analytics that translate that data into actionable insights. Technology also makes consumption-based pricing easier—a key driver of lower usage.
Getting smart about lowering buildings’ carbon footprint
Techem’s devices make residents of multifamily buildings more conscious of how and when they use heat and water. Its products are deployed in more than 12 million apartments, helping building owners across Europe reduce their emissions.