Retrofitting a major convention center for LEED Gold certification
The Enercare Centre, located in downtown Toronto, is one of North America’s largest convention facilities. The main building, completed in 1997, was designed to connect with two adjacent buildings that had been in place since the 1920s. The facility hosts more than 5.4 million visitors annually at approximately 60 conventions, trade shows, and other gatherings. The Enercare Centre has a gross floor area of almost 500,000 sq ft., and roughly 1,900 parking spaces within its LEED Site Boundary.
The Enercare Centre is part of a multi-venue complex that has committed to a comprehensive green strategy for all its properties. The venues strive for sustainable operations on a range of dimensions, including water conservation, waste diversion, and energy efficiency. Thus, in 2012, the Enercare Centre’s managers engaged a design and construction team to help them make facility adaptations with the goal of earning LEED Existing Building Operation and Maintenance (EB:O&M) certification. The team approached RWDI’s sustainability team for help reaching that ambitious goal.
However, convention centers present unique challenges when it comes to energy efficiency, including:
- The large size of these venues
- Highly variable occupancy levels Maintaining good air quality and thermal comfort in changing conditions, especially sustainably
Throughout the Enercare Centre project, RWDI’s sustainability team:
- Collaborated with the design team and facility managers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the facility’s construction and operations
- Performed a detailed energy audit of the Centre’s baseline performance in 2012, prior to the green retrofit process, after having developed a rich picture of the building’s component parts and systems
- Harnessed our team’s extensive green-building knowledge and the insights of those most familiar with the facility to increase the center’s efficiency and minimize its consumption and waste through an extensive program of interventions, including landfill diversion, efficient washroom fixtures, and Toronto Smart Commute program participation
- Streamlined the LEED EB:O&M certification process
The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) awarded the Enercare Centre LEED Gold Certification. The team’s initial goal was to earn 50 LEED points, which would have meant Silver certification, but the enthusiastic work and collaboration of everyone involved, including RWDI’s experts, enabled the Centre to earn Gold with a total of 66 LEED points.
The Enercare Centre is one of the first convention centres in Canada to receive this distinction, and its green operations continue to be a major selling point as its leaders promote their facility to conference organizers and trade show leaders around the world.