60-100 Osborne St. North – Canada Life Head Office Achieves Significant Emission Reductions

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Great-West Lifeco and GWL Realty Advisors (GWLRA) recently made ambitious commitments to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. With these ambitious targets in mind, Canada Life’s national head office at 60-100 Osborne St. North in Winnipeg, Manitoba, managed by GWLRA, has started to make strides towards lower emissions. Given the need for upgrades at the office for an updated and efficient working environment, the opportunity was taken to complete a detailed retrofit of the site to drive energy efficiency, along with improvements for employees, in the building.

Starting in 2017, GWLRA and Canada Life developed a roadmap to significantly reduce energy use and carbon emissions on site, while also substantively modernizing its office spaces for its employees. This included significant retrofits on site to improve overall energy performance. Measures included:

  • Window upgrades to triple-glazed, high-efficiency units
  • LED lighting with daylight harvesting
  • Replacement of old steam plant with high efficiency boiler plant
  • Replacement of chiller plant with a new heat recovery chiller plant
  • Complete re-zoning of building with distributed fan coils
  • New VFD pumps in central plant and ECM motors for the fan coils
  • Modernization of office floor space for increased employee use and engagement

As of mid-2021, the retrofit was substantially completed, and GWLRA engaged a consultant last year to assess whether the predicted savings were realized. A post-retrofit energy model verification was conducted to confirm the estimated savings from these improvements.

The results of the energy model verify the significant benefits of the energy improvements. Energy consumption decreased by 35%, compared to the 2016 baseline, which significantly exceeded expectations of the originally modeled 28% savings. There was also a 36% decrease in carbon emissions (700 tonnes CO2e), which is equivalent to removing 151 gasoline powered vehicles from the road for one year.

Projects like these demonstrate the impact building upgrades can have on energy and carbon reductions and help contribute towards Great-West Lifeco’s and GWLRA’s net-zero commitments.