Arthur Erickson Place Becomes Vancouver’s Latest Retrofitted Zero Carbon Office Building

February 6, 2024 4 Minute Read

1075 West Georgia Street - Vancouver

Arthur Erickson Place (AEP), named for the world-renowned Canadian-born architect, has been a Vancouver landmark since it opened in 1968.

AEP stands out today, not only as a staple of the Vancouver skyline, but also for its industry-leading environmental initiatives. The tower’s 26 storeys were recently upgraded to achieve Canada Green Building Council’s (CGBC) Zero Carbon Building Performance Standard™ certification, received in December 2023.

A Zero Carbon building is highly energy efficient and minimizes greenhouse gas emissions from building materials and operations, according to CGBC. Until all emissions can be eliminated, high-quality carbon offsets can be used as a counterbalance.

“Downtown Vancouver is one of North America’s tightest markets for office vacancy,” says CBRE Sales Associate Myah Ollek, who is part of the listing team at AEP alongside Luke Gibson and Tara Finnegan. “Of the available spaces on the market, not many can support tenants’ ESG goals and carbon mandates.

“AEP is filling a huge gap in the Vancouver market.”

Pursuing Zero Carbon

When KingSett Capital, Crestpoint Real Estate Investments and Reliance Properties purchased AEP in 2019, they set out to transform it into a Zero Carbon building.

The three-year decarbonization process has involved replacement of the natural gas hot water system, full electrification of the building, and the installation of heat recovery chillers, air source heat pumps, and electric boilers.

The parking garage is equipped with electric car charging stations and a rooftop beehive has been installed to support biodiversity.

AEP’s owners made lobby improvements, updated bathrooms, added bike storage and remodeled the building’s end-of-trip facilities.

AEP’s Zero Carbon Building certification is helping Vancouver work towards its goal of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2050.

The decarbonization process will reduce AEP’s carbon emissions by 97% by 2025, compared to its 2019 baseline. The improved systems will also help the building achieve an estimated 40% reduction in overall energy consumption. Together, these initiatives will be equivalent to removing nearly 140 gas-powered cars from the road each year.

“It’s critical for the real estate industry to take a serious look at decarbonization,”says KingSett Capital Vice President Andrew Kirkham. “AEP’s success proves that it’s possible to reach Zero Carbon, not just with new developments, but also by retrofitting the buildings that already occupy our cities. Hopefully it encourages more owners to look at where they can make improvements within their portfolios.”

Benefits for All

Zero Carbon isn’t just good for the environment; it also helps AEP’s tenants meet their ESG targets.

The B.C. government offers incentives for businesses that operate in Zero Carbon buildings and AEP tenants are eligible for tax credits to offset carbon taxes. This can help reduce operating costs while eliminating the need to purchase carbon offsets.

“Implementing environmentally conscious building practices benefits everyone while helping our bottom line,” says Kirkham.

Zero Carbon buildings provide a healthier and more comfortable indoor environment for tenants, leading to improved health and productivity.

Higher energy efficiency also means less consumption, resulting in lower operating and maintenance costs. And by operating in a net-zero building an organization can demonstrate its commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

“Companies are looking to align their office strategy with their ESG goals, and landlords who are responsive to that are ahead of the game,” says Ollek.

“AEP is a great example of how stakeholders in the commercial real estate industry can work together to have a positive impact on businesses and create benefits for the community at large.”

AEP's success proves that it's possible to reach Zero Carbon, not just with new developments, but also by retrofitting buildings. - Andrew Kirkham

Ready, Set, Go

AEP also offers the Ready Set Go Program, which gives tenants the option to move into fully built out and furnished offices, with flexible lease terms of one to five-plus years.

This minimizes the capital investment typically required of tenants moving into a new space, while decreasing the time it takes to occupy the space by avoiding major construction.

KingSett Capital launched the Ready Set Go program in 2020 in its Toronto office portfolio. Building on the success of that program, AEP is the first building in Vancouver to offer Ready Set Go.

Ollek has seen the benefits of the program with her clients firsthand. “At a time when there’s still a lot of uncertainty around the future of office, AEP’s Zero Carbon Building certification and Ready Set Go program remove guesswork from the real estate equation.”

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