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Old September 16th, 2009, 03:26 AM   #1
Skybean
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Toronto's newest skyscrapers - The latest in cool

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The latest in cool - Toronto's newest skyscrapers


Slim blades, attached to the RBC Centre's first 10 floors, reduce glare while allowing in maximum daylight. for The Globe and Mail

Put on the shades. The RBC Centre harvests daylight, collects rainwater and uses Deep Lake Water air conditioning. Now that's cool

Angela Kryhul

Special to The Globe and Mail Last updated on Tuesday, Sep. 15, 2009 12:56PM EDT

It's not obvious, at first glance, why Toronto's new 43-storey RBC Centre is being touted as an office tower for the 21st century. But a closer look at the building's south and west-facing sides reveal sleek horizontal sunshades attached to the exterior glass facade, part of a state-of-the-art daylight harvesting design and just one indication of the building's environmental sophistication.

This year, downtown Toronto is being flooded with 3.14 million square feet of new office space as the finishing touches are put on the RBC Centre (1.2 million square feet), Bay Adelaide Centre (1.16 million square feet) and Telus Tower (780,000 square feet). Each tower is a showpiece of environmental design and energy efficiency and has been built to qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification.

It was back in 2003 when RBC approached the developer community with its criteria for a distinctive new flagship office building. RBC wanted to create a workplace that reflected its goals, including those related to the environment, human resources and business growth, says Linda Mantia, senior vice-president, procurement and corporate real estate for RBC.

"We were looking at our lease maturities, the growth of our business, our strategy for our office personnel ... if we were going to have a flagship location, we wanted it to align very strongly with the values of our organization," Ms. Mantia explains.

Developer Cadillac Fairview Corp. proved to be on the same wavelength and got the project under way at Wellington and Simcoe streets in 2006. Leveraging its considerable clout as a lead tenant, RBC stipulated that the new space had to meet LEED environmental standards, and adhere to a corporate policy advocating employees' right to daylight, Ms. Mantia says.

Which brings us back to the sunshades. The slim blades, attached to the first 10 floors of the building's exterior glass, or curtain wall, are designed to reduce glare while still allowing the maximum amount of daylight into the building. The high-tech part of the system, however, is on the interior side of the 3.5-metre floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Inside, at about the 2.5-metre level, horizontal light shelves adjust throughout the day to reflect daylight into the centre of each floor. The shelves are controlled by sensors, which dim the interior lights on sunny days and activate a roller-blind system to control glare.

"It's a form of daylight harvesting," explains Wayne Barwise, senior vice-president, office development for Cadillac Fairview. "As you put that light into the centre of the floor, not as much artificial light is required and you save on electricity."

In fact, there are no drop ceilings fitted with harsh fluorescents in this building. Pendant fixtures reflect 92 per cent of artificial light off exposed concrete ceilings, with only the remaining 8 per cent shining down on the workspace. And all of the telecommunications wiring, and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning pipes are housed in a 45-centimetre, raised-floor space. This allows office workers to set their own heating and cooling comfort levels via floor diffusers, which are located about every 180 square feet.

The RBC Centre has a rainwater storage system which is used to flush toilets and urinals, it uses Enwave's Deep Lake Water Cooling and steam heating system, and 99 per cent of the waste resulting from the building's construction was recycled, Mr. Barwise says.

Much of the space leased by lead tenants RBC and RBC Dexia is open concept, and features "oasis" zones - collaborative workspaces outfitted with comfortable chairs and wireless Internet access. This kind of space, which gets people working in teams, was an important factor for RBC, Ms. Mantia says, from a staff recruitment and retention perspective. Many of the windows up to the 10th floor can be opened.

"I think we have a pretty enlightened generation of people coming into the work force ... that really care about the place where they work. So we saw it as incredibly important to provide a comfortable work environment for our employees," she says.

RBC and RBC Dexia started moving staff into the building in late June, and by November will have 5,000 workers occupying 775,000 square feet on floors two through 24. The other major tenants in the RBC Centre, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International and Buck Consultants Ltd., are in the process of moving in a total of 2,000 employees, Mr. Barwise says.

With more than three million square feet of new, high quality office space hitting the market at virtually the same time, and with Telus Communications the only major new entrant, Mr. Barwise says the downtown core is currently experiencing a "shuffling around of tenants."

Some of the landlords who have lost big tenants to the three new towers are retrofitting their older buildings to bring them up to snuff, Mr. Barwise says.

As more big tenants, such as RBC, start demanding environmentally responsible and energy-efficient office spaces, Mr. Barwise says he expects there to be greater segmentation of the market with prospective tenants assessing space according to whether it is LEED Silver, Gold, or non-certified space.

"If you build a building today and it's not LEED Gold and not environmentally sustainable, in 10 years time [tenants] won't lease in your building, period," Mr. Barwise says.

"Government policy is requiring these energy savings, businesses are requiring them and employees are demanding that their employers be more socially and environmentally conscious."

Ms. Mantia, who is co-chairing a sub-committee of the Greening Greater Toronto initiative that encourages landlords to accelerate green retrofit plans, says the RBC Centre is not a one-off for the corporation.

The company is using its RBC Centre experience as a benchmark for improving all of its leased office environments.

"This isn't just about the new and shiny buildings. It's about how landlords collaborate with their tenants in existing buildings," Ms. Mantia explains.

******

Show stoppers


Three towers built to qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification

RBC CENTRE


Address: 155 Wellington St. W., Toronto

Landlord: Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd.

Lead tenants: RBC, RBC Dexia

Major tenants: Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, Buck Consultants Ltd.

Leasable office space: 1.2 million square feet

Amount leased: 75 per cent

LEED standard: LEED Gold New Construction

Number of floors: 43

Passenger elevators: 26

Architects: Kohn Pedersen Fox, New York; Bregman + Hamann Architects, Toronto; Sweeny Sterling Finlayson & Co., Toronto

Completed: September, 2009

Estimated cost: $420-million

BAY ADELAIDE CENTRE


Address: 333 Bay St., Toronto

Landlord: Brookfield Properties Corp.

Lead Tenant: KPMG

Major tenants: Fasken Martineau, Heenan Blaikie

Leasable office space: 1.16 million square feet

Amount leased: 73 per cent

LEED standard: LEED Gold Core & Shell

Number of floors: 51

Passenger elevators: 26

Architect: WZMH Architects

Completed: June 30, 2009

Estimated cost: $308-million

TELUS TOWER


Address: 25 York St., Toronto

Landlord: Menkes Union Tower Inc.

Lead tenant: Telus Corp.

Major tenants: Kinross Gold Corp., ACE INA Insurance, The Society of Management Accountants of Ontario

Leasable office space: 780,000 square feet

Amount leased: 82 per cent

LEED standard: LEED Gold Core & Shell

Number of floors: 30

Passenger elevators: 14

Architects: Adamson Associates Architects, Toronto; Sweeny Sterling Finlayson & Co.

Completed: November, 2009

Estimated cost: Announced at $250-million in 2006

Sources: RBC, Cadillac Fairview,

Menkes Developments Ltd.,

Brookfield Properties Corp.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/repor...rticle1287962/

RBC Centre

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Last edited by Skybean; September 16th, 2009 at 03:46 AM.
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 06:49 AM   #2
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Amazing how cheap those skyscrapers are!
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 03:58 PM   #3
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Amazing how cheap those skyscrapers are!

Would it have been more in Australia? Remember, these 3 aren't massive towers like Trump Chicago or China World Financial.
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 04:41 PM   #4
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I'm not sure. Buildings are pretty expensive to develop here. Don't want to drag this off-topic, but hope this gives you an idea.


City Square - Perth
Leasable office space: 780,000 sq ft
Height: 244m
Tenant: BHP Billiton
Estimated Cost: AU$500 million (CA$505 million)


161 Castlereagh Street - Sydney
Leasable office space: 592,000 sq ft
Height: 195m
Tenant: ANZ Bank
Estimated Cost: AU$800 million (CA$808.1 million)


One One One Eagle Street - Brisbane
Leasable office space: 672,750 sq ft
Height: 195m
Tenant: -
Estimated Cost: AU$500 million (CA$505 million)
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 12:39 AM   #5
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That is significantly more for less space.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 01:41 AM   #6
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The Australian office towers have smaller more irregular floorplates, and are architecturally and structurally more complex. Plus land prices there are significantly higher than Toronto.
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