With a national real estate footprint, Choice Properties holds a great deal of influence over decarbonizing the built environment of Canada, a major contributor to the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Now, having our net-zero targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative, we look forward to playing a leading role in supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Four of the areas that we will focus on to achieve our goals are tenant engagement, electrification of heating, the generation and use of clean electricity, and the purchase of low-emission building materials.
Tenants’ energy use represents over 80% of our combined scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. We can support our tenants by installing energy-saving equipment and by sharing energy consumption information and best practices with them.
Electrification of Heating
Almost all of our buildings are heated by burning fossil fuels such as natural gas or propane, and these fuels represent a major source of GHG emissions for Choice Properties. Energy-efficient technology exists, such as heat pumps, which can be used to heat our buildings with electricity. However, there are some challenges with installing heat pumps in Canada – they can be less efficient in colder cities like Calgary or Quebec City and sometimes the heat generated from electricity can result in higher emissions than heating with natural gas or propane, depending on the makeup of the provincial grid (i.e. coal power vs hydroelectric power). Although the technology is improving and electricity grids are getting cleaner in these regions, because of these current challenges, in the short-term we plan to focus our attention on electrifying heating in provinces where the electricity is clean and the weather is relatively warm. In the long-term, we will work with our suppliers to bring high-quality equipment to the Canadian market so that we can electrify heat across the country.
Green Power Sources
We are looking into opportunities to expand the number of solar panels on our rooftops to generate clean electricity for our tenants and communities. Where it does not make sense to generate our own clean electricity, we will be looking for opportunities to procure renewable energy elsewhere to service our sites.
Low-emission Building Materials
Embodied carbon is the GHG emissions associated with the construction activities and materials that are used to construct a new development. To understand the impact of our developments, Choice Properties has completed life cycle analyses on both residential and industrial developments, and we have incorporated low-carbon materials into their designs. For example, our industrial development in Surrey, BC will use reduced carbon concrete as part of its construction. We have also engaged with product suppliers and contractors to identify additional opportunities to reduce the embodied carbon in upcoming developments.
SBTi validates Choice Properties’ net-zero targets – SustainableBiz Canada, published August 9, 2022
2022 Environmental, Social and Governance Report – Choice Properties, published April 27, 2022