One of Canada’s biggest commercial real estate companies, Oxford Properties, is planning to install a million square feet (92,900 square metres) of rooftop solar panels on its retail and industrial properties across North America by 2022.
“The massive sustainability project is estimated to generate approximately six million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, which is enough to power all homes in the town of Collingwood, ON (population 22,000) for a month,” Sustainable Biz reports . “The initiative is also part of Oxford’s commitment to reduce its carbon emissions intensity by 30% by 2025.”
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“We’re seeking to hold ourselves accountable and demonstrate the viability of solar for our customers and the industry,” explained Sustainability Director Darryl Neate. “We know our customers want to live, work, and shop in green buildings, and we want to provide them cheaper, cleaner power. So this commitment helps us do that.”
Neate added the panels would make Oxford’s buildings more efficient and future-proof them against future energy price increases. Sustainable Biz says two Greater Toronto Area properties—Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, and Scarborough Town Centre—should have a combined 200,000 square feet of panels in place by early 2020. “It lines up with our re-roofing cycles at our shopping centres,” Neate said, adding that “these shopping centres are more attractive for solar, just given the size and the scale.”The company says it has reduced its emissions intensity 9% since 2015, cut water consumption by 11%, and now has Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for 92% of its North American office space. [Just a reminder that an emissions intensity reduction is not the same as an absolute emissions cut—it measures greenhouse gas output per unit of a company’s economic activity, meaning that emissions intensity can fall while actual emissions rise or plateau.—Ed.]