The Road to Net-Zero: 4 Green Initiatives Making an Impact at Exhibition Place
Earlier this year, Exhibition Place officially signed the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge, a global initiative to address climate change across the events and meetings industry, per the targets laid out in the Paris Climate Accord. Here are 4 ways in which the venue is working towards reducing its overall carbon footprint and leading the charge in sustainable operations.
Sustainability has been a part of Exhibition Place’s DNA for over 18 years. Since 2004, Exhibition Place has undertaken an environmental stewardship initiative, named GREENSmart, which includes the promotion of sustainable development, environmental initiatives and leading-edge green technologies and practices across the site.
A key initiative reducing emissions is the District Energy System which is a thermal energy distribution system for multiple buildings and consists of a heating and cooling central plant within Enercare Centre. This helps to significantly reduce the amount of energy required to keep buildings at a comfortable temperature.
In addition to this, lighting is one of the largest sources of energy consumption the grounds. So, systems are in place that optimize for energy conservation. From energy-efficient fixtures to a motion-controlled Energy Control System that powers areas only when necessary, energy conservation across the grounds is prioritized without impacting guest experience.
GREENSmart Fact: Beanfield Centre is powered with 100% Green Power. Energy savings are equivalent to removing 168 cars off the road and this green energy initiative will offset the same amount of carbon dioxide as 422 acres of planted trees annually.
In addition to its GREENSmart initiatives, Exhibition Place has achieved recognition through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating system. LEED® provides a framework for healthy, efficient, carbon and cost-saving green buildings. Beanfield Centre is one of Canada’s first LEED® Silver Conference Centres.
In addition, Beanfield Centre has improved air quality through CO₂ sensors; rainwater harvesting to reduce water consumption; Low VOC paints, carpets and adhesives and organic recycling programs.
Enercare Centre is one of the first convention centres in Canada to achieve LEED® EB:O&M Platinum certification by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). The initial LEED® EB:O&M certification goal was to achieve Platinum (50 points). However, through the enthusiastic efforts of the Enercare Centre team, this goal was exceeded with a total of 80 points were documented and awarded by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC)
Wind, Solar, And Geothermal Energy Production
To further reduce its carbon footprint, Exhibition Place is targeting energy self-sufficiency and has already delivered several exciting renewable energy production projects. The Wind Turbine at Exhibition Place is the first in the City of Toronto and it is capable of generating 1 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. The turbine also helps to displace some of the harmful chemicals that are responsible for smog and acid rain, moving up to 1,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
The Horse Palace, located on the north end of Exhibition Place, uses its 130,000-square-foot flat roof to collect solar energy through a photovoltaic (PV) plant. When first installed, this 100-kilowatt plant was the largest urban PV array in Canada. Followed by this pilot project, Horse Palace West Side, East Annex, and Better Living Centre installed solar panels. Together, these solar PV plants reduce CO2 emissions annually by 200 tonnes.
The Press Building is powered using a Geothermal Plant and is expected to save 110,000 kilowatts-hours per year of electricity and over 15,000 cubic meters of natural gas. The Geothermal Plant reduces the annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of the Press Building by approximately 125 tonnes per year.
Urban forests play an important role in sustainability since they reduce pollution, provide shade for visitors and promote biodiversity.
Within its 152-acre site, Exhibition Place created an urban forestry program, which preserves and renews the urban forest. The 2,770 trees across the site, the Sakura Tree Project and the naturalized garden are watered using lake-water irrigation piped from nearby Lake Ontario.
All in all, these initiatives demonstrate Exhibition Place is leading the way towards a more sustainable and net-zero carbon future in the events industry.