Canadian insurance co-op earns Zero Carbon Certification for new corporate HQ

The Co-operators’ building in Guelph, Ontario, will open next year, using all-electric power, insulation, LED lighting and rooftop solar to drive efficiency

A co-operative insurer’s new corporate headquarters in Guelph, Ontario, has earned a Zero Carbon Building – Design Standard certification from the Canada Green Building Council (CAGBC).

Co-operators first became carbon neutral in 2020 and in 2021 announced its commitment to reaching net zero emissions in its operations by 2040.

It says the new building, which opens next summer, will be highly energy efficient, minimising its annual carbon emissions and offsetting any remaining emissions.

The building’s all-electric design, with high-level insulation, automatic tinting windows and LED lights to conserve energy, will generate around 9% of its annual consumption through a 282 kW rooftop solar array.

It will feature 40% greater energy and greenhouse gas savings than the Ontario Building Code’s all-electric baseline and 60% higher heating load reduction than the minimum required for new office builds.

After receiving the Zero Carbon certification, Cooperators is seeking certifications for the building for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and health and wellbeing through the WELL standard.

“With this certification, Co-operators joins a growing list of forward-thinking organisations investing in the future through zero carbon buildings,” said Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council. 

“Our made-in-Canada and globally recognised Zero Carbon Building standards provide tangible ways for organisations like Co-operators to realise their sustainability targets. Paired with LEED and WELL, the Co-operators’ headquarters promises to be a marquee green building offering enduring value and resiliency for the company and a healthy and productive place to work for employees.”

Co-operators’ vice-president of workplace services, Shawn Fitzgerald, said: “Achieving the Zero Carbon Building – Design Standard certification for our national headquarters is a strong reflection of our values and vision to catalyse sustainability in our society.

“This building is a compelling demonstration of imagination and innovation that will be required as we build for a more sustainable future in Canada. We have an important role to play in mitigating the risks of climate change in a direct and meaningful way, helping move Canada and the world towards a net zero emissions future.”