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Renovations are the perfect time to shrink your environmental footprint

Office Sustainability Insights

February 28, 2019

When OLG renovated their Casino Brantford facility in 2009, they didn’t just want it to be bigger. They also wanted to make it more environmentally sustainable. Today, you’ll find electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot, LED lights illuminating the atrium, FSC-certified wood that adds a natural feel to the interior, along with a slew of other eco-upgrades.

In 2016, these renovations helped the facility achieve Silver Certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) — a globally recognized green building rating system. 

It’s another significant win for OLG’s sustainability program, an ambitious initiative to reduce the organization’s environmental impact. While many of their efforts focus on reducing consumption and waste on a day-to-day basis, OLG also recognized the need to improve their underlying infrastructure to achieve their carbon targets. As a result, their two most extensive renovations aimed for LEED certification. 

How did they do it? 

Having already achieved LEED certification at OLG’s Georgian Downs Casino, OLG knew that planning was key to meeting the certification program’s environmental standards. They achieved this by incorporating Energy Star-rated appliances, low-VOC carpets, recycled building materials and other requirements into the budget long before renovations began. They also brought in a project manager with LEED experience. 

Thanks to those elements — and more — the renovations at Casino Brantford have improved OLG’s bottom line. The site has slashed its energy consumption by more than 25 per cent and cut water consumption by almost half. “It’s a good financial investment,” says Noel Padilla, OLG’s Sustainability Manager. 

The green building received an enthusiastic thumbs-up from the community, including from Brantford Mayor Chris Friel who cut the ribbon at the casino’s 2011 grand reopening. Friel was also present during the unveiling of the LEED certification plaque. 

OLG employees were thrilled as well. “From the top down, you could see the pride emanating due to the LEED certification,” says Padilla. In fact, staff were inspired to do even more to cut their own carbon footprints. Since the renovations, they have planted trees, eliminated paper towels and installed motion sensors to reduce lighting use, which has trimmed energy use by a further five per cent. 

Although not everyone can afford a top-to-bottom overhaul of their facilities, Padilla believes that incorporating little changes during regular maintenance can make a big impact, whether it’s switching to LED lights or installing faucet aerators to conserve water. 

© Staffan Widstrand / WWF

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