HVAC Replacement Earns Zero Carbon Building – Performance Standard Certification

450 March Road

With the HVAC system at 450 March Road reaching end-of-life, owner Fiera Real Estate and property manager Colonnade BridgePort identified an opportunity to reduce the building’s carbon footprint, choosing to replace the two existing fossil gas-powered roof top units (RTUs) with electric resistance heaters in an effort to dramatically reduce associated greenhouse gas emissions.


Underscoring Fiera Real Estate’s and Colonnade BridgePort’s mutual commitment to sustainability and carbon reduction, the main objectives for the project went well beyond just finding a reliable and cost-effective system. Three environmentally-focused objectives were set to ensure key sustainability targets for the property could be achieved:

  • Equipment does not utilize gas as the heating energy source;
  • System must recover and reuse heat energy that would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere; and
  • Rooftop space usage must be minimized to provide space for future sustainability initiatives, such as renewable energy generation.

With these objectives in mind, the system selected was an all-electric DX cooled / electric SCR RTU with Energy Recovery Wheel/Ventilator.

Property Details

Asset Type: Office
Floors: 5
Space SF: 97,500
Tenants: 10
Services Provided: Property Management, Leasing, Accounting

Value Drivers

  • Project management
  • Construction management
  • Navigation of several major considerations
  • Commitment to partner with clients to meet sustainability goals

Key Considerations

Electrical Capacity

An electric HVAC system requires more electricity than a gas-powered system. Investigation determined that the building’s existing electrical system could support the increased need, avoiding significant time and monetary investment.
Note: 450 March was constructed with greater power capacity than what is standard for an office building of its size, in consideration of specific operational needs of the tenant.

Structural Capacity

At more than 3,000 lbs per unit, electric RTUs weigh significantly more than gas-powered RTUs. It was determined that reinforcement of the roof at 450 March was required to support the additional weight. With the top floor of the building unoccupied, no tenants were disrupted during the construction.

Contractor Selection

This complex project required multiple contractors. To ensure the right contractors were chosen, Colonnade BridgePort used a thorough vetting process to identify service providers with proven track records, ensuring they had the necessary skills and experience to meet requirements. Clear communication, shared goals, and a mutual understanding between the project team and contractors was essential for a successful outcome.

Tenant Impact

The potential impact on tenants was considered at every stage of the project, and while there was little to no disruption to business operations and tenant comfort, Colonnade BridgePort maintained open and timely communication.


After 18 months of meticulous planning and preparation, the removal of the old gas units and installation of the new all-electric ones was successfully executed in in June/July 2023. Drawing on Colonnade BridgePort’s 35+ years of commercial real estate expertise, each phase of the process was seamless, with one seasoned engineer involved in the project indicating he’s “never seen a job of this magnitude executed so smoothly”. In fact, the transition was so smooth, one of new units was installed and operational on the same day.


The HVAC replacement – with an estimated CO2 reduction of approximately 94 tonnes/year – allowed 450 March Road to achieve Zero Carbon Building – Performance Standard certification, awarded by the Canada Green Building Council. This distinction underscores Fiera’s commitment to sustainability and carbon reduction, as well as Colonnade BridgePort’s commitment to partnering with clients to meet their sustainability goals.