Net Zero Retrofit

TD Bank Group’s Enterprise Green Building program: Net Zero Retrofit
Project lead: Roger Johnson

Renovating an existing branch in London, Ontario, TD created Canada’s first “net zero energy” bank branch in 2012. Retrofitting the branch has cut its energy use in half, and hopes to meet the balance of those requirements with 244 solar voltaics, and in the process, provided the local community a focal learning site for sustainability and environmental education. So far so good: 10 months in, the Branch is producing all the energy it needs.

Roger Johnson and his team in Enterprise Real Estate went looking for a pilot—a site that combined room for ample solar panels with a branch built in an era when the cost of energy was not considered in the design. They chose a 25-year-old branch in London, Ontario, in a community where the educational impact of the project would ultimately be felt by some 70,000 local students. The site offered approximately an acre of adjacent land perfect for accommodating the planned solar panels and a local utility partner who would prove invaluable in the installation of a two-way hydro meter.

TD branch in London, Ontario: exterior and interior

But old building equals new problems. TD customers and employees at the branch still had to come first. The innovative technologies of net-zero-energy projects put consultants and municipal authorities on a learning curve. And the energy enhancements were ambitious: 244 solar panels, interior and exterior LED lighting, remote building monitoring and a solar electric vehicle charging station for customers.

Solar panels surround TD’s net-zero-energy London branch.

The station at TD’s net-zero-energy London branch will charge two electric vehicles at a time.

The TD team didn’t stop with the inside. To house the solar panels that would power the facility, they transformed the surrounding land into a campus they called Green Energy Park, and added an amphitheatre, an outdoor classroom and performance space where schools and community groups could teach and learn about sustainable building. Among the unique features of the learning space: a wifi connection, a sundial-shaped amphitheatre floor and post-consumer rubber recycled rubber pellets to soften the impact on students’ knees.

That the branch continued operating throughout the build might have challenged customer relations, but in this case, it created a golden opportunity for greater community engagement. Customers were part of the ongoing on-site dialogue about the construction and its environmental objectives, and many joined the branch staff at the unveiling.

Solar panels power Canada’s first net-zero-energy bank branch in London, Ontario.

Local kids learn about sustainability at the TD Bank Amphitheater in London, Ontario.)

The retrofitted facility in London began operation in October 2011. In 2012, it made national environmental news by becoming Canada’s first LEED Platinum bank branch.

Roger Johnson and the TD team open the TD Green Energy Park with civic officials, retail employees, customers, public school students and others from the London, Ontario, community that is home to Canada’s first LEED Platinum-rated bank branch.

More information about TD’s London branch retrofit and a wealth of other TD sustainability initiatives can be found here.