Ontario Construction News staff writer
VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) says its Ottawa station has earned the LEED Gold v4.1 certification for Operations and Maintenance for Existing Buildings – Canada Green Building Council’s (CaGBC) second-highest level of accreditation.
The Ottawa station – a heritage building and VIA Rail’s flagship station – underwent important renovations from 2016 to 2019 to improve its environmental performance and accessibility, the rail operator says in a statement.
Its LEED certification journey began during this transformation project with the identification of efficiency measures and the decision by VIA Rail’s team to register with the CaGBC. “The rigorous certification process, which officially started at the beginning of 2019 and ended in 2020, earned the Corporation its first LEED certification.” the statement said. “This accomplishment is a testament to VIA Rail’s ambition to improve sustainability and connectivity across Canada.”
“Obtaining the LEED Gold v4.1 certification is a milestone for VIA Rail and a great source of pride for our teams,” said chief operating officer Dominique Lemay. “It brings us one step closer to our green building goal and formalizes our commitment to creating more sustainable and accessible stations and maintenance centres.
“The certification process allowed us to identify several opportunities to improve the efficiency of the station’s operations, which then led to the implementation of changes to our building management processes and practices. Ultimately, our goal is not only to enhance the travel experience, but also to go further together. And it is by modernizing our infrastructure and services, and by making them greener, that we will lead Canadians to a more sustainable future.”
Rigorous performance measure
As part of its certification process, “VIA Rail has shown superior performance in the main evaluation criteria, including energy water consumption, waste diversion and human experience”, earning 68 LEED points and thus, the gold level, the statement said. The corporation has also integrated green building principles through the upgrade of the station’s east wing.
Integrating sustainable practices
“This accreditation reinforces VIA Rail’s commitment to modernizing passenger rail service in Canada, all while contributing to a more sustainable, low-carbon future,” Via Rail said. “As part of its modernization program, the corporation is proud to pursue its ambitious sustainability goals, notably by reducing the environmental impacts of its fleet and buildings.”
VIA Rail is working on the modernization of other buildings and stations – including Winnipeg which earned a BOMA BEST “certified” level certification in 2019, and for which a LEED certification process was recently initiated. “The corporation aims to continue to prioritize accessibility and sustainability, all while offering passengers an improved and greener travel experience,” Via Rail said.