Architecture Magazine

North America’s Most Sustainable Telecommunications Company Plan’s New LEED Platnum Headquarters

By Urbanneighbourhood

North America’s Most Sustainable Telecommunications Company Plan’s New LEED Platnum Headquarters

As North American telecommunications companies go, it is hard to find a company with better sustainability cred then TELUS. The firm made the decision to reduce its environmental footprint about 9 years ago, before sustainability was cool and embarked on a now decade long journey to lower it’s impact on the environment.

..everything from diesel generators and chemicals to batteries and pole storage. “As an incumbent telecommunications company, we’ve been around a long time, so we have older infrastructure in some areas,” says Joe Pach, Telus’s environment director. “We recognize the risk that that represents to us, so we’ve embarked on a program to upgrade these systems.  In the past, we have had people say to us, ‘Why are we even doing this? They’re not.’ [But] we can’t take that approach, because the risk to the company in terms of its public profile … is greater to us than the monetary risk of, say, a fine … TELUS wants to send a very clear signal to the investment community that we are a very well-managed company.” And there’s no better way to do that than taking care of all the small, green details. S.

Its all well and  good for a company to say it is a green company but the proof is in the details and TELUS has those to back it up as well,  TELUS has been ranked among the world’s leading companies on the Dow Jones Sustainability world Index for the past nine years. It is the only North American telecommunications company to make the list and one of only 11 Canadian businesses across all sectors that is included on the global index.S.

As part of its ongoing efforts TELUS has also being upgrading its offices and thus far three corporate offices, or TELUS Houses, have been renovated or constructed with the recently completed TELUS House Toronto and Ottawa awarded LEED Gold, and TELUS House Quebec achieving LEED Silver. For its new National Headquarters in Vancouver the company is aiming for LEED Platinum.  The $750-million, one-million square foot project will radically transform an aging downtown block into one of the most technologically and environmentally-advanced sites in the world

In the Company’s own words:

The million-square foot, $750 million project will see almost the entire block of prime downtown real estate bounded by Georgia, Robson, Seymour and Richards rebuilt into one of the most technologically and environmentally-advanced sites of commerce, employment and living in the world. It will create half a million square feet of much-needed new office space available for multiple tenants and 500 new residential units, all setting new standards for environmental sustainability. The 22-storey signature office tower will be the first building in Canada built to the new 2009 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum standard and the 44-storey residential tower will be built to the LEED Gold standard.

“TELUS Garden will exemplify the TELUS brand and be a truly amazing destination for our team members, the community and the city,” said Darren Entwistle, TELUS president and CEO. “Our vision is that TELUS Garden will be a beautiful and unique location where leading-edge technology, urban living, environmental sustainability and tomorrow’s work styles are elegantly integrated into a vibrant community. This development, which will inject millions of dollars into our economy, will highlight TELUS’ advanced communications technologies and environmental innovation in a way never before seen. TELUS Garden will be a breathtaking place to live and work, an architectural icon that will consume 30 per cent less energy thanks to its responsible, leading-edge design. It will be a celebrated urban oasis that is literally alive with plant life and showcases our great province’s arts and culture.”


The landmark development reinforces TELUS’ commitment to the City of Vancouver, and will make a significant contribution to the city’s goal of becoming the greenest city in the world. Once complete, TELUS’ new headquarters will be unique in North America, featuring 10,000 square feet of green roofs providing organic produce for local restaurants, two elevated roof forests, British Columbia artwork, LED lighting on the western façade projecting programmable coloured images on to fritted glass, and media walls where cultural events such as symphony concerts can be broadcast to the public.North America’s Most Sustainable Telecommunications Company Plan’s New LEED Platnum Headquarters

“The fact that TELUS is choosing to build a new national headquarters in Vancouver is a great vote of confidence in our local economy,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Their proposal to build to LEED Platinum is extremely ambitious and sends a signal that in Vancouver, going green is good for business and the environment. I’m very excited that they are investing in Vancouver – we’ve worked hard to build a competitive climate for business, and when companies like TELUS choose to expand their presence it is great for creating new jobs and economic spin-offs in our city.”

TELUS has partnered with Westbank to lead the project, and has engaged Henriquez Partners as the architect that is designing the iconic development. TELUS will fund its share of the development predominantly through leveraging its existing real estate holdings in this block, coupled with the sale and lease of space in the new buildings. The investment is consistent with TELUS’ overall capital expenditure target for 2011 and longer term capital intensity goals. TELUS has just entered into an agreement to purchase the city-owned parkade at the corner of Georgia and Richards, consolidating the entire block, other than the Kingston Hotel, to create a unified development.

While I don’t envy guests of the Kingston Hotel during construction, afterwards the hotel will be much better situated between two cutting edge and lively buildings instead of a pair of park aids. As an observer of the development landscape here in Canada I have been watching with interest to see what TELUS would decide to do after it announced the company was considering a new Headquarters. In Keeping with its previous property investments in Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec City, TELUS once again delivers an office building that looks forward and sees a city where “the future is friendly.”

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TELUS Garden tower Res
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