A Green Investment: The living roof of the TD Centre

Sep 16 • Articles, Métacité, Sustainability, TORONTO • 2831 Views • No Comments on A Green Investment: The living roof of the TD Centre

Photo Credit: Greig Reekie Photography

Photo Credit: Greig Reekie Photography

We asked Jacquelynn Henke, Vice President of Real Estate Green Strategy Officer for TD Bank about the financial institution’s Living Roof on the banking hall at their Toronto headquarters.


1 .    What prompted TD to create the Living Roof on the TD Centre? 


As part of our commitment to be an environmental leader we work to integrate environmental responsibility into every aspect of our business. This extends to the spaces we design for our employees, our customers and the community.


TD is a member of the TD Centre Green Council, the advisory group for occupant engagement and sustainability at the Toronto-Dominion Centre. Tenant representatives, together with the support of landlord Cadillac Fairview, develop and drive TDC’s engagement program, acting as the catalyst for sustainability. The TD Pavilion roof was in need of replacement and while upgrading to a living roof cost 25% more than a conventional roof, it included numerous benefits that made clear business sense and supported our environmental goals:


*Absorbs rainwater, reducing storm run-off and the need for treatment by 50-60%.

*Filters pollutants out of rainwater and the air.

*Prevents urban island heat effect (buildings block surface heat, radiating back into the surroundings, increasing city temperatures), while reducing temperatures during the summer.

*Improves air quality by providing vegetated areas in urban landscape.

*Planted with creek sedge grass – a hardy evergreen plant that is native to Canada and very adaptive to the climate of southern Ontario – and spread across the entire 22,000 square foot roof.

*75% of waste created by construction was diverted.


In November 2010 the idea was proposed and in June 2012 the TD Living Roof was unveiled. Located atop TD’s flagship branch at King & Bay, the first of its kind built by a Canadian bank. 

Photo Credit: Greig Reekie Photography

Photo Credit: Greig Reekie Photography

2.     Who were the architects involved in the design and the installation of the Living Roof?


The design of the Living Roof was inspired by the original architectural visionaries behind the TD Tower, TD Pavilion and TD Centre which opened in 1967-68. Mies van der Rohe was the consulting architect and John B. Parkin Associates and Bregman & Hamann were the architects and engineers behind the development. Mies had an all-encompassing vision that extended to aesthetics, signage and even the furniture.


The design for the Living Roof received input from Heritage Preservation Services of the City of Toronto to ensure the perpetuation of Mies van der Rohe’s vision. This can be seen through the aluminum structured grid on the roof.


There were a number of people that helped bring the TD Living Roof to life. With respect to design and implementation B+H Architects provided architectural support and Flynn Canada served as the general contractor and assisted with design and re-roofing. 


Photo Credit: Greig Reekie Photography

Photo Credit: Greig Reekie Photography

3.     What other initiatives relative to building innovations is TD involved with?


We have a framework, the Enterprise Green Buildings Program, which provides guidance on how we approach our real estate portfolio from design through construction to operation and renovation. It takes a holistic view, looking at the employee and business benefit, environmental impact and lifecycle costs of bringing new initiatives to TD.


We also recognize that great ideas can come from anywhere and have implemented the Opportunity for Innovation program that allows anyone in the bank to input suggestions to make our projects better.  Many of the suggestions focus on energy reductions.  We take suggestions, study them and where possible implement the idea or pilot it first to confirm its impact. TD employees are central to the bank’s energy reduction initiatives, supporting two key 2015 goals – reduce carbon emissions by one tonne per employee and reduce paper use by 20%. TD Green Nation, for example, is an interactive site where employees can pledge, accomplish and suggest acts of green and track progress in terms of saving trees and reducing carbon emissions both from an individual and overall perspective.


Above all else we’re committed to continuous improvement and finding ways to be more sustainable, efficient and minimize our footprint. This takes shape through large scale innovations all the way to retrofits throughout our network. With this in mind we’re proud to share some of our recent achievements: 


  • We’re the first North American-based bank to be carbon neutral in 2010, and remain so today.
  • Opened North America’s first net-zero energy bank branch in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in May 2011.  
  • Rolled out over 100 LEED-certified building projects with another 20 registered for certification.
  • A carbon emissions reduction target of 28% by 2015 of which Real Estate initiatives will account for a significant portion of the planned CO2emissions reductions. 


Jacquelynn Henke is the Vice President of Real Estate Green Strategy Officer for TD Bank. She has a Bachelor of Science in architectural design, a Master of Architecture and a Master of Science in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is also a US Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED Accredited Professional with a specialization in Building Design + Construction.


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