Killam Apartment REIT: Building a Cleaner Future

Posted: June 23, 2023

Killam, headquartered in Halifax, is one of the country’s largest residential landlords, owning and managing residential apartments and manufactured home communities across Canada including over 5,800 apartment units in Halifax.

As Halifax works toward a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2050, leading real estate companies like Killam will do their share to ensure Halifax is successful in reaching their goals.

Killam's Commitment to Green

“Reducing GHGs is an important priority for us,” said James Tilley, Energy and Carbon Mitigation Project Manager, Killam Apartment REIT. “Killam has set environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals which are measured and reported in our annual ESG report. These goals include GHG emission reduction targets, production of electricity through renewable energy sources and increasing green building certifications across our portfolio.”

“Reduced energy is the first area of opportunity, says Brian Jessop, Vice President Operations, Killam Apartment REIT. “Moving to new windows and recladding with increased insulation in our roofs and wall systems is very important to us from an existing infrastructure standpoint. In new builds, the sustainable technology opportunities are broader,” says Jessop, adding that the company has introduced geothermal heating and cooling systems, heat pumps and heat recovery ventilation technology into its new developments, with full electrification where feasible.

Killam’s apartment development known as S2, completed in May 2013, is a prime example of sustainable design. As one of the most energy efficient buildings in the company’s portfolio, it features a number of green technologies, including building envelope insulation well above code, multiple electric car charging stations, in-unit “green” plugs, in-floor radiant heating, rooftop solar hot water panels for domestic hot water pre-heating, and a rainwater collection system that is used for all toilets, making it a LEED certified building.

To assist in achieving its ESG goals, Killam has partnered with Natural Resources Canada to provide an additional 120 level II electric car chargers for its Nova Scotia properties, and more than 400 across its national portfolio. Killam also partnered locally with Eastward Energy to trial a gas absorption heat pump (GAHP) at one property to test the viability of this technology. They are in the early stages of working with non-profit EV4U to seek funding and to use one of its properties as a community hub for an electric transportation (car and bike) sharing pilot program.

Moving Forward

Looking ahead, Jessop notes that investigating deep energy retrofits (DER) within the company’s existing portfolio is a significant opportunity. “We’re just scratching the surface, but putting together an environmental improvement plan for individual buildings that looks at both efficiency as well as comfort levels for the residents is very interesting,” he says, adding that acquiring batteries to load shift and reduce peak demand charges, installing solar panels, working with natural gas partners to explore emerging technologies, and ongoing research to evaluate electrification potential are all important factors in lessening the company’s footprint.

“The future of ‘green’ energy may include a blended approach where multiple resources and technologies are utilized depending on the time of year, time of day, geographic location, weather, and economy,” says Jessop.

When asked what Halifax has to offer companies pursuing or providing green solutions, Tilley says that Muskrat Falls coming online and Nova Scotia Power being required to introduce a less carbon intensive grid will be advantageous for investors, adding that the region’s accessibility to renewable energy resources like wind, solar, hydrogen, hydro and tidal - which companies are investigating and investing in - means there is significant potential and a lot of work to be done.



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