August 8, 2022

The Turntide pilot project: innovating with green technologies

Real estate is the sector that contributes the most to climate change, accounting for 40% of global CO2 emissions. In response, Ivanhoé Cambridge is committed to achieving carbon neutrality in its portfolio by 2040 and is conducting a number of pilot projects to achieve that goal. For 2025, a 35% reduction in emissions is targeted for properties owned by the Company. We firmly believe that innovation is one of the cornerstones of our efforts to achieve more sustainable property development. 

As part of our ongoing plan to improve the energy efficiency of our assets and to develop innovative solutions enabling us to test, learn and scale new ideas and technologies, we conducted a pilot project with Turntide Technologies at two of our Canadian shopping centres. The reason is simple: one of the best ways to reduce carbon emissions in buildings is to make them more energy efficient.

Impressive results

Turntide has developed proprietary technology designed to reduce energy consumption that is wasted by legacy electric motors used by HVAC units (for heating, ventilation and air conditioning). Electric motors work quietly in the background of our daily lives, allowing our elevators, water pumps, and air conditioning systems to operate. In fact, almost half of the world’s electricity runs through electric motors. Unfortunately, most of them don’t run efficiently, and up to half of the energy is wasted.

To investigate the tremendous potential of the solution proposed by Turntide, Ivanhoé Cambridge has launched a pilot project to test the technology on some HVAC units and learn how to make the most of it. The tests involve Turntide’s Optimal Efficiency Motors™, which are designed with optimal device physics and patented motor control algorithms to reduce utility bills significantly while also enabling intelligent control systems.

Two of our Canadian shopping centres – CrossIron Mills in Calgary, Alberta, and Vaughan Mills in Vaughan, Ontario – were selected for the pilot project, and motors were recently installed to test the technology on the HVAC units installed on their respective roofs. The results are impressive: we reduced energy consumption by more than 35% on each HVAC units at each location, or the equivalent of 39 metric tonnes of CO2, which is equal to the greenhouse gases emitted by a gasoline-powered vehicle that travels nearly 155,000 km. One reason for this result was a 78% reduction in motor power.

“This a great example of a very simple energy efficiency option: it’s a plugin device. We’re replacing the motor in an existing HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) unit with a more efficient option. Since the installation of three motors, we’ve seen a significant reduction in electricity consumption equivalent to a saving of 56,000 kWh of energy a year. That’s enough to fully charge nearly five million smartphones. Projects and programs like this are essential because they can be implemented quickly and easily. They’re cost-effective and scalable, and we’re already seeing opportunities to extend this technology to other retail locations and properties across other asset classes.”

 – Rob Simpson, Senior Director, Sustainability, Ivanhoé Cambridge

“This pilot project is particularly attractive because we simply replace the existing motor and also because it offers a great return on our investment. It’s also a fine example of what Ivanhoé Cambridge wants to achieve: launch MVPs to test, learn and scale solutions that respond to our objectives, in this case, carbon neutrality.”

– Karine Trudel, Director, Innovation and Continuous Improvement, Ivanhoé Cambridge

A promising initiative from the Climate Tech Fund

Turntide Technologies is the first company in which Fifth Wall invested through its Climate Tech Fund, in which Ivanhoé Cambridge was the first investor. For the first time, the world’s largest property owners and operators are joining forces to invest in the technology needed to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint. The fund has already reached $500 million.

To learn more about Turnide’s pilot project, watch the video.

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