The bright side of building renovation

Other than the fact that it's obviously been renovated, an old building on 81st Avenue between 104th and 105th streets in Edmonton probably wouldn't catch your eye. But wait, could that awning just above the first floor windows actually be a set of solar panels? And are those solar panels on the roof as well?

Yes and yes.

"I would love to see more people do work like this," says Doga Ozum, one of two entrepreneurs who bought the old Greenwood Building in the historic section of the city known as Old Strathcona and had it retrofitted into boutique office space with a decidedly green theme. Features include energy efficient lighting and new triple-pane argon-filled windows. And of course there's the 2.4 kW solar photovoltaic system, which is similar in size to five of the other 12 in the city (the largest is 15 kW). There are about 100 in Alberta now.

Ozum and his partner, Carl Pedersen, paid less than $1 million for the building, built about 60 years ago. Does green office space have a future?

Well, consider that 85 per cent of the 6,600 sq. ft building was leased even before the first of three tenants moved in. More to the point, the renovation shows that not all green projects need massive multi-milliondollar budgets. Nor does a retrofit mean simply slapping up some new drywall, caulking the old windows, and installing new carpet.

Says Ozum: "We just decided we wanted to do something more environmentally conscious."


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