Greenpeace Canada has a great new enviro headquarters!

Feature story - July 28, 2009
Thanks to the Steelworkers Toronto Area Council (the owners of 33 Cecil Street), Greenpeace Canada has found a new home that not only reduces overhead costs but also allows us to work in a great, green space.

Greenpeace climbers hang welcome banner for the open house

This office is one of four that Greenpeace operates in Canada (Toronto,Montreal, Vancouver and Edmonton) and is our national headquarters.Following years of steady growth we outgrew our former location andpartnering with Steel on this project seemed like a sensible approachto our new housing needs.

Currently owned by the Steelworkers Toronto Area Council, 33 CecilStreet was built in the 1930's and has been a hub for progressivechange in Ontario for many years.  It has been home to theInternational Ladies Garment Workers Union - serving the once robusttextile industry on Spadina - the Ontario Federation of Labour's HumanRights office, the ONDP headquarters, Steelworkers offices, meetingspace for countless community organizations and events as well as theinnovative non-profit dental clinic that continues to provide quality,affordable dental care to workers.   

Greenpeace is proud to be part of this progressive tradition.

Official ribbon cutting at the open house (l. to r,Paul Thompson - Greenpeace, Ken Neumann - National Director, UnitedSteelworkers (USW), Joe Pantalone - Toronto Deputy Mayor, Carolyn Egan- President, Steelworkers Toronto Area Council, Bruce Cox - GreenpeaceExecutive Director, Alex Cheeseman - Greenpeace.

Described below are some of the green improvements we have made in ournew building.  There is more to be done so please consider purchasingan engraved brick for the urban garden and be a part of our creative,green space for progressive change! Buy an engraved patio stone now.

Geothermal system. Our new building is heated and cooled by the earth's energy. It has a closed-loop vertical geothermal system, provided by Groundheat Systems Internationalat a discounted rate. This project was financed in partnership with theSteelworkers Toronto Area Council. The system has 16 pipes which arefull of fluid, 450 feet deep into the ground.  They draw energy in theform of cooling and/or heating from the earth and transfer it into thebuilding. This will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by manytons each year making for cleaner air and mitigating against globalwarming.

Fifteen separate heat pumps and thermostats in the office allow staffto control the heating and cooling of their work environment. Thissaves energy as well as provides greater comfort for staff.

Environmental benefits aside, the building will be heated and cooledalmost free of charge. The system, which should last about 50 years,will pay for itself over 15 years by significantly reduced heating andcooling costs.

Other Energy Efficiencies. To reduce energy costs, we'veinstalled high energy efficient windows (fibre glass frames, no PVC),an energy efficient lighting system (T8 fluorescents) and an energyrecovery ventilator unit. Many of the lights in the common areas are onmotion detectors that automatically turn off if no one is in the area.We also have highly energy efficient, formaldehyde-free, closed cellpolyurethane insulation called 'Walltite Eco', generously donated by BASF Canada and with the installation donated by Insta-Installation.We even replaced our old bulky CRT (cathode ray tube) desktop computerscreens with energy efficient flat LCD screens.  Our thanks to bothBASF Canada and Insta-Installation for these gifts-in-kind.

For more information about Walltite, visit: and search for insulation.

For more Greenpeace information on energy efficiency, click here.

Front lobby featuring FSC flooring and Great Bear Rainforest mural

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified flooring. The boardroom andfront entrance has FSC certified flooring. That means the wood isharvested from sustainably managed forests. For more information on FSCcertified wood and other products, please visit:

For more information on FSC from Greenpeace, click here.

Reduce: In the planning stages of the project we were careful toutilize as much of the existing structure as possible so as to minimizeresources consumed. We maintained walls wherever possible and repairedrather than ripped down areas in need of work.

Instead of purchasing new flooring we choose to restore the retro-lookterrazzo flooring to its former glory. This first required theprofessional removal of aging asbestos based floor tiles.

Re-use: We pulled up the Marmoleum flooring from our old office,brought it along with us to Cecil Street and installed it on the secondfloor in the front offices. Marmoleum is a natural product made fromlinseed oil, woodflour, pine rosin, jute and limestone and is durable,comfortable and available in many colours and forms.  The Marmoleumtiles click into place, are easy to install yourself, offer manycombinations and are easily moveable.

Of course, we also reused the furniture from our old office. To supplyour office expansion, we purchased reconditioned phone handsets and 22used desks.

Bike-friendly, transit-friendly workplace. A lot of Greenpeacestaff ride bikes to work. To encourage bike-riding, we've made sure thebuilding has bike racks. We've also installed showers with low-flowshowerheads to encourage cycling on hot summer days. And, for those whodon't cycle, we've made sure our new headquarters is easily accessibleby public transportation.

Our special thanks to Levitt Goodman Architects and Boszko and Verity, Contractors who turned ideas into realities.

The garden. Students from the Humber Horticulture Program wereasked to create garden designs that would take in account ecologicalprinciples, functional needs, and budget. We were very impressed withthe high caliber of the designs we received from the students and wouldlike to thank them and the Humber Horticulture Program faculty fortheir participation in this project.  Fleisher Ridout Partnership Inc.have used the best features from the students work to develop gardenplan that will utilize native plants, beautify the neighbourhood,attract butterflies, help filter our air and create plenty of bicycleparking.

Tanya Olsen, Humber College Instructor (1st left), Jackie Gallagher,Greenpeace (2nd left) with the Humber horticultural design students andtheir top three designs for the Greenpeace garden.

Integrated into the plan are beautiful engraved patio stonesrecognizing individual donors who have helped make 33 Cecil Street aclimate friendly, environmentally sustainable work place forprogressive change. There is still room for your stone in theGreenpeace Garden. Buy an engraved patio stone now.