The Bank of Montreal (BMO) announced the launch of a program to help Canadian commercial building owners get the financing they need to execute energy retrofits at the pace and depth required to help achieve net zero.

BMO is the first financial institution in Canada to offer a unique financial ecosystem that provides access to impact capital through the Canada Infrastructure Bank, with long term refinancing through BMO.

“Inspired by our Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO’s Climate Ambition is to be our clients’ lead partner in the transition to a net zero world,” said Jeffrey Shell, head of alternatives, Commercial ESG and Innovation, BMO Global Asset Management. “Greenhouse gas emissions from Canada’s building and construction sector account for an estimated 30 per cent of Canada’s total emissions profile, and there is no route to net zero without extensive energy efficiency retrofits to existing building stock. This program is an example of the way we partner with organizations to create new and effective sustainable solutions for our clients.”

Recent projects include an innovative adaptive re-use project by real estate development firm Sidewalk RED in Nova Scotia.

“We’re excited to be at the leading edge of sustainable finance innovation in the real estate sector,” said Nadim Hirji, Group Head, BMO Commercial Bank, North America. “As a major bank with a focus on sustainability, BMO has a role to play in supporting Canadian building owners with access to the financing they need to be part of the energy transition and we’ve already seen some promising early take up by clients.”

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“At Sidewalk RED, we’re working with BMO to convert a largely vacant office building into 141 units of desperately needed rental housing, while decarbonizing the building’s day-to-day operations and saving over 5,000 tonnes of embodied carbon emissions by choosing to convert an existing building, rather than build new,” said Joe Nickerson, vice president and partner, Sidewalk RED. “Our aim is to embed both the social and environmental dimensions of ESG into our development philosophy and do our part to build better neighbourhoods.”

Featured image: (Sidewalk Real Estate Development)

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