Building space heating electrification | QuadReal

Challenge Synopsis:

QuadReal Property Group is a sustainability leader in the global real estate sector. We have set our target to align with Canada’s commitment under the Paris Agreement: an 80% reduction in carbon emissions from our Canadian portfolio by 2050 compared with our 2007 baseline. To achieve this target, we focus on low-carbon operations for new developments, improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings, use renewable energy and less carbon-intensive fuels, and assist tenants, residents, and peers in meeting their own carbon goals.

Electrification of existing buildings is a critical component of our strategy to decarbonize our portfolio. Natural gas consumption for space heating is a significant contributor to QuadReal’s Scope 1 emissions. To facilitate decarbonization, QuadReal is seeking to electrify space heating equipment in existing multi-unit residential (MURBs) and light industrial buildings.


Challenge Statement:

QuadReal is looking to pilot air- and water-source heat pump (ASHP/WSHP) solutions to replace natural gas-fired space heating equipment in existing MURBs and light industrial properties across Canada. We are interested in, but not limited to, the following solutions for MURBs:

  • Option 1: ductless ASHPs for use in-suite with no external unit
  • Option 2: central WSHP for use with existing hydronic heating systems

For industrial buildings, we are interested in, but not limited to, the following technologies:

  • ASHP packaged roof-top units (RTUs)
  • Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems with ASHPs



Heat pumps are a well-established technology for space heating and cooling in commercial and residential buildings. In addition to the carbon reduction benefits, heat pumps provide energy efficiency gains relative to natural gas boilers or electric resistance heaters. The technology also provides co-benefits through:

  • space cooling during summer months
  •  improved indoor air quality through advanced filtration systems and,
  • eliminating gas combustion in the building.

Unfortunately, uptake of heat pumps in Canada has been slow to date. Limited availability, low coefficient of performance (COP), and high cost of heat pumps has prevented wide-scale adoption of the technology in Canada.
Currently, nearly all of QuadReal’s MURB and industrial properties rely on natural gas consuming equipment for their space heating requirements. MURBs are typically heated using centralized gas condensing boilers. While industrial properties use gas-fired packaged roof top units. Gaining access to affordable, high efficiency heat pump technologies will support the decarbonization of our existing buildings.


Response Criteria:

  • ASHP/WHSP products suitable for retrofitting existing MURB and light industrial buildings, especially in Greater Vancouver Region and Greater Toronto Area, and, if possible, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa.
  • MURB solutions requirements:
    • Ductless in-suite ASHP with no external unit
      • Minimum coefficient of performance (COP) of 3
      • Capable of being primary heat source for 500 – 800 sqft suites
    • Central WSHP to replace gas fired boilers and chillers in hydronic systems
      • Tolerates input water temperatures ranging from 45°F-180°F (7°C – 83°C)
  •  Industrial solution requirements:
    •  Commercial ASHP RTU
      • Minimum COP of 5
    • VRF system packaged with an AHSP
      • Capable of providing simultaneous space heating and cooling


The Opportunity:

  • Potential to pitch your technology to one of Canada’s largest institutional real estate investors and operators
  • QuadReal is a sustainability leader in the global real estate sector. In recognition of our performance to date, our domestic portfolio was ranked 2nd overall in the diversified category by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) in 2020.
  • Opportunities for introductions to other leading real estate firms in the North American market


About QuadReal Property Group:

Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, QuadReal Property Group is an institutional, Canadian-owned global real estate company. Our team takes pride in delivering excellence in customer service as well as amenities and facilities that contribute to the health and wellness of our residents, tenants, and guests. We are committed to creating sustainable environments that bring value to the people and communities we serve. Now and for generations to come.