Pioneering Sustainability in Real Estate


Starlight Investments, a globally-leading real estate asset manager, has consistently demonstrated a commitment to the convergence of innovation and sustainability within the real estate industry. The company owns and manages a diverse array of buildings, ranging from over 54,000 multi-family residential units to 7,000,000+ SF of commercial space across Canada. Each property is an emblem of their dedication to redefining the boundaries of sustainable living and operational excellence. With its expansive portfolio, Starlight has solidified its position as a key influencer in the real estate domain.

The organization transcends mere numbers, epitomizing a corporate entity of substantial stature. It’s sheer scale is a testament to its resilience and agility in navigating the dynamic real estate landscape with an ESG Action Plan that houses 80+ targets, a 12% reduction in carbon emissions (since 2019), and 30+ BOMA BEST certifications awarded annually. The company has consistently been at the forefront of pioneering sustainable initiatives, aligning its business strategies with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles. Some key sustainability initiatives undertaken by Starlight Investments include:



Starlight has implemented cutting-edge energy-efficient technologies across its buildings, reducing overall carbon footprints and contributing to energy conservation on a substantial scale.

Several properties within their portfolio have achieved prestigious green building certifications, emphasizing the company’s dedication to environmentally conscious construction and management practices.

They have actively explored and integrated renewable energy sources into select properties. This forward-thinking approach aligns with the company’s commitment to transitioning towards a low-carbon and sustainable energy future.

In addition to environmental initiatives, Starlight actively engages with local communities, fostering social sustainability through philanthropic endeavours, community events, and initiatives that contribute positively to the well-being of residents and neighbours.

Starlight has implemented comprehensive waste reduction and recycling programs across its properties, minimizing environmental impact and promoting responsible waste management practices.
To summarize, Starlight is a leading global real estate investment and asset management firm that continually demonstrates dedication to shaping a more sustainable and resilient future for both its business operations and the communities it serves.
Starlight Investment's Biofilter Living Wall


Starlight has consistently shown a commitment to excellence and sustainability in the ever-evolving real estate landscape. This case study unfolds against the backdrop of 1042 Paisley Road, Guelph, Ontario, a building within their expansive portfolio and one in which the ownership group has an affinity towards nature-driven solutions.

In 2023, Starlight looked to the interior of their buildings to further enhance resident experience and well-being. The addition of a Living Wall Biofilter, would offer residents a direct connection to nature while also taking indoor air quality from good to great, without the increase of ventilation.

ASHRAE has established benchmarks for indoor air quality that are recognized globally. These standards encompass a comprehensive set of guidelines, ensuring optimal air quality conducive to human health, comfort, and well-being within built environments. Prior to the initiation of this case study, the indoor air quality at 1042 Paisley Road was monitored and maintained in alignment with ASHRAE standards. However, recognizing the ever-increasing significance of indoor air quality and its profound impact on occupant health, Starlight Investments sought not only to meet but to exceed these standards, pioneering a novel approach to environmental stewardship.
Central to Starlight’s vision was a commitment to enhancing the health and well-being of the building’s occupants through biophilic design. The company recognizes that the incorporation of nature into the built environment directly correlates with the health and satisfaction of individuals residing or working within the premises. Simultaneously, Starlight Investments aimed to achieve a heightened level of indoor air quality without escalating energy consumption. The utilization of traditional ventilation methods would result in increased energy demand, conflicting with their overarching sustainability goals.

Cognizant of the delicate balance between optimizing for wellness and energy efficiency, they strategically opted for a living wall biofilter solution provided by New Earth Solutions. This approach allowed for enhancement of the indoor environment, aligning with ASHRAE standards, while circumventing the pitfalls associated with amplified energy consumption.


Biophilic design, or nature-based design, can provide numerous tangible benefits to the building occupants. As humans in a modern society, we spend 90% of our lives indoors, disconnected from nature. The trend of biophilic design aims to design spaces that reconnect us with our innate desire to interact with nature. The benefits of doing so include:
Biophilic design impact
As we discuss this project, it is important to delineate between a living wall and a living wall biofilter. Living walls predominantly serve ornamental purposes by incorporating verdant plant life into vertical surfaces. While aesthetically pleasing, their capacity to actively contribute to air quality improvement is often limited. In contrast, the living wall biofilter transcends the realm of aesthetics to deliver a dynamic solution that marries nature and air purification seamlessly. The biofiltration system adorns the built environment with greenery while actively engaging in the removal of pollutants, thereby enhancing indoor air quality.
The living wall biofilter emerged as the optimal choice for Starlight as it presented a dual advantage. It successfully improved indoor air quality without necessitating an increase in the air change schedule, circumventing the potential spike in energy consumption associated with traditional ventilation methods. Beyond the immediate benefits of air purification, the living wall biofilter contributed significantly to the overall health of the building through the integration of nature. This nature-based solution created a symbiotic relationship that resonated with the ethos of Starlight. Allowing residents to connect with nature within the confines of their living space fosters positive psychological well-being. The installation creates an environment that positively influences mood, reduces stress, and contributes to an overall sense of calm and tranquillity. It transforms the indoor environment into a living, breathing space that resonates with the innate human connection to nature. 

For these reasons, the living wall biofilter emerged as the quintessential solution for the project, embodying a harmonious convergence of nature and air quality improvement. The subsequent sections of this case study explore the testing methodology and the evidence of the transformative impact this innovative solution has had on the indoor environment of 1042 Paisley Road.


The overarching objective of this air quality assessment was to quantitatively explain the efficacy of the living wall biofilter installed at Starlight’s building, 1042 Paisley Road, Guelph, Ontario. The investigation focused on comprehensive parameters, including temperature, total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) and carbon dioxide (CO2).


The Temperature Measurement
– Utilization of calibrated temperature sensors strategically positioned within the lobby space
– Continuous monitoring over a 60-day period using precision thermocouples with an accuracy of ±0.1°C

Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOCs)
– Deployment of high-precision TVOC sensors, capable of discerning a myriad of volatile organic compounds
– Non-stop monitoring for 60 days to establish baseline concentrations and post-installation variations

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Levels
– Incorporation of CO2 sensors calibrated to NIST standards
– Uninterrupted surveillance for two months to gauge CO2 fluctuations and trends pre- and post-biofilter implementation

Pre-Installation Phase
– Commencement of air quality monitoring 30 days prior to the installation of the living wall biofilter
– Regular data collection at predetermined intervals to capture diurnal and nocturnal variations

Installation Phase
– Installation of the living wall biofilter as per manufacturer specifications
– Immediate commencement of post-installation air quality monitoring for the subsequent 30-day period

Data Analysis
– Employed advanced statistical techniques, including time series analysis and multivariate regression, to discern meaningful patterns and statistical significance
– Comparison of pre and post-installation datasets to quantify alterations in temperature, TVOCs, CO2, and PM concentrations

Calibration Checks
– Frequent calibration checks of all sensors to ensure accuracy and reliability throughout the assessment period

Environmental Conditions Monitoring
– Simultaneous monitoring of external environmental conditions to account for extraneous factors influencing indoor air quality

Data Validation
– Rigorous validation of collected data through redundant sensor arrays to eliminate outliers and enhance data integrity

The culmination of this testing methodology provides a nuanced and data-driven narrative of the tangible impact of the living wall biofilter on indoor air quality. The reporting that follows highlights the transformative effects that the biofilter living wall had on the ambient atmosphere within the specified framework.



New Earth Solutions executed the installation in accordance with the manufactures standards, ensuring optimal coverage and integration with the existing architectural aesthetics. Concurrent with the installation, advanced air quality sensors were strategically placed in the building’s lobby. These sensors formed the backbone of an intricate data collection system designed to capture nuanced variations in temperature, total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) and carbon dioxide (CO2).



Feedback from building occupants after the implementation period echoed a distinct improvement in their overall well-being. Residents commented on the tranquillity of the space not only due to the visual improvements with the plants but also the soothing sound of trickling water. The visual appeal of the living wall, coupled with the quantifiable enhancement in air quality, elicited positive responses that highlights a more satisfied and health-conscious community.
Biophilic design fostered a positive and inviting atmosphere, contributing to a more enjoyable environment. In observing the lobby, residents would naturally congregate to the living wall and engage with staff and neighbours.

While the space had already shown a very strong indoor air quality score of 87.5% prior to the installation, the continuous monitoring of parameters post-installation revealed a score exceeding 98%. This was witnessed through a notable reduction in TVOCs and CO2 levels, demonstrating the efficacy of the biofiltration system. The data reflects a healthy increase in humidity, creating a more comfortable and thermally stable environment for occupants. Crucially, the biofilter achieved these remarkable results without necessitating an increase in the air change schedule, thus validating its role in enhancing air quality without compromising energy efficiency. This alignment with Starlight Investments’ sustainability goals underscores the strategic foresight in the selection of the living wall biofilter.
Indoor air quality and VOC levels graphs
Graphs showing the humidity levels and CO2 levels


In the realm of real estate asset management, the integration of sustainability initiatives is not merely a commendable endeavour; it is a strategic imperative that aligns with overarching Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals. The Living Wall Biofilter at 1042 Paisley Road stands as a beacon of innovation, contributing meaningfully to Starlight Properties’ ESG aspirations.


The living wall biofilter has demonstrably improved indoor air quality, aligning with Starlight’s commitment to environmentally conscious practices. This aligns with the ‘Environmental’ pillar of ESG, as it reduces the ecological footprint of the building. The biofilter’s ability to enhance air quality without necessitating an increase in the ventilation system’s workload speaks directly to energy efficiency, a pivotal component of Starlight’s environmental sustainability goals.


The incorporation of nature within the built environment directly contributes to the well-being of building occupants. Beyond quantitative metrics, this resonates with the ‘Social’ aspect of ESG, fostering a positive and health-centric living environment. The living wall biofilter has become a focal point for community interaction and engagement. Starlight’s commitment to social responsibility is embodied in the creation of spaces that not only meet functional needs but also nurture a sense of community.


The strategic decision to invest in a living wall biofilter showcases governance excellence. It reflects a forward-thinking approach to property management that not only meets regulatory standards but also positions the asset for long-term sustainability. Alignment with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The living wall biofilter at 1042 Paisley Road is a perfect representation of Starlight’s alignment with global sustainable development goals. This strategic alignment reinforces the company’s commitment to responsible governance within the broader context of societal well-being.

This project not only represents a sustainable investment but a strategic augmentation of the asset’s intrinsic value. The tangible contributions to ESG goals position 1042 Paisley Road as a beacon of responsible asset management, poised to deliver not just financial returns but a holistic, sustainable living experience.


Through the implementation of the living wall biofilter at 1042 Paisley Road, Starlight has achieved a noteworthy feat in energy avoidance. A staggering 4113.99 kWh and 169.16 MBTUs (Million British Thermal Units) have been avoided by opting for this biofiltration system over traditional ventilation methods when increasing IAQ. These energy avoidances translates into substantial cost avoidance for Starlight property while simultaneously improving the health of their building, underlining not only the environmental stewardship but the financial prudence inherent in this sustainable choice.

Imagine if Starlight were to implement this energy-efficient biofiltration technology across their entire real estate portfolio. The cumulative energy savings would be monumental, revolutionizing the operational landscape of the company and drastically reducing its carbon footprint. The potential dollar savings across the portfolio could reach astronomical figures, injecting an unparalleled level of cost-efficient sustainability into Starlight’s business model. Beyond mere financial savings, this strategic move positions Starlight as an industry trailblazer, showcasing that environmental responsibility and fiscal prudence can harmoniously coexist.

By using the IAQP formula, Starlight would be avoiding the following usage of electricity and gas to improve air quality. This is the result of simply circulating the existing indoor air through the biofilter living wall. Thereby avoiding the cost of cooling/heating/humidification or dehumidification treatment of the air year-round.

Annual Energy Reduction:
7,560 kWh (Electricity)
169 MTU (Natural Gas)
5952 kg of CO2e (Carbon Equivalent)


IAQP formula


In the scope of real estate innovation, the living wall biofilter emerges as a beacon illuminating the path toward sustainable and future-ready environments. The transformative journey undertaken by Starlight Investments at this property exemplifies a paradigm shift in real estate management, inviting fellow asset managers and REITs to embrace a new era of sustainability. The biofilter, with its dual prowess in air quality enhancement and biophilic design, showcases the formidable impact that strategic integration of nature can have on the overall well-being of building occupants. Not only does the installation align with ESG benchmarks but it propels the property into a realm where sustainability is not a mere checkbox but a living, breathing ethos.

To the astute asset manager seeking not just financial returns but also the creation of enduring value, consider the living wall biofilter. It is a powerful testament to the possibilities that arise when environmental consciousness converges with strategic decision-making. In the face of burgeoning environmental challenges, the real estate industry stands at the forefront of change. The living wall biofilter at 1042 Paisley Road is not just a case study—it is a call to action. It beckons asset managers and property owners to embrace the green future, where sustainable initiatives drive environmental benefits and enhance asset value and occupant satisfaction.


Starlight Investments Images