How much packaging does it take to promote energy conservation?

Lots, evidently, if you’re Toronto’s Better Buildings Partnership.

The partnership, which provides incentives for energy conservation in new and existing large buildings, issued a one-page press release yesterday.

But it wasn’t the release that was eye-catching.

It arrived in a large, brown paper envelope, padded with plastic bubble wrap. Inside the envelope was a cardboard box.

Inside the box, stuffed with tissue paper, was a green Lego toy, representing a building, with the Better Buildings Partnership logo on it.

Also in the box was a colour picture of the Lego toy; a piece of paper with the Better Buildings Partnership logo; and a one-page release about the Better Buildings Partnership.

Angela Gurley of Ketchum Public Relations, which handled the release, said the release was made as eco-friendly as possible.

“The paper itself — the actual one-page letter — was on recycled paper,” she said. “And we did make sure it was pushed down to one page so it wasn’t utilizing multiple pieces of paper.”

What about the bubble-wrap envelope, cardboard box, plastic toy, tissue paper and colour logo?

“I’ll have to go back to the team and talk about how the packaging was put together,” she said. “That’s a valid point, and I’ll definitely talk to them about that.”

Coun. Gord Perks said the release has to be seen in the context of the environmental improvements the partnership has prompted.

“The Better Buildings Partnership has created $180 million in economic impact, cut 300,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and created 2,500 person-years of employment,” Perks said.

“I think 17 pieces of Lego in recyclable cardboard boxes is not a terrible price.”

Jim Kamstra of the city’s facilities and real estate division said the partnership’s big effort at the moment is shaving 90 megawatts from Toronto’s electricity demand through conservation incentives funded by the Ontario Power Authority.

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