Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency - Volume 3, Issue 7

Volume 3, Issue 7

Portfolio Manager introduces waste benchmarking

Next month, you’ll see a new feature in your ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account: waste benchmarking. Like energy, waste management is a cost that you can control and reduce. And as with energy, you can’t manage what you don’t measure, so the first step to reducing your facility’s waste output is to measure that output.

With the new waste benchmarking features to be launched in August, you’ll be able to track 29 types of waste, including construction materials, paper, batteries, kitchen waste, furniture and textiles. You’ll also be able to specify how much of each type of waste was recycled, donated or reused, composted, or disposed. Once you start tracking your waste output, you’ll be able to see your annual totals per disposal method, cost metrics related to waste management, and your diversion rate (i.e. the percentage of waste that was recycled, donated/reused, or composted instead of disposed). Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to make a plan to reduce your waste output and divert as much as possible, reducing both your costs and your environmental footprint.

For more information on this new feature, visit the ENERGY STAR Buildings FAQs.

The Glen becomes Quebec’s first LEED-NC Gold certified hospital

Image of the Glen Hospital

McGill University Health Centre's (MUHC) recently opened Glen site is the first hospital in Quebec to be awarded LEED-NC (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - New Construction) Gold certification from the Canada Green Building Council. Opened in 2015, the Glen site houses the Montreal Children's Hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Montreal Chest Institute, the Cedars Cancer Centre, and the MUHC Research Institute. The facility was designed to be as eco-friendly as possible, and uses 35 percent less energy and 40 percent less potable water than a standard Canadian hospital. The energy savings alone have enabled the hospital to save $2 million per year.

The Glen site’s sustainable features include the following:

  • The use of natural light and specially designed light fixtures to reduce light pollution
  • Low-flow water fixtures to reduce water use
  • Extensive cycling infrastructure, including almost 400 bicycle parking spots, showers for bicycle commuters, and full connection to Montreal’s existing bike lane network
  • Almost 80 charging stations for electric vehicles
  • A waste management centre to recycle paper, cardboard, electronic waste, metal, glass and plastic
  • Green space, underground parking and a reflective roof to reduce urban heat island effect
  • Reuse or recycling of 94 percent of the construction and demolition debris during the construction of the new hospital
  • Local sourcing of 27 percent of the building materials used during construction

MUHC also hosts an organization-wide carpooling program and is implementing organic waste recycling at all its facilities, including the Glen site.

Now that the new facility is up and running, MUHC could consider tracking its energy use with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. By benchmarking against other Canadian hospitals, MUHC will be able to confirm the benefits of having built the Glen site to LEED Gold standards and support investment in potential future green building and retrofit projects.

For more information about McGill University Health Centre’s Glen site and its sustainable features, visit:

To learn more about energy efficiency in hospitals and other new buildings, visit:

Mississauga and Hamilton reap the rewards of LED street lighting

The City of Mississauga is leading the way in environmental street lighting. Its $26 million LED Street Lighting Conversion Project was launched in November 2012 and completed in December 2015. In that time, 49,000 street lights were changed from HPS (high-pressure sodium) fixtures to LED (light-emitting diode) lights, saving the city an estimated 55 percent in annual energy costs and providing numerous other tangible benefits.

Image of HPS versus LED lighting

In 2011, city administrators established that retrofitting street lights could significantly reduce costs and maintenance. In that year alone, the city spent $6.1 million on energy, including street lighting, and another $2.3 million on lighting maintenance. A LED street lighting retrofit was proposed and approved by city council, and a $1.4 million incentive from Ontario’s SaveONenergy program helped to bring the estimated payback period to about four years.

In addition to reducing energy and maintenance costs, the LED Street Lighting Conversion Project has diminished the amount of light pollution at night, since LED lights have less sky glow than other lights. The white light emitted by LEDs also provides for safer neighbourhoods by offering better visibility, object recognition and colour rendering for both pedestrians and motorists.

The project also included the installation of a state-of-the-art street light monitoring system that detects malfunctioning street lights and transmits the information wirelessly. Service time under the new system is dramatically improved compared to the previous approach, which relied on night-time patrols every 60 days. The wireless system monitors the status of street lights, power loss, and energy consumption in real time.

The City of Hamilton has also implemented successful LED street lighting retrofits. Mike Field, Project Manager, Street Lighting and Electrical Engineering for the city, notes that, in addition to all the benefits already mentioned, LED street lights have other benefits over other lighting technologies: they produce more light per watt consumed and distribute light more effectively, lighting only the areas where it’s wanted.

Field advises that study and preparation are critical to a retrofit project’s success, and he cautions that it’s not enough to simply apply conventional street lighting standards and best practices, because LED lighting differs in terms of equipment specification, lighting design and long-term maintenance strategies. The City of Hamilton was careful to choose LED fixtures that met minimum technical benchmarks and provided sufficient lighting performance.

“Cities can really benefit from retrofitting their street lighting to LED,” says Field. “Not only are there considerable operational savings, but it is an optimal opportunity to re-visit, correct and improve the quality of the lighting of sidewalks and roadways.”

Municipalities that are considering a similar street lighting retrofit can take several approaches depending on available resources and expertise. If resources are available, they can complete the work internally, as did the City of Mississauga and the City of Hamilton. Or they can take advantage of the turnkey services provided by an energy service company (ESCo). Either way, a street lighting retrofit is well worth considering. Scott Vokey, Energy Services Manager at Local Authority Services, an Ontario ESCo, says that a typical project reduces energy costs by 40 to 78 percent and maintenance costs by up to 80 percent.

Martin Powell, Commissioner of Transportation and Works Department for the City of Mississauga, believes that the LED Street Lighting Conversion project was a success that Mississauga can be proud of: “We are proud to be a leader in implementing this green technology and for being one of the first Canadian cities to have a citywide LED street light program.”

For more information about Mississauga’s street lighting retrofit project, visit: Mississauga street lighting article and Mississauga switching street lights to LEDs article.

Let us know what you think

Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency is published by Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency and distributed monthly to 16,000 subscribers. Our goal is to deliver meaningful news and information about programs, services and events related to energy efficiency in commercial and institutional buildings and, as well, to share the success stories of organizations that have benefited from positive change. Help us spread the word by sending this link to your colleagues. We encourage you to subscribe to our sister publication that focuses on energy efficiency in industrial facilities, Heads Up CIPEC.

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