Your role in energy efficiency

What you can do

Within every organization, a variety of key players have a significant impact on energy consumption, from decisions on technical elements such as retrofits to the installation of new software and computer equipment. All of these decision-makers affect how your organization uses energy. We have outlined a variety of roles and opportunities that may exist within your organization to help guide you on your path towards energy efficiency and at the same time, help your organization become a model "corporate citizen."

Senior manager

As a senior manager with the power to make decisions, you are in a position to take on a significant leadership role in your organization's energy management practices whether for a new, existing or federal building. Your commitment to responsible energy management will help to inspire a level of energy awareness (Implementing an Energy Efficiency Awareness Program [PDF - 1.2 MB]) and embed energy efficiency into your organization's culture. Commit also to benchmarking your organization's energy performance. Find out how you're doing in comparison to your peers and to your own past performance. With energy costs likely making up 30 percent of your organization's operating budget, it won't be long before your energy management actions will lead to noticeable improvements and you start reaping the benefits. With better energy management, your bottom line will improve, increasing your asset value and enabling you to be more competitive in your industry.

Finally, share your success story. Your hard work has paid off, and that entitles you to some bragging rights, including an enhanced reputation and the right to present your organization as a good corporate citizen. Share your strategies and best practices with your peers and challenge them to do likewise.

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Energy manager

As an energy manager, your role is to ensure that your organization is as energy efficient as possible. This involves keeping abreast of applicable legislation and new technologies, monitoring and benchmarking energy use, and proposing ways to improve energy efficiency, among other duties. Look for opportunities to meet other energy managers so that you can share your best practices and learn from their experiences.

One of the more challenging aspects of your job may be getting senior management on board. Improving energy efficiency often involves expenditures and/or behavioural changes, and you may have to sell these ideas to your organization's decision-makers. Make sure you understand the organization's priorities so you can present energy initiatives in a way that aligns with those priorities. Learn to speak management's language, and you'll soon see results.

If you need assistance, energy management training can help. For more information, check out our Energy management training section, or email info.services@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca.

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Building owner

As a building owner, you have a significant role to play in your building's energy efficiency, and the long-term benefits to you are just as significant, including lower maintenance costs, higher rental rates, more stable occupancy and a higher selling price if you choose to sell.

For new buildings, make sure that they're built to Canada's new building energy code, consider using an integrated design process, and work with your contractors and energy service professionals to choose materials and methods that will provide the highest energy efficiency.

For an existing building, consider retrocommissioning/recommissioning it to see where energy efficiency improvements could be introduced. Make sure your building occupants are familiar with the energy-efficient features of the building, and encourage them to implement their own energy management best practices.

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Employee/building occupant

As an individual building occupant, your role in energy efficiency may seem insignificant, but if everyone does their part, a building's occupants as a group can make a tremendous difference in helping to turn their organization into a good corporate citizen.

Make a personal commitment to becoming more energy efficient at home, at work and on the road. Start with the energy use that you control, such as turning lights and equipment off when you don't need them (wherever possible), opening your blinds on sunny winter days and closing them on hot summer days, and making sure that your heating/cooling vents stay clear.

You can consider joining the energy committee if your organization has one, or starting one if it doesn't, and then brainstorm new and creative ways to improve the energy efficiency in your building. And finally, don't forget that you can amplify your effect by employing many of the same strategies at home.

For more information, read our Implementing an Energy Efficiency Awareness Program [PDF - 1.2 MB].

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Financial lender

As a financial lender, your role is to get informed and get involved. Consider doing some research into the subject or even attending some energy management training with a focus on financing. Learn about the upfront costs of energy efficiency and the long-term benefits to get a better sense of the actual risks - probably lower than you think!

Request energy efficiency plans for all building financing projects you're approving. Actively seek out lending opportunities that already have sound energy efficiency strategies in place, and encourage the ones that don't to develop them.

If you need assistance, energy management training can help. For more information, check out our Energy management training section, or email info.services@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca.

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Investor

As an investor in a new building project or in the purchase of an existing building, it's in your best interests to ensure that the building is as energy efficient as possible. Energy efficiency investments offer plenty of long-term benefits, including significant savings on energy and maintenance costs, higher and more stable occupancy rates, and higher rental and selling prices. Because of these factors, it makes sense to look into an existing building's energy infrastructure before you invest, and to insist on higher energy performance from any new building project you're considering. Even if you've never thought about how energy efficiency affects your investments, it's never too late to start.

For more information, read our Financial considerations page.

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Energy service professional

As an energy service professional, your role is to help building owners and managers achieve their energy savings goals by sharing your knowledge, including energy management best practices and case studies, and by making it possible for them to acquire the systems they need. You serve as a project facilitator with the technical expertise to develop, install and maintain energy efficient equipment and systems. You can help arrange financing for energy efficiency projects through energy performance contracting, frequently taking on the financial risks and getting repaid through the dollar savings generated. For building owners with limited know-how or funding, your efforts can help them achieve levels of energy efficiency they never thought possible.

If you've developed an innovative best practice, we'd love to hear about it. Contact us at info.services@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca to share your success story.

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