Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency – Volume 1, Issue 6

Volume 1, Issue 6

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager: spotlight on the City of Richmond

Image of Richmond City Hall

The City of Richmond, British Columbia, recently launched its first-ever Richmond Energy Challenge.

The Challenge aims to help building owners, managers and operators reduce energy use in their facilities, by providing training, services, tools and a community of peers. The Challenge is being launched this month and will culminate in an awards ceremony in September 2015 to recognize those buildings that have achieved the greatest savings.

Intended for commercial, institutional and multi-family buildings, the Challenge is a fun, informative and friendly competition to reduce energy use and increase building management and operations staff’s skills in energy management. Energy use will be tracked and monitored using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.


The City will facilitate training and workshops for participants that focus on how to develop energy saving projects and take advantage of utility incentives. Assistance in entering data into Portfolio Manager will also be provided as part of the City’s offerings.

The City has set an internal target of 5 million square feet (465 000 square metres) of building area and 70 organizations.

For more information on the Richmond Energy Challenge, visit the City of Richmond’s Sustainability & Environment page or contact the City of Richmond’s Sustainability Manager, Brendan McEwen.

Calling all municipalities!

Building competitions are a great way to inspire organizations to save money and reduce energy use by challenging them to improve their building’s energy efficiency.

Which municipality has the most energy efficient buildings in Canada? Now is the time for your municipality to find out. Embark on your own city challenge and take up the call to save energy and improve performance through energy benchmarking with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.  Portfolio Manager can help your municipality monitor progress towards becoming a more energy efficient and sustainable community.

For information on how your municipality can use Portfolio Manager to support its energy reduction challenge, e-mail info.services@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca.


New features recently added to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager image

Several new sharing and reporting enhancements have recently been added to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to make it easier to share properties and meters with others.

New sharing features

“Share Forward”: This feature allows you to share a property that has been shared with you. As noted in our last issue, the share forward function has been carefully designed to offer the greatest possible flexibility while still allowing the main property data administrator to maintain full control of a shared property. 

Bulk Sharing: You can share multiple properties with multiple contacts with one click (as long as everyone is getting the same permissions). You’ll also be able to update or delete sharing in bulk.

New Sharing Report: You can download an Excel file with all your shared properties, permissions, and everything else at a glance.

Other enhancements

Enhanced property transfers: You can transfer a property to another user while maintaining all the current "shares" for the property.

Mass accept/clear for notifications: You can “Clear All” or “Accept All” notifications. This will be especially important if you plan to use the bulk sharing feature.

For more information on this new feature, read ENERGY STAR: Frequently Asked Questions or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s How to Share Properties with Other Users in Portfolio Manager.

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager: Upcoming webinar training opportunities

Image of computer screen

Looking for a little help on how to get the most out of ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager? Natural Resources Canada is pleased to offer you some valuable new information and training opportunities. A new “office hours” webinar as well as our online demos for both new users and those with working knowledge of Portfolio Manager will be offered in October.

Portfolio Manager Office Hours

Portfolio Manager Office Hours (Canada)

This live webinar will give you an opportunity to ask questions directly to representatives of Natural Resources Canada in an open forum. The first 30 minutes will focus on ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager’s new sharing features while for the remaining time, webinar participants will have the opportunity to ask any questions related to Portfolio Manager.

The first Office Hours (Canada) will be held on October 8, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. EDT (English) and October 9 at 1:30 p.m. EDT (French). You can register for the English webinar or the French webinar directly or contact us for more information.

Portfolio Manager Demonstration Training Series

Portfolio Manager 101

This training webinar will show you how to:

  • Navigate in the tool
  • Add a property and its use details
  • Add energy and water meters and enter consumption data
  • Share properties with other users
  • Generate performance reports
  • Respond to data requests from other users (often a component of competitions or reporting requirements)

Portfolio Manager 101 will be held on October 22, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. EDT (English) and October 23 at 1:30 p.m. EDT (French). You can register for the English webinar or the French webinar directly or contact us for more information.

Portfolio Manager 201

Program participants will learn how to:

  • Edit property information
  • Correct or update property use details
  • Address data quality alerts
  • Add data using the spreadsheet upload feature
  • Use the Planning tab to set baselines and goals
  • Use custom reports to analyze progress and performance
  • Use the Sustainable Buildings Checklist

Portfolio Manager 201 will be held on October 29, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. EDT (English) and October 30 at 1:30 p.m. EDT (French). You can register for the English webinar or the French webinar directly or contact us for more information.

New publication available online from Natural Resources Canada

Image of the Federal Buildings Initiative publication

Laboratories and research facilities can consume up to eight times the energy of a typical office building. With help from Natural Resources Canada’s Federal Buildings Initiative, the National Research Council Canada upgraded the lab ventilation systems of an older facility at its Ottawa headquarters. The project yielded annual energy savings of $480,000 – exceeding original projections by 33 percent.

To learn more, read: Better airflow, less energy, lower costs: Fume hood retrofits yield big benefits for National Research Council Canada Building M-12.


Intent statements for the National Energy Code of Canada

Image of the National Energy Code of Canada

Intent statements for the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB 2011) have been developed and are now available, free of charge.

Containing useful information not available elsewhere, intent statements help users understand the rationale behind each Code requirement. This leads to a more accurate interpretation and application of the acceptable solutions published in Division B of the Code, as well as a clearer understanding of what alternative solutions should achieve.

Intent statements are published by NRC on behalf of the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC).

For more information or to obtain a copy of these statements, contact Heather Knudsen, National Research Council Canada at Heather.Knudsen@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca.


ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager: FAQs

Question mark image

Since the release of the going live in the summer of 2013, we have seen a strong uptake of Portfolio Manager in Canada. We are providing you with some FAQs that may help to address issues you may have experienced. For answers to any other questions you may have, e-mail info.services@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca. You might see your question featured in a future issue of the newsletter.

The questions featured below are taken from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Buildings FAQ page:

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager’s New Sharing Enhancements

Q. What is “Share Forward?”

A. Share Forward is the ability to share a property that has been shared with you.
You can give this ability to others when you share your property with them. Only Full Access automatically provides the access permissions to “Share Forward.” Both Custom and Exchange Data can be edited to select Share Forward. Read Only never includes Share Forward. If you want someone to have Read Only access to your property AND Share Forward rights, then use the Custom permission.

Full Access Automatically includes "Share Forward" rights
Read Only Automatically does NOT include "Share Forward" rights
Custom You decide, along with the individual permissions for property, meter and goals.
Exchange Data You decide, along with the individual permissions for property, meter and goals.

Q. Can everyone who has access to a property see everyone else who has access?

A. Yes, everyone who has access to a property can see the names of everyone else with access, regardless of their permissions levels.

Q. What is the “Sharing Report?”

A. The Sharing Report is an Excel version of all of the people and property combinations (both properties you shared, and properties shared with you) with access levels and contact information. Currently this is a large data dump, and cannot be customized. If you want to limit the file, you will have to delete what you don’t want in Excel. There will be a separate row for each person/property combination, including people who you are not connected to.

Q. When I disconnect with someone, does it automatically remove their shares to my properties?

A. No when you “disconnect” with a contact, any shared properties will remain intact. If you do not want that person to have access to any of your properties, you will need to remove their access separately.

Why did we design it this way?

  • It’s not clear what should be removed. Only the properties for which you are the property data administrator or, only properties that you personally shared with that contact, or both? What about the properties that this person “shared forward”? What about the properties this person shared with you? It becomes complicated and not clear what should be deleted.
  • We believe it is common for consultants to act as “middle men” to manage portfolios, where the consultant does all the sharing. If you switch consultants, you probably want to keep all the shares the consultant set up intact. We thought it would be easier for you to delete the shares that need to be deleted, rather than create all new shares.
  • To Err on the side of caution. We didn’t want you to disconnect with someone you think you don’t need or know, then realize half your portfolio was deleted along with it.

Q. When you launched “Share Forward”, were any of my current shares given the ability to “Share Forward”?

A. No. In August 2014 when Share Forward was launched, everyone was converted to “Custom with No Share Forward.”

This is how we converted your existing shares:

Old Share Level New Share Level After Share Forward (August 12, 2014)
Full Access Custom with NO share forward (what they have now)
Read Only Read Only (Read Only Access is automatically Not able to Share Forward)
Custom Custom with NO share forward
Exchange Exchange with NO share forward

This means on August 12 when we launched, no one had “Full Access.” If you want to give someone the ability to “Share Forward” you have two options:

  • Edit their “Custom” permissions to include Share Forward
  • Change from “Custom” to “Full Access.” There is one important difference here: “Full Access” includes the ability to edit anyone who has access to the property, except the Property Data Administrator (PDA). See this FAQ for more details on this distinction.

Calendar of events and other important dates

The following list highlights key events:

If you are interested in having a customized Dollars to $ense workshop, please note that it will take eight to ten weeks from planning to delivery.

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 12 000 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 focusses on energy efficiency in industrial facilities, Heads Up CIPEC.

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