Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency – Volume 2, Issue 9 (September)


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Volume 2, Issue 9

Survey of Commercial and Institutional Energy Use 2014 – Data collection is now over

Now that the data collection process for the 2014 Survey of Commercial and Institutional Energy Use (SCIEU) has concluded, Natural Resources Canada and Statistics Canada would like to thank all those who participated or who shared the survey with others. The information that you provided will be invaluable for policy and program development, building and energy research, and for individual businesses’ benchmarking efforts.

We will begin data analysis shortly, and we hope to have results available for publication in 2016. Keep your eye on Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency to be informed as soon as the SCIEU 2014 results are published.

Thank you again for your cooperation. If you have any questions, please contact us at info.services@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca or call 1-877-360-5500.

Canada shines again as the top country for LEED building projects

Photo of a green building

“We are extremely proud to be named as the top country for LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] projects internationally again this year,” said Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). In July 2015, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recognized Canada once more for its efforts in sustainable building design, construction and transformation, solidifying the country’s reputation as a world leader in the international green building and environmental sustainability movement.

Canada’s building sector has achieved significant emissions reductions since 2005; these reductions have come despite an increase in population and building stock, and they show the sector’s strong commitment to sustainability.

Canada shares the top 10 LEED building list with countries including China, Brazil, Germany, India, South Korea, and Turkey. The USGBC ranks countries by gross square metres and numbers of commercial and institutional LEED projects to date. 

Within Canada, the largest number of LEED-certified projects were in Ontario (962), Quebec (439), British Columbia (407) and Alberta (318). Notable projects in Canada in 2014 include the LEED Platinum certification of British Columbia’s Van Dusen Botanical Garden and Toronto’s WaterPark Place, which was the first Canadian project to earn LEED Platinum through the CaGBC’s recertification program.

A plethora of NRCan resources can help building owners and managers maintain Canada’s reputation in green building. For example, NRCan’s Best practices for new buildings outline the key steps in designing energy-efficient buildings. Successful LEED projects always integrate energy management best practices, including an integrated design process and commissioning, at the building design phase – it is the most effective and least expensive means to maximum energy performance. Energy-efficient design can be made easier by using tools and software provided by NRCan, including CAN-QUEST energy modelling software, CAN-QUEST modelling guide and RETScreen® International clean energy project analysis software.

Once a building is up and running, building managers and owners can follow NRCan’s Energy management best practices and use the free, online benchmarking tool, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Portfolio Manager allows building owners and managers to track and assess energy and water consumption across an entire portfolio of buildings in a secure online environment, and can facilitate accreditation in Canadian green building programs, such as LEED.

Ontario Catholic School Boards rank top for energy performance

Ontario school boards are taking energy efficiency seriously, and the June 2015 announcement of the province’s top performing school boards underlines their efforts. The Sustainable Schools Program named the York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) as the 2015 winner, with the Sudbury Catholic District School Board and the Upper Canada District School Board ranking second and third, respectively.

Energy costs represent a typical school’s second largest operating expense; however, up to one third of that energy is wasted due to old and poorly functioning equipment, poor insulation, and outdated technology. Energy-efficient schools are well lit, ventilated and maintained, and ultimately reduce energy costs while creating a healthy and more productive learning and teaching environment.

According to the YCDSB, key steps to achieving good energy performance include managing real-time data, retrocommissioning and implementing building analytics. The board benchmarks every school against its 20 best schools, with results posted on energy champion monitors in all schools. Benchmarking results are also available to all schools through the board’s intranet website.

Moreover, the YCDSB has a five-year Energy Management Plan that includes energy saving goals and alternative energy projects, as well as planned and completed energy efficiency projects with their associated savings and costs. Some of the YCDSB’s projects include LED lighting retrofits, new monitoring technology, and less costly and better sensors and controllers.

The YCDSB also gets its school stakeholders actively involved through an Energy Champion Program, which includes the EcoSchools program and a lunch-time electricity demand reduction program. In this program, the electricity demand between 9:00 and 11:30 a.m. is compared to the demand between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., with the resulting reduction posted at 1:00 p.m., all in real time. Each school posts its results (benchmarked against the 20 best performing schools) on its energy champion monitor.

Other school boards can easily join the top ten on the journey to energy efficiency by starting with energy benchmarking. With Canadian 1-100 ENERGY STAR scores, schools can compare their energy performance to other similar schools across Canada or within their own board. Energy benchmarking data can help facility managers gauge their schools' energy performance, identify opportunities for cost savings and set targets for improved performance. In addition to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, NRCan also offers a number of other energy-saving tools and resources for schools.

For the full profiles of the top ten energy performing school boards, visit Case Studies for Performance Based Energy Savings and Ontario’s Top Energy Performing Boards Announced.

For additional information about energy benchmarking, refer to Energy benchmarking for K-12 schools. If you would like to learn how to help your school or school board become more energy efficient, please contact info.services@nrcan-rncan.ca.

Concordia University’s path to energy efficiency

Photo of the Concordia University building

“We get leading-edge technology whenever we can, and update our standards whenever we try something new,” says Daniel Gauthier, Concordia’s building performance coordinator. The university’s increasingly rigorous green building standards and its close monitoring of building and renovation projects explain why the university is ahead of Quebec’s other post-secondary institutions in energy efficiency.

Concordia is the most energy efficient of Quebec’s six largest universities, with a consumption of 1.05 gigajoules per square metre in 2012-2013, compared to 1.75 for McGill University and 1.47 for the Université de Montréal.

The greening of Concordia started at its downtown Montréal Loyola Campus when, in 2003, the Richard J. Renaud Science Complex was constructed, becoming Concordia’s greenest building.

Soon after, the campus’ former science building, Drummond Hall, was incorporated into the new Communication Studies and Journalism Building, which opened in 2005, and included architectural features that maximize natural light and energy conservation.

Then in 2006, a $4 million investment in energy efficiency retrofits of the Henry F. Hall Building saved Concordia $400,000 per year in operating costs. The retrofits included variable controls on the heating, cooling and lighting systems.

The John Molson School of Business Building achieved LEED silver certification thanks to such features as a solar wall, a green roof, local and sustainable construction materials, and low-flow plumbing features.

The Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex is 42 percent more energy efficient than required by law thanks to its efficient heating, its heat-recovery systems, its stacked atria that allow deep sunlight penetration and its natural ventilation system that uses shafts on the sides of the walls to draw in fresh air.

In 2012, the new PERFORM Centre achieved LEED gold certification with such features as its large windows and state-of-the-art modular chillers. The following year, PERFORM began recuperating excess heat generated by a neighbouring rink’s new carbon dioxide refrigeration system.

A year later, the Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics also earned LEED gold certification. It uses 57 percent less energy than the levels required by the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2011.

Not only is Concordia reducing its environmental footprint, but its energy efficiency measures are also helping its bottom line by building the most efficient buildings possible.

NRCan’s Key steps for energy management best practices can provide post-secondary institutions with information to help in their path to optimal energy performance. For additional information on improving energy management, NRCan offers resources about Retrofitting and Energy Management Training.

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.

We welcome reader feedback and are always interested in your story ideas.