Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency – Volume 2, Issue 12

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Volume 2, Issue 12

The year in review – 2015, a year full of energy efficiency activities at NRCan’s Buildings Division

It has been a year abounding with energy efficiency activities at NRCan’s Buildings Division. From the release of two new ENERGY STAR scores to the introduction of even more tools and services to assist Canadian organizations achieve greater energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions, the Buildings Division has been and continues to be busy.

New 1-100 ENERGY STAR scores

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In addition to all the ENERGY STAR scores already available to Canadian organizations through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, NRCan released scores for supermarkets and food stores, and for medical offices. Retail food stores are among the most energy-intensive commercial buildings due to the high energy consumption of refrigeration and HVAC equipment. Meanwhile, Canada’s more than 10,000 medical offices account for about 10.5 million gigajoules of energy use annually. By adopting energy benchmarking and implementing energy measures, these Organizations can reap tremendous benefits.

Canada developed 1-100 performance scores for supermarkets and food stores, as well as medical offices, to facilitate comparisons within and across building portfolios. Portfolio Manager will provide these organizations with an energy baseline and the basis for continuous improvements.

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For more information, visit Energy benchmarking for supermarkets and food stores and Energy benchmarking for medical offices.

CAN-QUEST energy modelling software and training

NRCan now offers updated CAN-QUEST modelling software that can be used to demonstrate performance path compliance with the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2011 (NECB 2011). The software supports the design of high-performance buildings by incorporating such technologies as photovoltaics, ground source heat pumps, co-generation, thermal storage and new HVAC systems. The 2015 release of CAN-QUEST includes improvements such as two- and three-dimensional graphs of buildings, and the ability to quickly assess different energy-efficient designs.

NRCan has also developed two training courses that jurisdictions can readily modify for local conditions and use to train professionals in their region. Building owners and managers, building inspectors, city planners, architects, and engineers who will manage NECB 2011-compliant projects can take a one-day introduction course to NECB 2011 and CAN-QUEST. And a two-day, hands-on computer course focusing on the software and modeling process is available for professionals who will prepare building energy models to show compliance with the NECB 2011.

For more information, visit CAN-QUEST energy modelling software and CAN-QUEST Training.

Dollars to $ense energy management workshops

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In 2015, more than 580 representatives from commercial and institutional organizations  benefitted from NRCan’s Dollars to $ense workshops covering such topics as Recommissioning, Energy Management Information Systems, Energy Management Planning, Spot the Energy Savings Opportunities, Energy Monitoring, and Energy Efficiency Financing.

For more information, visit D2$ workshops.

Spreading the energy best practices, management and benchmarking news contained in Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency issues to your networks is one way to ensure that 2016 will be an even better year for building energy efficiency.

Another award for CanmetMATERIALS’ sustainable facility in Hamilton

This past October, the 2015 Innovation in LEED Award for New Construction went to CanmetMATERIALS, a Natural Resources Canada facility in Hamilton, Ontario. This adds to previous accolades received by the 2013 LEED Platinum-certified building. Earlier in the year, the facility was named among the top ten examples of sustainable architecture and ecological design projects by the American Institute of Architects. Diamond Schmitt Architects and McMaster Innovation Park also received the Canadian Urban Institute’s 2013 Brownie Award for Best Large Scale Project for the design of the CanmetMATERIALS lab on a brownfield site.

In comparison to facilities of similar size and type, the CanmetMATERIALS building’s energy use intensity (measured in kBtu per square foot per year) is 77 percent lower than the national median. This is an impressive achievement, given that the building houses 800 customized pieces of equipment in addition to generic lab equipment, which increases the energy use intensity of the facility.

The 15,400-square metre building is part of the McMaster Innovation Park, which is the largest research centre in Canada focused on the fabrication, processing and evaluation of metals and materials. The facility serves the Canadian metallurgical sector with its industrial program of pilot scale casting, rolling and welding, corrosion, mechanical testing, and microstructure evaluations.

The Greater Toronto Chapter of the Canada Green Building Council awarded the distinction to the CanmetMATERIALS facility for numerous innovative features, including the following:

  • a displacement ventilation system that provides 100 percent fresh air and is decoupled from the heating and cooling systems, thus adding to energy savings
  • a solar wall that preheats fresh winter air to 16oC
  • a building orientation selected to maximize thermal efficiency
  • high-performance thermal envelopes for the walls, foundations and roof
  • triple glazed windows
  • more than 200 solar thermal collectors on the roof to harvest heat for radiant and domestic water heating
  • sensors that automatically adjust lighting and blinds to save additional energy
  • rainwater harvesters that have reduced the building’s potable water use by 92 percent

The benefits of sustainable, energy-efficient building design, as seen in the CanmetMATERIALS facility, are detailed on the Energy efficiency is important for new buildings website. Building owners and managers can also consult NRCan’s Best Practices for New Buildings and Energy Efficiency: Commissioning for ideas in sustainable new construction design.

GTA building owners, managers and tenants celebrate significant energy use decline

Businesses from across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are celebrating a 12.1 percent drop in collective energy use between 2011 and 2014 after becoming participants in CivicAction’s Race to Reduce. Participants not only surpassed the 10 percent energy reduction goal initially set out by the challenge, but also saved $13.7 million in energy costs and accrued significant environmental benefits.

The Race was a friendly corporate challenge that aimed to reduce energy use in office buildings across the Toronto region. All types of office buildings were eligible for the competition, and all landlords and tenants could participate.

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CivicAction launched the Race to Reduce in 2011, bringing business executives together to address challenges in the GTA and Hamilton. One challenge was the fact that in 2011, office space contributed 20 percent of the GTA’s carbon emissions.

Participants included businesses and landlords from 196 buildings representing about 40 percent of the commercial office space in the GTA. Among the first 21 buildings to reduce their energy use by 20 percent or more were Toronto City Hall and the TD Bank Tower. These substantial reductions were achieved by upgrading heating systems, installing more efficient lighting and other retrofits.

By the end of the Race to Reduce, the top 17 buildings had an average ENERGY STAR score of 95.5 – 37 points above the national average. The Royal Bank of Canada, with nearly 418,000 square metres of office space, won three team excellence awards in collaboration with three of its landlords for projects involving electronic lighting sensors and the reduction of night-time cleaning hours.

During the Race, participating building managers and owners used ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to benchmark building energy performance and to strategically target their energy efficiency improvements.

The achievement of the GTA businesses that participated in the Race to Reduce can, in part, be attributed to energy benchmarking, as this strategy allows organizations to identify energy conservation issues, implement and track energy efficiency measures, and follow a path of long-term energy management. NRCan’s Why benchmark energy performance  web page details the benefits of benchmarking, while Energy Benchmarking for commercial office buildings outlines the steps required for benchmarking commercial buildings. The most popular, user-friendly and free energy benchmarking tool is ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (see Why ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager) with its 1-100 ENERGY STAR scores.

Participants in the Race to Reduce have set the bar high so far, but more work can be done to decrease energy use even further. Although much of the low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency measures has been ‘picked,’ many opportunities still exist, such as implementing heat recovery systems, upgrading HVAC systems and adopting energy management systems.

For the full story, consult http://news.nationalpost.com/toronto/gta-businesses-celebrate-12-drop-in-energy-use-in-office-towers-equal-to-taking-4200-cars-off-the-road and for more information on the Race to Reduce competition, visit http://racetoreduce.ca/the-race/introduction.

Calendar of events and other important dates

Dollars to $ense Energy Management Workshops

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.

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