Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency - April 2018

Volume 5, Issue 4 (April 2018)

Time is running out! Who Will Be the First?

Who Will Be the First?:  Who Will Be the First?

ENERGY STAR certification for commercial and institutional buildings is here to stay, but there are only a few days left to take part in the launch challenge for the chance to become one of the Firsts in Canada to earn the ENERGY STAR!

How do I certify?

  1. Register your building in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
  2. Benchmark your facility with at least 12 consecutive months of energy data to receive your ENRGY STAR score. Portfolio Manager uses a 1-100 ENERGY STAR score: a score of 50 indicates average energy performance, while a score of 75 or higher indicates top performance.
  3. If your building earns a score of 75 or higher, submit your application through Portfolio Manager.

Certification is approved on an annual basis, so a building must maintain its high performance to be certified year to year. The information submitted in the application must be verified by a licensed professional. Applications must also meet certain program requirements.

Owners and managers of K-12 schoolscommercial officeshospitalssupermarkets and food storesmedical officessenior care communities and residential care facilities, and ice/curling rinks are taking advantage of this unique opportunity. The benefits of ENERGY STAR certification are numerous, but the added recognition and prestige of being one of the firsts in Canada make now the best time to apply. Those who apply by April 30 and are approved will receive customized promotional material to highlight their commitment to energy efficiency. NRCan will also showcase the successes of the Firsts in publications like this one.

Apply for certification before April 30, 2018, 11:59 p.m. PDT and show Canadians that your organization is one of the firsts to put Canada’s environment first!

For more information, please visit our website at www.nrcan.gc.ca/energystarportfoliomanager

UPDATE: The Who Will Be the First? Challenge is now over. However, you can still apply for ENERGY STAR certification. Thanks to all who applied and to all those who will be applying soon.

FEATURE: Blueprints for benchmarking benefits!
Success stories from the south - Part II

With ENERGY STAR certification now available in Canada, many are wondering about the impact certification has had in the U.S. From sector to sector, we find success story after success story.

In supermarkets and food stores:

The Kroger Company is the largest traditional grocery retailer in the U.S., with more than 2,640 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia. Kroger has enjoyed recognition for its long-time commitment to investing in energy reduction initiatives.


Kroger Co. boasts 500 stores with ENERGY STAR certification, a feat that has brought with it a bounty of benefits. Those stores reduced energy use by 33 million kilowatt hours (kWh), or $3 million, in 2014. Companywide, Kroger has reduced its energy use by over 35% since 2000. That’s equivalent to 1.6 billion kWh. Implementing energy efficiency upgrades such as refrigerated service case LED lighting retrofits, multi-deck case LED lighting retrofits, and decommissioning of produce island cases in its stores has made a world of difference.

Moreover, its energy benchmarking initiative helped create an environment of friendly competition among Division Energy Engineers by periodically issuing reports that tell the progress each division is making toward certifying stores. These reports include the numbers of certified stores in each division and the average 1–100 ENERGY STAR score.

"Energy management remains a vital part of our sustainability work, and we are proud to partner with ENERGY STAR to improve today to protect tomorrow." -Keith Oliver, Kroger's VP of facility engineering

Environmentally conscious consumers are taking note of these efforts. Kroger has placed itself ahead of regulation and has proven itself conscientious in the eyes of its customers, all while saving on energy costs.

In long-term residential care homes:

Brookdale Senior Living operates independent living, assisted living, dementia-care communities and continuing care retirement centres in 46 states. Its portfolio includes more than 1,000 senior living communities, representing more than 90 million square feet of floor space. All of its facilities have been benchmarked for energy use using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and of those facilities, 25 are ENERGY STAR certified, with more to come.

Most of Brookdale's certified facilities were built around 2000, with an average ENERGY STAR score of 86; eleven of the 25 facilities score over 90. NRCan spoke with Marla Thalheimer, Brookdale's Director of Sustainability, to get her perspectives on using Portfolio Manager, and the benefits of ENERGY STAR certification.

How long have you been using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager?

Brookdale has been using it for about two and a half years. My previous job was in the commercial sector and I'd had a very positive experience with it, so when I joined Brookdale, I brought it to their attention. In a company of our size, it's a challenge to get energy awareness down to the masses because energy efficiency isn't our number one priority; the residents are. Over time, however, it's caught on, and executives are starting to see the real value of it.

Why choose it over other benchmarking programs?

ENERGY STAR is a widely recognized and trusted brand and is a real estate standard. Portfolio Manager is the perfect tool to start with, and you don't need to be an engineer to use it. In my experience, it's a really good guide to help you better manage efficiency, and it's free! It's made a big difference to us, and the EPA is a great partner to have.

There really is no downside, but the key is in the data. Garbage in, garbage out, as they say, but if you input the right data, you'll get the right score and the information you need. We use a third-party company for our utility bill payments and the company sends the utility data directly to Portfolio Manager, which is extremely helpful, especially with a large portfolio.

What measures have you taken to reduce energy and what have been the results?

Most of our energy efficiency work so far has been on low- or no-cost measures. In 2017, we installed more than 48,000 occupancy sensors and high-efficiency water fixtures. We’ve also completed lighting retrofits in 139 communities, and commissioned HVAC systems in 214 communities. Across our entire portfolio, energy use has decreased by 2.42%, saving the company approximately USD 7.5 million in electricity costs. Our target is to reduce energy consumption by 15% by 2019.

Last year, we also created a sustainability dashboard for energy and water, and one of the key performance indicators is the ENERGY STAR score. Every community now has that score at its fingertips. That's another benefit of Portfolio Manager: it spurs competition. If someone sees that their building has an ENERGY STAR score of 65 but another peer building is 75, they want to know what that facility manager is doing that they're not. That really helps motivate people, and when they see their ENERGY STAR score move up, it's exciting!

How do you maintain and improve energy performance?

You don't benchmark once, you don't get your building certified once; it's an ongoing process, and we're continuously trying to create awareness, drive behavioural change, and embed best practices into existing processes. For example, we have worked with our procurement department to provide our field teams guidance on purchasing the most efficient equipment, the right light bulbs, etc. We want to make it easy for them to make the right choice.

What advice do you have for others in your sector?

Use the right data and use Portfolio Manager! If you have no idea how efficient you are compared to your peers, you don't know the opportunities for savings. If you manage a large portfolio, like we do, Portfolio Manager is so helpful in prioritizing your resources and what measures should be performed where.

We also do "night walks." Even though we're a 24-7 operation, there are times in the evening when everyone's settled and our associates can walk through the building to make sure things are powered down or off. When it's quiet, you can often hear fans that shouldn't be running or water trickling that shouldn't be, so it's a great time to open your eyes and ears to what could be energy saving opportunities.

What does ENERGY STAR certification mean to Brookdale?

ENERGY STAR is such a recognized and trusted brand that if you have that ENERGY STAR label nicely displayed where residents and families and associates can see, it's impressive because the brand denotes efficiency. It's something that our associates who run our facilities are very proud of, and our residents see it as a good thing for them to live in an energy-efficient facility.

It's also a marketing advantage. When new families are coming in to see what a facility is like, the ENERGY STAR label isn't what makes their final decision, but it does put a check mark in the box as a positive. There's a lot of people who care about the environment and efficiency and want us to be good stewards. Having the ENERGY STAR label shows that.

Read more about what Brookdale is doing in its 2016 Sustainability Report.

With the launch of ENERGY STAR certification in Canada, there is a clear pathway for businesses looking to expand the progress they’ve made in energy efficiency or to begin their journey with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

The Challenge continues with Net Zero and BOMA Canada

The Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada (BOMA Canada) announces the Net Zero Challenge, supported by NRCan. The Net Zero Challenge recognizes buildings that have achieved outstanding energy performance, have drastically improved their performance, or have demonstrated leadership through the implementation of replicable and innovative strategies that support efficiency and clean energy production. 

The need for greater environmental stewardship is growing across the nation and across the world. Building management continues to play an instrumental part of guiding us to a better future. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), buildings consume 40% of global energy, with greenhouse gas emissions the most material environmental impact within the industry.  Programs like the Net Zero Challenge recognize buildings that have made the commitment and investment to superior energy performance. In turn, these leaders will help Canada achieve the energy and carbon objectives set out in the Pan‐Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

“The Net Zero Challenge is about celebrating action, thought leadership and innovation within Canada. It recognizes the very highest performers – both people and organizations – that are propelling a low-carbon, wholly sustainable commercial real estate industry.”
- Benjamin Shinewald, President and CEO, BOMA Canada.

The Net Zero Challenge complements BOMA Canada’s highly regarded BOMA BEST Program, which currently offers Canada’s largest environmental assessment and certification program for existing buildings, with more than 7,000 buildings obtaining a certification or recertification to date. The Net Zero Challenge represents an evolution of this organization’s environmental commitment.

“Energy efficiency is one of our most important and accessible tools in the fight against climate change. Canada is proud to recognize BOMA Canada’s role in showcasing leadership and innovation in net-zero energy construction and building management as we continue the transition to a low-carbon economy.”
- The Honorable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources

Canada’s building landscape is changing as we move toward a low-carbon economy that fulfils our commitment to the environment in which we live. Take your level of participation to the next level as you take your building to Net Zero.

The Province of Ontario is asking Ontario building owners: How does your building stack up?


Energy and water reporting for large buildings

In Ontario, if you own a building that is 250,000 square feet or larger, you may need to report its energy and water use once a year. The first deadline to submit your report, using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, is July 1, 2018.

Reporting how much energy and water your building uses can help you identify ways to reduce costs and greenhouse gases. You can also use the benchmarking information about your building’s energy and water use to see how your building stacks up against similar buildings.

In the coming years, this requirement will be phased in to include more buildings, eventually reaching those 50,000 square feet and larger.

Visit ontario.ca/energyreporting or call 1-844-274-0689 to find resources and information to help, including how and when to report.

Upcoming events:

Energy Summit 2018
Is your Canadian commercial or institutional building working to become more energy efficient?
ENERGY SUMMIT 2018 will give you the power to save.
May 30-31, 2018 | Vaughan, Ontario

Canada’s unparalleled conference on energy efficiency is fast approaching. Targeting Canadian buildings and industry sectors, ENERGY SUMMIT 2018, Maximize Profitability through Energy Performance, will drive adoption of energy management systems to help you:

  • Meet profitability goals
  • Increase competitiveness
  • Become more sustainable through smart energy management 

NRCan is co-hosting this event with the Canadian Industry Partnership for Energy Conservation (CIPEC) and a private sector partner, Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium.

Key benefits include:

  • Leading industry champions – keynote speakers Andrew Bowerbank, Monica Curtis and
    Malini Giridhar will share realistic solutions to help your organization thrive in today’s competitive environment
  • 4 streams with 16 innovative sessions, learning workshops and 2 plant tours – take home the tools, business cases and best practices to advance your energy initiatives
  • More than 50 subject matter experts and an Exhibitor Showcase – invaluable networking opportunities with resources and future partners
  • CIPEC Leadership Awards Gala – recognize industry’s top performers and future leaders
  • 5 conference meals
  • Continuing education units are available

Bring your energy and register today!

The 28th Énergia Awards, hosted by AQME
May 31, 2018 - Le Mont-Blanc, Laval, Quebec

The Énergia competition recognizes the excellence of Quebec's achievements and celebrates the Canadian energy-efficiency genius in categories related to buildings, technological innovations, industrial or manufacturing processes, transportation, integrated management, and improved energy efficiency. The Énergia Awards will be presented at a cocktail party celebrating the efforts of the contest participants and highlighting the projects that have distinguished themselves. AQME is very pleased to promote the projects presented at the Énergia Competition and their authors, in order to highlight Quebec's innovative achievements and stimulate the industry.

Building Lasting Change 2018: Driving Global Action toward a Low Carbon Economy
June 5-7, 2018 – Beanfield Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Join the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and REALPac for the largest green building industry event of the year. This event examines what is happening in Canada and around the world to meet aggressive international carbon emissions targets. Participants will have access to the latest knowledge and insights from Canadian and global experts in green building design and retrofits, government policy, real estate finance, market transformation and technology innovation.

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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