Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency - March 2018

Volume 5, Issue 3 (March 2018)

ENERGY STAR® certification launches now!


Thousands of buildings across the country have benefited from energy benchmarking with the Canadian adaptation of ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®. Now commercial and institutional buildings can receive official recognition for their commitment to energy efficiency and a cleaner, greener environment.

As of March 26, 2018, NRCan is pleased to offer yearly ENERGY STAR certification for commercial and institutional buildings. Commercial offices, K-12 schools, hospitals, medical offices, senior care communities and long-term residential care facilities, food retail, and ice/curling rinks can apply to receive the recognition they deserve. More building types will be added as the program continues to grow.

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. A licensed professional must verify the information submitted in the application.

No matter where you see it, the ENERGY STAR label means the same thing — an energy-efficient top performer that saves money without sacrificing performance. Consumers, clients, employees, and communities trust in the ENERGY STAR label. They are looking for organizations that exemplify dedication to the environment. Engage with Canadian stakeholders by showcasing your commitment to a green future.

ENERGY STAR certification of buildings has been successful in the U.S. for many years (see below), so it’s easy to see consistent benefits to organizations with the vision and commitment to apply.

Lowered costs, increased savings! Energy cost savings and reductions in operating maintenance costs are reason enough for most companies to work toward certification. 

Increased awareness! The data and perspective provided by energy benchmarking identifies opportunities and risks that might otherwise go undetected. Make confident business decisions knowing you have a solid understanding of building energy use.

Higher income and increased value! ENERGY STAR certified buildings often command higher prices than the rest.

Increased productivity! Time and time again, visitors and workers have found certified buildings to be more welcoming and comfortable.

Growing engagement! Responding to the growing demand from customers to connect with green organizations, certified buildings have seen their value and profile grow in their respective industries.

Reduced greenhouse gas emissions! Ensure alignment with Canada’s commitment to a low-carbon economy. Certification ensures that your organization is doing its part for the future.

If you aren’t already benefitting from energy benchmarking, check out ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and take a step towards the renown and prestige of ENERGY STAR certification.

If you’re already reaping the rewards of Portfolio Manager, find out more about applying for ENERGY STAR certification. You can also contact us at nrcan.energystarcertificationbuildings.rncan@canada.ca.

The Race is on! Who Will Be The First?

The launch of ENERGY STAR certification for Canadian buildings has brought with it an amazing opportunity. To celebrate and honour visionaries and leaders in building energy efficiency, NRCan has issued a challenge to building owners and managers across the nation: Who Will Be the First?

Currently, there are many buildings across the country with ENERGY STAR scores of 75 or higher that will be applying for ENERGY STAR certification. That recognition can make a huge difference to your business or organization. However, NRCan is providing this extra honour for those ready to act early on the opportunity of the ENERGY STAR certification launch. 

Those who apply for certification between March 26 and April 30, 2018, 11:59 p.m. PDT and are approved will receive the added distinction of being one of the Firsts in Canada to earn ENERGY STAR certification.

The Firsts will receive promotional material, customized for the firsts, to highlight their leadership in their community and sector. Their success will also be profiled by NRCan with a spotlight in future publications.

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

Certification is here to stay and is certain to become a new gold standard across all sectors, but the chance to establish yourself as the FIRST to lead the way is only available once.

Join the Challenge!

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

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

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

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 hospitals:

Memorial Hermann Health System

The largest not-for-profit health care system in Southeast Texas.

19 major campus locations, including medical offices & outpatient health care facilities, totalling 11 million square feet (just over 1 million m2)

2017 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year—Sustained Excellence

What's good for patients is good for the bottom line at Memorial Hermann Health System in Southeast Texas.

"It's a well known fact that our industry uses 250% more energy than the commercial building sector," said Michael Hatton, Vice President of Facilities Engineering at Memorial Hermann Health System.

"In our better performing hospitals, we drove energy use down by 20%—that's not one facility, that's all of them—just by fixing what we had."

Regular recommissioning helps Memorial Hermann lead the pack in results. Along with lighting and HVAC upgrades, Memorial Hermann has saved an average of $10 million USD in energy costs, every year, for the last decade.

When they first began using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to track and benchmark building energy use, their first few buildings scored very low on the 1-100 ENERGY STAR score.

"We were the worst of the worst at the time, but if you're honest with what you input, and you start to trust the data, it's a great tool. It shows you where you need to look."

Today, nine of Memorial Hermann's hospitals score better than 75, the score needed to receive ENERGY STAR certification, and five have scores in the 90s. But at the end of the day, saving energy in hospitals isn't about money or bragging rights, it's about doing what's right for patients, from improving the indoor environment to investing energy savings into other patient areas.

In commercial offices:

Endeavor Real Estate Group has received certification for two years in a row. Endeavor is commited to a reputation as an organization with depth and integrity. Its long-term perspective extends to pursuing sustainability through ENERGY STAR certification. It’s a perspective that has helped grow its business and its image to become one of the largest full-service commercial real estate companies in Central and South Texas.

TIER REIT, a Dallas-based real estate investment trust, is focused on owning quality, well-managed commercial office properties in dynamic markets throughout the U.S. ENERGY STAR certification is a part of its vision is to be the premier owner and operator of best-in-class office properties. 

TIER REIT believes that high-performing, sustainably operated buildings are not just good for the environment, but they also create economic value for their tenants, stockholders and employees. Its portfolio of high-quality and environmentally designed and operated properties commands recognition in a highly competitive market, and demonstrates its core values to current and future clients.

“We are proud of the accomplishments we have made and our commitment to healthy, sustainable and environmental best practices throughout our business operations.”

In schools:

Fairfax County Public Schools

10th largest school district in the U.S.

200 facilities, 27.5 million square feet (about 2.5 million m2)

151 ENERGY STAR certified schools, the most of any school division

Average ENERGY STAR score: 84.5

2017 energy use per square foot was $1.21, down 5% from $1.27 in 2016. The 2017 energy cost per student was $177, a decrease of 4.5% compared to 2016. The national average is roughly $200/per student. (All $ in USD)

There is no mistaking the passion and pride in Jeffrey Platenberg's voice as he talks about all of the energy savings initiatives at Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). "Educating kids is our bottom line," he said.  "When we save money on energy, all the savings go back into the classroom."

Platenberg is the Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Transportation Services, the department responsible for energy management. And he has every right to brag. FCPS boasts the most ENERGY STAR certified schools of any school division in the United States. Of the some 200 properties in its portfolio, 151 are ENERGY STAR certified.

FCPS has been working with ENERGY STAR for almost a decade and was named an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year in 2016.

Portfolio Manager makes it easy to track progress and share information with others, such as for the third-party analysis required to qualify a school as ENERGY STAR certified.

"ENERGY STAR is our foundation. It shows tangible results and is the greatest evidence of our efforts to conserve energy and when you see other organizations involved with it, not just schools, it's infectious. People are starting to realize that, from a corporate standpoint, being sustainable is the only way to meet their bottom line."

Recommissioning—identifying and fixing problems with existing equipment and systems—has been the district's biggest bang for the buck. Energy audits, walk-throughs, regular maintenance and inspection, and data collection and analysis all take time, said Platenberg, but are necessary to reduce consumption.

By incorporating ENERGY STAR messages, tools and resources into its Get 2 Green energy conservation program, FCPS has achieved some truly impressive results.

Over a two-year period, the district saved $10.5 million on a total energy budget of about $42 million; it trained more than 100 educators to incorporate energy efficiency and conservation principles into the curriculum; and, since 2014, greenhouse gas emissions have been cut by 15%.

"The best results are achieved when teachers and students are involved. Students challenge me about why more isn't being done. When I present things to them they say, 'Yeah, but have you thought of this?' The power of all of us is incredible!"

Jeffrey Platenberg

In some cases, however, a school needed more than just a few tweaks. In 2013, George C. Marshall High School was upgraded to include low-emitting windows, passive solar, a green roof, a high efficiency HVAC system, lighting upgrades, ENERGY STAR certified kitchen equipment, and a host of water efficiency measures. Electricity and natural gas usage has decreased by 7 and 17%, respectively, following the renovations.

“It doesn't matter the reasons why people adopt ENERGY STAR; the program delivers dividends on so many fronts.”

"Yes it's about the environment, but ENERGY STAR is also about fundamental business principles," he said. "And when you get students involved, they kick it up a notch. And when you see businesses, the community, churches, all of these organizations working on the same cause—and the students are thriving—that’s the real dividend in public education."

No matter whether your building deals with parents, students, patients or clients, ENERGY STAR certification represents the way forward for your organization — socially, financially, environmentally,  and morally.

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.

Click here if you would like to unsubscribe.