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Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency - Volume 4, Issue 8

Volume 4, Issue 8

Save energy, reduce cost to improve environmental performance of your facility with the new 1-100 ENERGY STAR score for ice/curling rinks coming this fall.

Make energy efficiency in arenas your first goal!

Save energy, reduce costs and to improve the environmental performance of your facility with the new 1-100 ENERGY STAR score for ice/curling rinks coming this fall!

Replacing old compressors brings new life to Tweed Arena

Tweed Building

As in so many rural communities, the Tweed-Hungerford Community Centre (the "Tweed Arena") is the hub of community activity, attracting both locals and those from outside the municipality. From September to April, the Tweed Arena is filled with the swooshing sounds of minor hockey league players and figure skaters as they glide across the ice; in summer, the arena hosts a variety of events like ball hockey, circuses, tradeshows, concerts and receptions.

Many local arenas are finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet, however. Rachelle Hardesty, Manager of Community Development, Parks and Recreation, said that many community centres in Canada are suffering from rising costs and a lack of funding.

"Tweed is a hockey town," said Hardesty, "And we need to make changes to keep it that way. Some community centres may have to close down, but in the meantime, the cost to taxpayers to keep them open is incredible." Tweed increased its user fees by $2/hour—the first increase in five years—but Hardesty said it's not enough. "We have one of the lowest user fee rates, we are at capacity for all our bookings, but we're still struggling with energy costs."

In 2014, the Tweed Arena's annual electricity costs were $27,000; in 2015, they more than doubled to $60,000. Part of the increase, Hardesty explained, was due to an ammonia leak, which meant that fans had to run continuously for about three weeks, but the other major factor was weather.

"When we did our rink start up in September 2015, we were making ice when it was 32 ° Celsius outside. We delayed the rink opening by two weeks, which helped a bit with hydro costs, but we knew that something had to change."

Tweed received a $118,250 Canada 150 grant that will pay for half of an energy retrofit at the Tweed Arena. The Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program is investing $300 million to retrofit and improve existing community infrastructure assets and facilities.

"Without the grant, we wouldn't have been able to go forward," said Hardesty. The work includes a lighting retrofit and replacing old ice compressors. "Our compressors are at least 30 years old. We don't really know how old they are because they were hand-me-downs," Hardesty explained.

By the end of July 2017, all of the Tweed Arena's 430 lights had been replaced with LEDs. Preliminary data suggests that the retrofit will pay for itself in less than two years. Replacing the compressors will begin later this year.

The work will involve installing a new CIMCO Seasonal Plus controller with floating head pressure and an infrared camera for the ice slab, and three soft starters, which will be supplied and installed in the existing control panel. "Instead of reading the temperature below the ice, this system reads the surface temperature and makes it easier to control ice quality," Hardesty explained.

On top of the Canada 150 grant, Tweed Council also recently approved the purchase of two new gas water heaters to replace the electric ones, at a cost of $13,000.

"Our worst fear is that we won't be able to afford the arena," said Hardesty. "We can now, but our main goal is to keep that community hub going. It's a challenge for everyone, but we're trying to be proactive and are always looking for ways to save money."

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for community centres and ice/curling rinks

Ice and curling rink owners and operators can now join the benchmarking movement to measure their energy use and identify areas to improve. This fall, ice/curling rinks will become the seventh building type to be eligible for a Canadian ENERGY STAR score. Because of the high energy demands of creating and maintaining ice surfaces, energy management is particularly important for these facilities. The new score will give ice/curling rink managers a powerful tool to help them understand their energy performance, which is the first step to improving it. For more information, please visit What’s new with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

ENERGY STAR leader Bentall Kennedy synchronizes its data with Portfolio Manager

Tweed Building

Quick Facts

Bentall Kennedy is one of the largest global real estate investment advisors and one of North America’s foremost providers of real estate services.


700+ properties

90 million sq. ft. / 8,361,274 m2

Since 2011, normalized energy intensity has decreased by 12.6 percent in Bentall Kennedy’s Canadian office portfolio.

At Bentall Kennedy, sustainability isn’t only about protecting our environment – vital as that is. It is a catalyst for strengthening tenant relationships and continuous innovation. It also enhances long-term value by increasing property occupancy and income, reducing the risk of obsolescence, and strengthening tenant loyalty, all while reducing emissions to protect our environment.

– Giselle Gagnon, Senior Vice President, Strategic Resources Group, Bentall Kennedy

When ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager was launched in Canada in 2013, Bentall Kennedy was ready for it. Already an ENERGY STAR Partner in the U.S., the company had expanded its energy benchmarking program to its entire North American portfolio. Today, the average ENERGY STAR score of Bentall Kennedy’s 170 Canadian properties benchmarked in Portfolio Manager is a remarkable 81, making the company overall a top quartile performer.

Bentall Kennedy has tracked energy consumption since 2003 with a customized system developed in partnership with an advanced energy engineering and software services firm.

"At the time, energy management tools didn't have the capabilities we were looking for, so our system was born out of necessity," explained Anna Murray, Vice President, Sustainability.

Bentall Kennedy's information system, Eco Tracker, tracks, manages, benchmarks, and reports energy, water, waste, emissions and other sustainability data. It also includes an automated data exchange service that synchronizes utility and building data directly with Portfolio Manager.

Image of buildings

"Access to historical and interval data is fundamental to our efforts," said Murray. "It gives property managers the information they need to make the best operational decisions."

Bentall Kennedy's energy consultants work directly with property managers and other building staff to analyze the data and identify improvement opportunities. On average, they see ENERGY STAR scores improving two to three times faster at properties that have access to interval and real-time data than at properties that don't.

“A data-driven approach to ongoing retro-commissioning, ‘Operational Analytics,’ has been successfully employed across a number of our properties, and we've achieved an average energy reduction of 21 percent," said Murray.

For example, engaging in Operational Analytics at 150 King Street West, a twenty eight-storey office and retail building in Toronto, gave operators the information they needed to adjust under-performing mechanical and electrical systems, and identify where additional measures or upgrades were needed. Within five years, the building's ENERGY STAR score increased from 63 to 80.

It also assists with green building certifications, which require accurate and complete data to assess building performance. Bentall Kennedy has 427 certified BOMA BEST buildings and 45 buildings certified under LEED Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance. The company has 36 ENERGY STAR-certified buildings in the U.S., and management is excited that certification will soon be available in Canada.

Phantom of the Outlet Poster

Bentall Kennedy's green program, ForeverGreen, is accessible to all tenants and third-party managers. The program aims to provide content and resources to help improve the sustainable performance of managed buildings while also leading to cleaner, greener and more enjoyable places for tenants to work. Communication resources are distributed to all property management teams across North America and include sustainability-themed monthly posters, tri-annual newsletters, a tenant walk-through checklist, and more.

"We find that tenants are becoming more proactive and are increasingly looking for efficiencies that they can implement,” said Murray. “The intent of ForeverGreen is to provide them with the resources that will help to facilitate this.”

Keys to success

  1. Complete, accurate and trusted data. Although it can be challenging to keep all inputs accurate and up to date, data analysis is the foundation on which all Bentall Kennedy's decisions are made. A complete energy picture leads to better energy decisions.
  2. People are behind the numbers. By focusing on stakeholder engagement that is consistent and transparent, and using highly visual, eye-catching materials, Bentall Kennedy encourages an environment where new and innovative energy ideas are welcome.
  3. Develop the business case. Murray said that costs, not environmental issues, resonate the most with their stakeholders when trying to gain initial buy-in. "The opportunities will present themselves almost right away and you can easily show them the direct results in cost savings."

Whether you own, manage or hold properties for investment, Portfolio Manager can help you set investment priorities, identify under-performing buildings, verify efficiency improvements, facilitate accreditation in Canadian green building programs, and more. Portfolio Manager is a free, easy-to-use, nationally standardized system, backed by the Government of Canada and widely adopted by industry stakeholders. To learn more about Portfolio Manager and how it can benefit your organization, visit Natural Resources Canada at:, or contact for more information.

Top U.S. utilities offer Portfolio Manager web services

As the primary providers of energy efficiency programs, utilities are key facilitators in energy management. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently released its first Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard, ranking the 51 largest electric utilities in the U.S. in terms of the number, type and level of innovation of the energy efficiency programs delivered.

The ACEEE examined metrics in three categories: quantitative savings and spending performance, program diversity and emerging areas, and efficiency-related regulatory issues. It found that leading utilities generally offer at least 20 energy efficiency programs, sometimes including support for smart thermostats, residential geo-targeting, net-zero energy buildings, and advanced space-heating heat pumps.

The energy efficiency offerings of nine of the ACEEE’s top eleven utilities include providing their customers with easy access to data for energy benchmarking. Seven of these offer Portfolio Manager web services to input customer data directly into their Portfolio Manager accounts. Most of them also offer aggregate energy data for multi-tenant buildings to streamline the data entry process for these buildings. The use of Portfolio Manager web services offers a win-win situation for both utilities and customers. Web services enable clients to pursue energy efficiency projects more quickly, and utilities to better understand their customers’ buildings, allowing them to target energy programs even better.

Let us help you with your retrofit project!

Major Retrofit Guidelines ModuleMajor Energy Retrofit Guidelines: Principles for Commercial and Institutional Buildings [PDF – 2 MB] are now available. These guidelines provide you with a proven strategy to assess, plan, implement and maintain energy retrofits for your building. Check back soon on our Energy retrofits page for more modules, including:

  • Office Buildings
  • K-12 Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Hotels/Models
  • Supermarkets
  • Food Stores

Ontario consulting on proposed changes to the Ontario Building Code

Starting on July 14, 2017, the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs began seeking stakeholder and public input on proposed changes to the Ontario Building Code. The consultation and proposed Building Code changes include provisions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the buildings sector in support of the Ontario government’s Climate Change Action Plan. The proposals included in the consultation are for potential inclusion in the next edition of the Ontario Building Code. Among the proposed changes that pertain to large buildings (greater than three storeys or 600 m2), are the following key items:

  • Option to meet air-tightness targets in exchange for credits (proposed in-effect date: 2019)
  • Requirements to improve the energy efficiency of buildings undergoing renovations (proposed in-effect date: 2019)
  • Electric vehicle charging stations in new multi-unit residential buildings (proposed in-effect date: 2019)
  • Green building standards and green roofs (proposed in-effect date: 2019)
  • Removal of exceptions when calculating certain thermal bridging effects (proposed in-effect date: 2020)
  • Further 20 percent decrease in energy consumption (proposed in-effect date: 2022)
  • Mandatory air-tightness testing without a specified target (proposed in-effect date: 2022)
  • Trade-off limitation to building envelope (proposed in-effect date: 2022)

Visit the Ontario Building Code website for a full description of the proposed changes. If you are interested in taking part in the consultation process, please submit your comments by September 29, 2017.

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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