Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency

Volume 4, Issue 11

Coming soon! ENERGY STAR certification

You asked for it; we are bringing it! Be one of the 1st ENERGY STAR’s certified in your sector!

Updated scoring model for commercial office buildings

A number of other significant updates to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager are planned for spring 2018. These include new source energy factors and an updated scoring model for commercial office buildings.

BOMA Canada officially launches Net Zero Awards

BOMA Canada used the occasion of its recent (September 27-28) annual BOMEX conference to officially launch its Net Zero Awards program. This new addition to its suite of annual building awards will recognize leadership of owners, developers, designers and managers of buildings that demonstrate significant progress along the path toward net‐zero energy. Awards will be presented in three categories: Best In Class/Net Zero Award, Most Improved Buildings and an Innovation Award.

BOMA Canada Net Zero Awards

NRCan has been pleased to support the development and delivery of this exciting new award, which is expected to help the buildings industry move toward a net‐zero energy future.

BOMA Canada will begin accepting applications in February 2018, with the intention to recognize the first award recipients in September 2018. Interested applicants are invited to visit BOMA Canada’s website or email netzero@bomacanada.ca for more information, including application details.

Green Schools Nova Scotia engages students in long-term sustainability thinking

Green Schools Nova Scotia

Engaging students in energy and other resource-saving projects is a great approach for schools wishing to go green. Green Schools Nova Scotia, an initiative from Efficiency Nova Scotia, helps schools do just that. The program, offered at no cost to elementary and secondary schools in the province, supports students, teachers and the larger school community in their efforts to become more resource efficient.

The program aims to raise awareness among students and promote behavioural changes that will lead to positive action about the sustainable use of resources. Participating schools are supported by engagement officers who work with students, teachers and school communities to reduce energy and water use, minimize waste, use green transportation, and support local food production.

Green Schools Nova Scotia, through various in-school and community activities, equips the next generation of students with the tools and knowledge they need to live and act sustainably in the future.  Schools generally pick one of the program themes to focus on per school year in order to create an in-depth experience for students and teachers.

As an example, West Northfield Elementary participated in the program with rave reviews from students and teachers. The school established a Green Team that worked with the program’s engagement officers. They learned many easy-to-implement measures that save energy and water and reduce waste in the school. Green Team members then shared their learnings with the rest of the student body. Simple behaviours such as turning off lights and computers have now become ingrained in students. Moreover, many students implement their learnings at home as well.  

Like West Northfield Elementary, schools can start on energy improvements at any time, and energy benchmarking is an ideal way to begin the journey. NRCan offers many resources on energy benchmarking for K-12 schools and supports the use of the free, online ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager as an accessible, user-friendly energy benchmarking tool. 

Organizations that have successfully integrated energy benchmarking into their overall energy management strategies are highlighted on NRCan’s Canadian Circle of Champions page. Schools can do the same and become energy champions.

For more information about Green Schools Nova Scotia, visit: www.greenschoolsns.ca, and for a video about the energy efficiency efforts of West Northfield Elementary, go to www.greenschoolsns.ca/news/what-green-schools-nova-scotia-all-about-watch-new-video.

York Catholic District School Board leads the way in energy efficiency improvements

York Catholic District School Board

The York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) has saved a total of $34.2 million in energy costs since 2000 and diverted more than 850 tonnes of GHG emissions annually. Even with the construction of new schools, the board’s energy intensity has decreased by 45 percent over the past 16 years. This achievement earned it the 2015 title of the best energy-performing school board in Ontario.

The YCDSB is composed of 90 elementary and 15 secondary schools that occupy just under 700,000 square metres in the Greater Toronto Area. The board’s energy expenditures, like most other Canadian school boards, are its second largest operating expense. Energy efficiency improvement, therefore, can lead to significant savings as well as healthier learning environments.

The YCDSB has been tracking energy use since 1999 and had yearly energy plans until 2013, when it prepared a five-year plan in accordance with Ontario’s Green Energy Act. For some time, the board has been using the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Utility Consumption Database (EDU), which automatically receives utility data, allowing the YCDSB to track, monitor and verify school energy consumption. In addition, the YCDSB has a real-time energy management system that raises staff and student awareness on energy conservation.

Energy data has led to many improvements at YCDSB schools, such as the installation of a building automation system, which has been particularly instrumental in identifying poorly performing systems and energy saving opportunities.

Energy efficiency upgrades include retrofitting inefficient equipment, and installing LED lighting and variable frequency drives at many of the YCDSB’s schools. The board is currently investigating adding to its solar photovoltaic systems and using conservation voltage reduction. 

To date, the board has invested an average of $1.2 million per year in energy management and has earmarked $8 million for the current year. In addition, the YCDSB has used government and utility incentive programs, such as the IESO’s Save on Energy program, to finance parts of its energy management program.

YCDSB has been at the forefront with tracking its energy consumption when limited technology was available to do so. Now, with such accessible tools as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, energy benchmarking and tracking for schools is easy. NRCan has developed resources specifically for energy benchmarking for K-12 schools.

Schools starting out with energy benchmarking can look to leaders such as the YCDSB for inspiration as well as members of the Canadian Circle of Champions for best practices and ideas for energy efficiency improvement.

Staff engagement leads to energy savings for Horizon Health Network

Horizon Health Network

In just three years, Horizon Health Network cut its energy costs by $4.45 million and diverted 15,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually as a result of staff commitment and engagement, low-cost measures, and a facility-wide energy management system. The organization’s achievements also garnered it the 2016 Wayne McLellan Award of Excellence in Healthcare Facilities Management.

Horizon Health Network, based in New Brunswick and employing 12,400 people, operates 12 hospitals and more than 100 medical facilities, clinics and offices totalling 380,902 square metres and consuming 215 million ekWh. The Moncton Hospital and the Saint John Regional Hospital are the largest facilities in the organization’s portfolio.

Horizon attributes its success in large part to engaging its staff and identifying energy champions in its facilities. “We've found that effective communication and sharing success stories is the most efficient, cost-effective way to do it. We've succeeded, and success is contagious,” says Blaine Lynch, Regional Director of Facilities, Engineering and Property Management, Horizon Health Network.

Horizon’s energy data was integrated into ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager three years ago, which allowed the organization to determine an energy consumption baseline. This has enabled the company to compare performance with peer hospitals within New Brunswick and across Canada.

The company’s energy management information system (EMIS) is installed in most of its facilities and includes natural gas and electricity meters, and steam and electrical consumption sub-metering. Energy dashboards and reports generated by the EMIS are a powerful way for facility staff to visualize energy use.

The organization has also established a network of engineers, energy managers and physical resources directors who meet several times a year to identify and share energy reduction ideas.

Because of energy-saving ideas from the network and employees, the Miramichi Regional Hospital improved its ENERGY STAR score from 19 to 52 in less than three years. This leap in ENERGY STAR scores was largely a result of wood boiler and steam production system retrofits that have reduced steam production by 10 million pounds. The hospital also installed LED lights and dimmers, and now has a building automation system that is linked to its EMIS.

Other facility-wide projects include ongoing LED retrofits, the installation of occupancy sensors, and the optimization and recommissioning of equipment and systems. Ongoing funding from the Province of New Brunswick’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure has also allowed the organization to look at projects with longer payback periods.

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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