Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency – January 2015

January 2015

Happy New Year! Make greater energy management your goal for 2015

The start of a new year is as good a time as any to set energy efficiency goals for your building portfolio. Best practices such as energy benchmarking and energy management training are excellent ways to begin the journey towards those goals.

Benchmarking is part of a sound energy management plan, which includes the following elements:

  • Senior management is committed to a corporate energy policy and an action plan with regular reviews being part of an environmental strategy.
  • A comprehensive system is established to track consumption and budget expenditures, and to identify saving opportunities.
  • Formal and informal channels of communication exist among the organization’s energy team, senior management and employees.
  • There is clear delegation of responsibilities for energy consumption.

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) offers a number of resources to help organizations get started on energy benchmarking and energy management. To learn more, visit our Building Energy Benchmarking resources page.

Energy management training, including our Dollars to $ense Energy Management workshops, is also invaluable for organizations starting on their energy efficiency journey. According to Suzanne Elston, Senior Environmental Co-ordinator, City of Oshawa, “The Dollars to $ense workshops provide excellent dollar value. Cost recovery in terms of energy savings is almost immediate. I would highly recommend the workshops to municipalities that are committed to the 3Rs of energy management: Reduce energy consumption, Reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and Reduce costs.”

Another workshop participant, Scott Vokey, Energy Services Co-ordinator, Local Authority Services (LAS), Association of Municipalities of Ontario, adds “LAS is very pleased to partner with Natural Resources Canada to offer energy management workshops tailored to the municipal sector. They are without a doubt one of the most effective tools in the municipal energy management toolbox and have frequently served as catalysts for a range of projects in municipalities throughout Ontario. The quality of the materials and the instruction from the facilitators is unrivalled – and is a major reason why our audience continues to grow.”

For more information on how we can help you meet your energy efficiency goals for 2015 and beyond, visit www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/buildings/13556

Reminder: New National Survey of Commercial and Institutional Energy Use 2015 to begin soon!

In a previous edition of our newsletter, we informed you that a new national survey of commercial and institutional energy use would be launched in early 2015. This is a reminder that the survey will be starting next month and Natural Resources Canada needs your help.

To get the highest response rate possible, we are asking that you participate in the survey if your organization is contacted, and that you inform your members and stakeholders and encourage them to participate as well.

Survey data collected will be the primary source of commercial and institutional energy consumption data for Canadian buildings. The data will also provide essential information to measure energy efficiency and to develop policies and programs that benefit both individual businesses and the sector in Canada as a whole. Results will also be used to update 1-100 ENERGY STAR performance scores currently available through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager as well as to create new scores for building types not currently eligible to receive a score.

Industry associations, building managers and business owners will also have access to up-to-date data on similar buildings to compare their own energy consumption, while energy specialists and consumers will be able to learn more about the energy consumption patterns of buildings.

Statistics Canada will be conducting the survey on behalf of Natural Resources Canada.

If you would like to learn more about this national survey, e-mail info.services@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca. To view the 2009 report, see Survey of Commercial and Institutional Energy use (SCIEU) – Buildings 2009.

Winners of the RPIC Excellence Award for Energy Efficiency of Federal Buildings honoured at year-end ceremony

Since 1991, NRCan’s Federal Buildings Initiative (FBI) has facilitated retrofit projects in federally owned and operated buildings that have generated over $43 million in annual energy cost savings, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 235 kilotonnes.

The FBI is again leading the way with the Real Property Institute of Canada’s (RPIC’s) Excellence Award for Energy Efficiency of Federal Buildings. The award highlights energy efficiency best practices in buildings owned or managed by the Government of Canada. The award has two categories: existing buildings and new construction. Winners of the awards were announced at the 2014 RPIC Real Property National Workshop held in Ottawa in November 2014.

The winner in the existing building category was the National Research Council’s research facility at 100 Sussex Drive. Retrofits between January 2012 and June 2014 resulted in utility cost savings of $793,200 per year, in addition to annual operating and maintenance cost reductions of $75,000 to $100,000.

In the new construction category, the winner was Canadian Forces Base Building 700, 3rd Canadian Division Headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta. Replacing two separate facilities that were more than 60 years old and more than 12 km apart, this new 8,159 m2 facility will serve as the combined headquarters for three army units and provide office accommodation and operational space for more than 300 personnel. This project was executed using an integrated design process, with the entire project team participating in regular meetings from the beginning of initial pre-design studies through the tender and construction periods. The building is 56 percent more efficient than Model Energy Code for Buildings (MNECB) 1997 standards and is on track to achieve LEED® Gold certification.

NRCan and RPIC will organize the Excellence Award for Energy Efficiency of Federal Buildings in 2015. For more information, contact fbi@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca.

2014 Bright Business Awards honour Nova Scotia’s energy efficiency stars

Efficiency Nova Scotia announced the 2014 Bright Business Awards during its annual energy efficiency conference last fall. This yearly recognition goes to Nova Scotia’s seven best-in-class organizations and individuals for their achievements and leadership in energy efficiency. The award categories and winners are as follows:

Community:  The Town of Bridgewater implemented energy upgrades in 11 of its facilities, saving $50,000 in annual energy costs.

Engagement: The Halifax Regional Water Commission implemented various energy efficiency initiatives, including a new highly-efficient water aeration system resulting in about $500,000 savings in annual energy costs. The Commission credits its success to the engagement of employees and their involvement in energy efficiency projects and the co-ordination among departments to find energy solutions.

Innovation: Valley Waste Resource Management in Kentville won in this category thanks to its dedication to become a zero-waste facility. The company now has a LEED-certified building that fits its image of sustainable resource management. The new passive solar building uses one-third the energy and one-quarter the water compared to that of a conventional building.

Large business: The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation in Halifax was recognized for a series of energy improvements that saved 4 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy annually, which represents a carbon footprint reduction of 3,000 tonnes per year. Measures for their 150,000 square-foot warehouse included heat reclamation, and the installation of induction lighting and motion sensors.

Small Business: Burnside Farms, in Scottsburn won for an outstanding energy efficiency project.

Partnership: Trinity Maintenance Solutions in Stellarton provided energy efficiency solutions, services or education to its customers, which not only contributed to the growth of the local economy but helped educate homeowners and businesses about energy savings. Efficiency Nova Scotia estimates that their work resulted in $13 million in annual energy savings and the equivalent reduction of 77 tonnes of GHG emissions.

Leadership: Stephen Dixon has spent more than 30 years sharing his expertise in energy management with industrial, commercial, government and utilities delivering over 1,500 one-day energy management workshops – including NRCan’s Dollars to $ense workshops.

For more information on the 2014 awards and winners, visit www.efficiencyns.ca/who-we-are/bright-business/.

City of Burlington arena energy competition achieves big savings

“People are more important than technology in energy management,” says Mr. Taggart. Achieving energy efficiency is not as simple as educating staff on the use of advanced energy saving control systems and higher efficiency equipment. Even with training, staff was not using these systems and equipment due to perceptions of increased workload, unclear energy efficiency benefits, concern over user complaints and user group involvement. The two-month competition was designed to target these barriers and to change behaviours to enable the city to achieve the desired results.

In February and March of 2013, the City of Burlington held a competition that targeted ice rinks – every municipality’s highest utility users and therefore a good bet for reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The goals of the challenge included achieving a 15-percent energy reduction over the previous year without affecting service levels.

The competition was part of an energy efficiency campaign that included raising employee awareness. According to David Taggart, Manager of Facility Assets, City of Burlington, “We began developing a culture of conservation that continues to grow progressively throughout the organization.”

Prior to the competition, the City hosted four customized Dollars to $ense energy management workshops in various locations for operators and other arena staff. The workshops were an important step in engaging staff and in achieving energy saving results. “They not only helped us in the short term but have contributed to the ongoing culture of conservation that has become embedded in staff behaviour,” says Mr. Taggart. The city’s energy team also regularly visited departments to offer energy-saving suggestions during the competition.

The results of the campaign are impressive. Energy reduction, both gas and electricity, was on average 9 percent per year, representing 1.8 million kWh equivalent electrical and gas savings for all eight participating facilities, or, around 300,000 kWh equivalent per facility. Two of the facilities achieved more than the targeted 15-percent energy reduction. These numbers represent GHG emissions avoidance of approximately 45 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Other benefits include increased equipment lifecycle, improved facility comfort levels, easier equipment maintenance and the fostering of teamwork and camaraderie. A 24-percent reduction in water consumption for the eight facilities, or, 2,700 litres per facility per year, was also achieved.


“We are pleased with the end result. We were able to change people’s behaviour, use the energy controls more efficiently and employ good operational practices,” says Mr. Taggart. It is estimated that the return on this low-cost project is about 43 times the investment. Moreover, the changes implemented during the City’s Arena Energy/Utility Savings Competition have now been integrated as standard practice so that the savings continue.

Mr. Taggart concludes, “We intend to have more competitions in other municipal buildings such as fire stations, pools and community centres to reinforce and keep the attention on energy management to further embed it in our culture.”

CANQUEST Training for Manitoba

Manitoba Energy Code for Buildings (MECB) 2011 Workshops

  • MECB 101 PART ONE: The Code and Documentation
    2.5-day courses on February 2–4, 2015 and March 9–11, 2015
  • MECB 101 PART TWO: Performance Path with CAN-QUEST Modelling
    3-day course on February, 18– 20, 2015
    Full-Week Session on March 9–13, 2015

For more information, contact Louise Wood at lowood@rrc.ca.

Calendar of events and other important dates

The following list highlights key events:

  • Upcoming release of the Canadian food retail ENERGY STAR 1-100 Performance Scale (spring 2015)
  • Portfolio Manager Web services go live with final updates for upcoming changes and additions (February 2015)
  • New Dollars to $ense workshop: ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager demo for commercial and institutional buildings. Coming Soon
  • Upcoming ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager training opportunities (spring 2015)

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 12 000 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 focusses on energy efficiency in industrial facilities, Heads Up CIPEC.