Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency Newsletter - February 2014

 Building Energy Efficiency Newsletter

February 2014

Race to Reduce participants approach energy reduction goal ahead of schedule

Two years into CivicAction’s Race to Reduce and participating office buildings are just one percent away from the Race’s four-year energy reduction target. Race to Reduce, launched in 2011, aims to reduce participating buildings’ energy use by 10 percent by the end of 2014.
The challenge, focusing on collaboration between commercial landlords and tenants, provides participants with a plan of action and a toolkit to help increase energy use awareness, decrease emissions, measure and monitor energy use and make positive changes.

To measure and monitor results, CivicAction adopted ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager as its benchmarking tool of choice. The tool makes it possible for participants to track and assess building energy consumption in a secure online environment.

The challenge was popular early on; by mid-2012, 30 percent, or over 5.5 million m2 (60 million square feet) of the Toronto region’s office space, was participating in the race,  including over half a million square metres  (5.8 million square feet) of building space in the Peel region. Forty major landlords and over 450 tenants registered 150 buildings.

In November 2012, CivicAction and its Leadership Council for the Toronto region’s major office building landlords and tenants held its second annual awards ceremony to celebrate that year’s winners. By that time, the Race had resulted in $25.8 million in energy savings and a collective two-percent energy reduction.

A year later, the impressive results continued to accumulate, and the third award event celebrated the successes of its winners. “To date, we have seen a cumulative energy reduction of nine percent, which has inspired even the most skeptical and has galvanized the resolve of participants to shoot for increasingly higher results,” says Brad Henderson, Senior Managing Regional Director at CBRE Limited and CivicAction’s Commercial Building Energy Leadership Council Co-Chair.

“Reaching a nine-percent reduction in just two short years has highlighted what landlords and tenants can achieve when they focus together on reducing energy, costs and carbon emissions,” said Roger Johnson, Senior Vice-President, Enterprise Real Estate, TD Bank Group and Co-Chair of CivicAction’s Commercial Building Energy Leadership Council. “It also demonstrates the ample opportunities for Race to Reduce participants and non-participants alike to achieve much greater energy savings.”

“Toronto tenants and landlords are exceeding OPA’s Conservation Fund expectations. We believe the Race to Reduce couples a comprehensive engagement program with measureable results that demonstrate how tenants and landlords can work together to truly transform how buildings consume energy,” said Andrew Pride, Vice-President, Conservation, Ontario Power Authority.

“What CivicAction and the Race to Reduce have been able to accomplish with their stakeholders is unprecedented,” says Brad Henderson. The collaboration has been incredible between the various stakeholders; as Henderson says, “Never underestimate the power of a competition to bring out the best in people.”

For more information on the Race to Reduce or how to join the challenge, visit www.racetoreduce.ca. To learn about this and past years’ award winners, visit the Race to Reduce 2013 award winners’ page. To learn more about ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, visit NRCan’s national building energy benchmarking initiative Web page.

Race to Reduce

Manitoba adopts National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings

On December 20, 2013, Manitoba joined Nova Scotia, British Columbia, the City of Vancouver and Ontario in officially adopting the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB) 2011. With this move, Manitoba becomes the fourth province to move towards a more uniform means to achieve building energy performance across Canada.

The Code, which comes into force on December 1, 2014, provides minimum requirements for the design and construction of energy‑efficient new buildings. The 2011 version is an update of Canada’s first model energy code for buildings, which was introduced in 1997. That original code was modeled after the United States’ ASHRAE 90.1 standards, which some provinces, such as British Columbia and Ontario, had already incorporated by reference into their building codes. The NECB 2011 is a model code intended for provinces and territories to adopt and adapt according to their needs.

The adoption of the code by Manitoba will have a significant impact on the energy efficiency of new commercial buildings in that province. Moreover, it will affect many sectors within the Manitoban construction industry as well as the local authorities that enforce the code. More broadly, the eventual adoption of the NECB 2011 across Canada will help to bring uniformity to building energy performance in all provinces and territories in Canada.

For more information on the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2011, visit NRCan’s Web page, Canada’s energy code, or the National Research Council Canada’s National Model Construction Codes Web page. For more information, you can also e-mail info.services@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca.

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager: FAQs

question mark

Since going live in the summer of 2013, we have seen a strong uptake of Portfolio Manager in Canada. We are providing you with a couple of FAQs that may help to address issues you may have experienced. For answers to any other questions you may have, e-mail info.services@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca. You might see your question featured in a future issue of the newsletter.
These featured questions are taken from the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Buildings FAQ page:

Q. I'm getting a warning when I enter my bill data. What does it mean?

A. In the old Portfolio Manager, users could save meter data even if the previous data contained errors (i.e., gaps or overlaps in energy meter data). When the new system was launched, if you attempted to add new data to a meter that contained errors, the new data would not save. You were forced to correct the errors in your historical data before you could save the new meter entries. We received a lot of user feedback on this topic, and as a result, we changed this notification to a "warning," which will let you move forward, rather than the "error," which forced you to fix the data.

So, while meter gaps and overlaps will no longer stop you from updating meters, it’s always a good idea to resolve these gaps and overlaps, if possible. Here are some tips to help you resolve the gap or overlap:

  • If the gap is for a significant period of time (say there was a year where you weren’t tracking data, and you don’t have access to those bills any more), then close out the old meter (by entering a “Date Meter Became Inactive”) and create a new meter with a “Date Meter Became Active” for when your meter data begins again.
  • If you are missing just a couple of days, change the dates of your bills, or enter zero usage for the missing days.
  • Mark this data as an "Estimation" so you remember that you weren't sure of the data (optional). 

Q. Is there a list of enhancements/improvements EPA is planning for Portfolio Manager?

Yes.  Here is a list of upcoming enhancements:

1. Share forward: We know that for many of you, it’s important to be able to share a property that has been shared with you (we call this “sharing forward”). And we know the removal of this capability – a decision we made in part to protect users’ privacy – has caused some significant difficulties. As a result, we are currently working on the conceptual design to add this new functionality to Portfolio Manager, with a priority on protecting your privacy, and hope to have it available in Portfolio Manager by late summer 2014. In the meantime, as a temporary workaround, you can transfer ownership of your account to another person, thereby allowing that person to share your properties with others. Please stay tuned for additional updates on our progress. 

2. Chart and Graph Reports – On the reporting tab, you will see that Chart/Graph reports are currently available for Site EUI, Source EUI, and the ENERGY STAR Score. This fall, we will be adding similar reports for Emissions Intensity, Energy Cost Intensity, Indoor Water Intensity, and Indoor Water Cost Intensity.

Here is a list of recently implemented enhancements:

1. A status button for Certification Eligibility –As of January 24, 2014, there is a button at the top of every individual property screen that tells you if you are eligible to apply for ENERGY STAR certification. If you are not eligible to apply, you can click on the button and see the reason(s) why.

2. Negative Meter Entries – As of January 9, 2014,we made an improvement to the way negative meters are entered so that you only have to choose a reason (for the negative entry)once per meter. Previously, you had to enter a reason for each meter entry, which users found cumbersome.

Q. How does Portfolio Manager set a baseline date? Can I change it?

Portfolio Manager sets a default "baseline date" as the first year for which your property has 12 months of data.

You can change this date on the Goals Tab (under "Current and Baseline Targets").

Green building pioneer, Stephen Carpenter, named to the Order of Canada

Congratulations to Stephen Carpenter! On December 30, 2013, Carpenter was named a Member of the Order of Canada for his early pioneering work in the green building industry. Carpenter, through his work in energy consulting and his involvement in the development of the Canadian LEED system, has been a visionary leader in the Canadian green building movement. He has already been recognized for his contributions with the Canada Green Building Council’s first Exceptional Service Award in 2010 and is a LEED Fellow.

Carpenter received his mechanical engineering degree from the University of Waterloo and soon after established Enermodal Engineering in Waterloo in 1981 to specialize in energy-efficient building design. The company initially focused on developing Canada's first energy modelling software.

After building the Waterloo Region Green Home, which used 75 percent less energy and water than a conventional Canadian home, in 1992, his company went on to help design many green buildings, including 23 of the first 25 LEED NC certified buildings in Ontario. Enermodal pioneered green technologies such as rainwater cisterns, on-site biofiltration, variable flow refrigerant systems and renewable energy systems.

The company's own headquarters, the Green on the Grand building and A Grander View, are both extremely energy efficient and sustainable. The latter won the Canadian Consulting Engineering Tree for Life Award in 2011 and is Canada’s only triple Platinum LEED certified office building.

Carpenter takes a holistic view of building design rather than as a collection of parts. He also believes in taking sustainability beyond the building and considers how tenants can contribute to sustainability and how buildings can reduce their impact on the surrounding environment.

NRCan’s case study on Enermodal’s A Grander View, provides additional details on the energy efficiency measures implemented.

Calendar of events and other important dates

The following list highlights key events:

Offered in English only in Vancouver, B.C.
Offered in collaboration with Langara College through the Continuing Studies Registration Office. To register, call Langara College directly at 604-323-5322.
Visit our Web site for more information on our  Dollars to $ense Energy Management workshops

See Website for upcoming dates and locations.

Let us know what you think

Heads Up 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 discusses energy efficiency in industrial facilities, Heads Up CIPEC.

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