Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency – VOLUME 1, Issue 2 (May)

VOLUME 1, Issue 2

Hospital ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager scores now available

Hospitals can now be counted among the thousands of other building types in Canada that use the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager with the recent introduction of new Canadian ENERGY STAR scores for hospitals. Using this tool, facility managers can bring about significant energy savings by evaluating their building’s energy performance and ranking their energy performance against other hospitals.

ENERGY STAR scores provide fair assessments of energy performance by comparing buildings’ climates, weather and business activities. Using statistical analysis, ENERGY STAR predicts a building’s energy use and then compares it to its current energy use to yield a percentile performance ranking in relation to the national population.

A score of 75 indicates that the building’s energy consumption performs better than 75 percent of all hospitals nationwide. ENERGY STAR scores are based on data obtained from the Survey of Commercial and Institutional Energy Use - Buildings 2009.

To obtain a 1-100 ENERGY STAR score, enter the following data in addition to the basic tombstone information of your hospital or hospital campus:

  • Gross floor area
  • Licensed bed capacity
  • Number of workers on main shift
  • Whether there is an on-site laundry facility
  • Weather and climate (using heating and cooling degree days, based on postal code)
  • Percent of the building/campus that is heated and cooled

Additionally, specific energy billing information for each building is required for all purchased energy. Usage is required for each energy source for at least 12 consecutive months, with subsequent regular monthly usage updates.

To ensure the most accurate scores and to improve them, routine best practices include up-to-date facility operational details, new monthly energy data input, and data accuracy and quality review (Portfolio Manager’s Data Quality Checker tool).

If you haven’t entered all the required information listed above, your score will be based on default values. For additional details on Portfolio Manager data requirements, visit getting your house in order: your energy data or refer to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Data Collection Worksheet.

Check out our new energy benchmarking for hospitals web page for information on why you should benchmark with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and what you need to know before you benchmark your hospital, information on energy scores for hospitals and other resources for hospitals. You can also e-mail info.services@nrcan.gc.ca for more information.


Our energy benchmarking web pages have been updated. Valuable energy benchmarking information, including Canadian-specific training resources, technical resources, information on how you can use the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Target Finder tool to help establish energy performance goals, and much more is now available.

Don’t miss hospital training webinars for ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

Are you concerned about your hospital’s energy use? Would you rather spend valuable funds on patient care instead of energy costs? ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager can help you improve your facility’s energy performance, allowing you to better serve your patients. Whether you are new to the benchmarking tool or have been using it for some time, you will want to take advantage of Natural Resources Canada’s training webinars.

As a follow-up to the introductory hospital webinar held in late May, another webinar will take place in English on June 18 and in French on June 19. This webinar is aimed at more advanced users, or those who attended the introductory webinar and those who have had some experience with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The webinar will cover a number of topics in detail, including how to:

  • correct or update property use details
  • use the spreadsheet upload feature to update large amounts of data at once
  • use the sustainable buildings checklist

Join the energy benchmarking movement and register to attend this webinar. To obtain a copy of the slides from the introductory webinar or to find out more about energy benchmarking for hospitals contact us by e-mail.

Photo of Runnymede Healthcare Centre

Runnymede Healthcare Centre

Runnymede offers great example for greening hospitals

“As a public institution, it is important that we take a leadership role,” says Corinne Wong, chief operating officer at Runnymede Healthcare Centre. Runnymede, a hospital in Toronto that cares for medically complex patients, is part of the Greening Health Care program (GHC) and has achieved significant energy savings by implementing efficiency measures. Archie Arshad, facilities manager, adds that it is the organization’s responsibility to protect the environment and give back to the community, stating that “we are lowering our operating costs and our energy consumption while being able to reinvest more in patient care.”

Greening Health Care is a provincial program that supports the collaboration of healthcare facilities to improve energy performance. It benchmarks hospitals to give them a starting point for measuring energy use. “All participating healthcare facilities submit and share energy data,” explains Arshad.

Since joining GHC in April 2012, Runnymede has reduced its electricity costs by 9 percent, gas use by around 18 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 11 percent. This was achieved through several initiatives, including the replacement of fluorescent light bulbs with motion-sensor-equipped LED lights, fan system optimization schedules (savings of nearly 60 000 kilowatt hours (kWh) annually) and adjustment of the steam system pressure. Space temperatures were also increased from 13oC to 18oC to prevent continuously reheating air, thus lowering gas use. These improvements were made despite a capacity increase of about 40 beds in the same year.

“We are aiming to operate at 45 kWh per square foot (4.1 kWh per square metre) like the best performing hospitals. In 2013, Runnymede was at 58 kWh (5.4 kWh per square metre),” notes Wong. To achieve this, a number of projects are planned in 2014 including the automation of the facility’s boiler control system and the re-commissioning of its chillers. “We continue to engage energy experts to identify further savings. We don’t want to leave any stones unturned,” says Arshad. “Moreover, the facility’s energy efficiency efforts are all-encompassing,” adds Julie Hiroz, Runnymede’s communications director, noting that there are employee awareness campaigns as well as community outreach initiatives underway.


Runnymede’s efforts were recognized in May 2013 when the facility received the Greening Health Care 5 percent Club award from the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority for lowering total energy use by more than 5 percent.  Shortly after, in August 2013, the hospital received incentive cheques from Enbridge for saving gas and from Toronto Hydro for saving over 34 000 kWh of electricity in the last fiscal year. Moreover, Runnymede was one of five finalists for the Ontario Hospital Association’s Green Hospital of the Year award and became one of 25 hospitals in North America to win the National Air Filtration Association (NAFA) clean air award.

For more information, visit Runnymede’s Energy Efficiency webpage.

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager: FAQs

Question markSince going live in the summer of 2013, we have seen a strong uptake of Portfolio Manager in Canada. We are providing you with some 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.

The questions featured below are taken from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Buildings FAQ page:


Q. Is Portfolio Manager affected by the Heartbleed Bug?

A. No. On April 11, 2014, the EPA assessed ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and found no vulnerability to the Heartbleed bug. 

The Heartbleed Bug affects Open SSL, which is a common method of secure data transmission.  Not every website that uses Open SSL is vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug.   Vulnerability depends on both the version of Open SSL used and the extensions applied.  Based on the version we use and our specific configurations, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is not vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug.

Q. Can I enter energy bills that are not monthly? Can I enter one energy bill for the entire year?

A. Yes and yes. When possible, you should enter the start and end dates that are on your bill. You can enter any time frame; it does not have to be monthly. It could be quarterly, bi-annually, or even just a single annual entry, as long as you cover 12 full months.

However, if you have monthly measurements, we recommend you use them for two key reasons:

  • Weather-normalized metrics need monthly data. If you do not have monthly data, you may get an “N/A.” You need meter bills at least every 65 days to get weather-normalized data, but even that isn't always a guarantee.
  • If you are entering annual data (which is a good option if you only have estimated energy), your metrics for period ending dates that do not coincide with this year will not be as accurate. In this case, Portfolio Manager will prorate the usage evenly among the 12 months. For example, your total kWh for 2012 was 5,000 due to a very cold winter, and your total kWh for 2013 was 4,000. If you are looking at the metrics for the year ending in June 2013 (July 2012 – June 2013), they will be slightly inflated because the second half of 2012 is still carrying the increase from the higher 2012 winter bills, even though that is not the winter in the year you are looking at.

You can also enter estimated data – just remember to check the “estimated” box along with your entry. But keep in mind, estimates are not allowed when you apply for ENERGY STAR certification.

Note: in the old Portfolio Manager system, we required you to enter bills of 65 days or less to get any metrics, but this requirement was dropped in the new system starting July 2013.

Q. Where is the Portfolio Manager Glossary?

A. The Portfolio Manager Glossary is available outside of Portfolio Manager at: https://portfoliomanager.energystar.gov/pm/glossary

The Glossary can also be accessed from within Portfolio Manager from the Help page (on the top of every screen), then click on "Glossary."

Calendar of events and other important dates

The following list highlights key events:

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.

We welcome reader feedback and are always interested in your story ideas.

Send Feedback | Subscribe/Unsubscribe | Change Profile | Heads Up CIPEC | Send Us Your Success Stories