Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency – VOLUME 1, Issue 3 (June)

VOLUME 1, Issue 3

Benchmarking resolution endorsed by BC government association

Earlier this month, the Lower Mainland Local Government Association (LMLGA) of British Columbia, representing a large proportion of British Columbia's population encompassing the area between Whistler, Hope and Tsawwassen, endorsed an energy benchmarking resolution.

If approved by the province, the resolution will empower local governments to require annual reporting of building energy use data to allow for comparison benchmarking between similar buildings. Further, the resolution will grant local governments the authority to enable the public release of non-confidential and non-competitive building energy benchmarking information.

For more details on the Benchmarking Tools for Building Energy Use, visit the Lower Mainland Local Government Association web page.

Why you don’t want to ignore ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for buildings

Whether you manage a large portfolio or only a few buildings, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is an indispensable tool to benchmark your real estate, increase asset value, and gain energy savings. There is no reason not to start energy benchmarking, now that ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and ENERGY STAR ratings are available in Canada.

The program has already gained momentum in the U.S., where approximately 40 percent of the commercial marketFootnote 1 is already benchmarking with Portfolio Manager. Here in Canada, approximately 14 percent of floor space has already enrolled in the tool and the numbers are growing on a daily basis. Not only are property owners and managers benchmarking, but they are also looking for ways to increase their ENERGY STAR score in their commitment to energy efficiency.

Why should you embark on energy benchmarking with ENERGY STAR? First, do it for your bottom line. Higher ENERGY STAR scores can raise an asset’s profitability by increasing rental income and decreasing operating costs. In fact, studiesFootnote 2 have shown that buildings that benchmark with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager have lower operating costs, are more marketable, and command higher rental rates compared to other buildings.

Second, initial benchmarking is just the start of a journey of continuous improvement for the buildings in your portfolio. The higher the ENERGY STAR score, the better your building’s energy performance relative to its peers. Moreover, as you increase your score over time, more financial rewards will be achieved. Increasing an asset’s score can mean picking away at the list of measures identified in an energy audit, properly shutting down a building at night, and/or identifying underperforming equipment through recommissioning.  

Finally, laws in some jurisdictions in the U.S. require building owners to disclose energy use information. While this is not yet the case in Canada, why not be prepared? Get a head start now and benchmark with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and begin saving today.

Finally, some jurisdictions in Canada are pursuing or already have in place some form of mandatory disclosure, why not be prepared by using Portfolio Manager.

Visit our Energy benchmarking web pages for more information to help you get started.

Congratulations to Ralph Mayfield Energy Efficiency Champion of New Brunswick Premier’s Awards for Energy Efficiency 2014

Photo of Ralph Mayfield

“It’s so important to take advantage of every opportunity possible to reduce our energy costs in in health care,” says Ralph Mayfield, Director of Physical Resources for Horizon Health Network, Saint John, New Brunswick.  Mayfield comments that “making our operations as efficient as possible is my passion.” Mayfield’s passion to make the health care facility’s operations as efficient as possible have also garnered him a 2014 New Brunswick Premier’s Award for Energy Efficiency in the Energy Efficiency Champion-Individual category.

Reducing energy costs is exactly what Mayfield has done at the Saint John Regional Hospital. Through measures such as the installation of a new chiller programmed for maximum optimization and efficiency, he has avoided about $85,000 in annual electricity costs.

Mayfield’s policy: “when something breaks, don’t simply fix it; look for ways to improve it”. This approach often results in an improved workplace and patient environment. One example is the replacement of patient room night lights. With 630 night lights at 5W each, approximately $1,000 per year in energy costs was spent on night lights alone. Mayfield’s solution was to switch to 2.4W LED light strips. This will save money on electricity costs and the cost of maintenance staff to replace bulbs. Additionally, the light strips are also brighter and more focused, reducing light disturbance in the middle of the night while patients sleep.


Under Mayfield’s leadership, the facility reduced energy consumption by 2.7 million equivalent kWh or about $227,000 in 2013 compared to 2011. Mayfield and others were honoured at the sixth annual Premier's Awards, which recognize innovation and leadership in energy efficiency in New Brunswick. Some of the other Premier’s Award winners include: HSBC Place Ross Ventures Inc. (Commercial Retrofit); Le Foyer Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes (Commercial New Construction); and Champlain Place (Commercial Sector).

To read about the award winners, visit www.efficiencynb.ca/home/2014-award-winners.html.

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager: FAQs

Question markSince going live a year ago, 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. What browsers does Portfolio Manager support?

A. Portfolio Manager supports the 3 most popular web browsers:

  • Firefox (version 16 or greater)
  • Internet Explorer (version 9 or greater)
  • Google Chrome (version 10 or greater)

The functionality of all browsers can be affected by your security settings. If you have the highest security settings (that don’t allow any cookies), you may experience functionality issues.

Q. What's the difference between my “property” Gross Floor Area (GFA) and my “use total” GFA?

A. The Property GFA is the Gross Floor Area (GFA) you entered when you first created the property. You can edit this from the Details Tab by clicking Edit under “Basic Information”.

The Use Total GFA is the sum of the individual GFA for each of our property uses, excluding parking. Portfolio Manager calculates this number. The only way to change it is to change the GFAs for one or more of your property uses.

As an example, say you have an office building with 100 000 square feet [9300 m2] (Property GFA). But the office use is only 60 000 square feet [5600 m2] and the other 40 000 square feet [3700 m2] is a hotel. So you would have an Office Use with a GFA of 60 000 and a Hotel Use with a GFA of 40 000 (60 000 + 40 000 = 100 000 Use Total GFA).

You will get a warning notice if your Property GFA does not equal your Use Total GFA. The purpose of this comparison is to help you make sure that you’ve accounted for all uses in your building. This is provided as an informational alert but does not affect metric calculations. Your metric calculations are based on your Use Total GFA.

Q. If I update the property use details for a child property will the parent property automatically be updated?

A. No, because of the wide variety of ways that people benchmark multi-building properties, Portfolio Manager does not automatically synchronize changes or updates that you make to the use details for individual (child) buildings with the property as a whole (parent or campus), or vice versa. If your property has more than one building, it is important that you keep your use details updated at both the parent property and individual building (children) levels so that your ENERGY STAR score and other metrics are accurate.

For example, say you may have created a multi-building property to represent a college campus. You entered the college as (parent) property and several individual (child) buildings for each physical building that make up the campus. When you initially create the campus, you are asked to provide use details for the “College/University”, which includes use of each building on the campus. When you create each individual (child) building, you are asked to provide use details only for that individual building (library, dormitory, laboratory, office, etc.). Information provided for each individual building does not “roll up” to the use details for the parent property. If/when the use details for an individual building changes (for example, the number of workers increases), you need to manually update the use details for that individual building AND make a corresponding update to the use details for the parent property. It is important that you keep your use details updated at both the parent property and individual building levels so that your ENERGY STAR score and other metrics are accurate for both your property AND your individual buildings. 

You can update or correct use details from the “Details” tab for the property. A list of uses provided for the property is displayed in the upper right corner of the tab. To update use details, select “Update with New Information” from the Action menu for the corresponding use. To correct use details, select “Correct Mistakes” from the Action menu for the corresponding use. When you are done updating/correcting property use details, you can access each individual building on the campus from the “Summary” tab for the property. Then view a list of uses provided for the individual building in the upper right corner of the “Details” tab. Corrections or updates are made to buildings in exactly the same way that they are made to the parent property.

Calendar of events and other important dates

The following list highlights key events:

If you are interested in having a customized Dollars to $ense workshop, please note that it will take eight to ten weeks from planning to delivery.

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.

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