Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency – Volume 1, Issue 7 (October)

Volume 1, Issue 7

Fredericton’s HSBC Place wins New Brunswick Premier’s Outstanding Energy Efficiency Project Award

For the past five years, real estate developer Ross Ventures Ltd. has focused on implementing upgrades that increase efficiency and sustainability across its entire portfolio.

It was the company’s 12 080-square-metre HSBC Place in downtown Fredericton that earned the NB Premier’s award. “We are pleased to be recognized for our efforts and contribution to the environment,” says Jeff Yerxa, President and CEO of Ross Ventures. Additionally, in 2013, the building had the highest energy efficiency score of all participating buildings in Efficiency NB’s Energy Smart program. Yerxa notes that Efficiency NB’s commercial retrofit program has been a key component to helping the company achieve these successes.

 “We are proactive in our approach to energy efficiency,” says Yerxa. This forward-thinking philosophy recently earned the company the 2014 New Brunswick Premier’s Award for Outstanding Energy Efficiency Project in the commercial retrofit category.

The extensive upgrades at HSBC Place include new exhaust and fresh air dampers on air handling units, new variable frequency drives on supply fans, new controls on all HVAC units, new direct digital controls throughout the building, a demand ventilation system, and a chiller retrofit. The demand ventilation system monitors CO2 levels throughout the building to ensure ample fresh air and improve employee comfort.

“We are well on our way to the projected $109,000 annual energy savings,” says Yerxa, noting that annual energy costs are expected to decrease by one third and that around 830 tonnes of GHG emissions will be avoided. There has also been a 90-percent drop in heating- and cooling-related maintenance calls, and feedback from the more than 500 tenants and customers using the building has been nothing but positive.

With improved tenant comfort due to better indoor climate control and significantly lower energy costs, energy efficiency has been a resounding success for Ross Ventures. “We continue to look for opportunities to be better landlords and to improve our energy performance. We won’t stop here; we will keep digging,” says Yerxa.

For more information and to see a full list of winners, visit Efficiency NB’s Premier’s Awards for Energy Efficiency 2014 page at www.efficiencynb.ca/home/2014-award-winners.html.

Environmental certification for Ontario rental buildings makes its mark

More and more rental buildings are going green, and Ontario renters can now include sustainability practices in their criteria when selecting a rental apartment thanks to the Certified Rental Building (CRB) Program, the only multi-unit residential building “certification” program in North America. The program, developed in 2008 by the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO), was recently expanded to include environmental practices. This development highlights the fact that environmental responsibility is now a key performance indicator for an increasing number of building owners and managers.

The CRB Program provides certification for buildings that implement a set of 47 building management and customer service standards, including 11 environmental operating standards. The focus of the program is to protect tenants from renting in poorly maintained buildings or from property managers that offer inadequate quality of service to their tenants.

Certified rental buildings must implement an Environmental Management Policy and an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy. Organizations seeking CRB certification must also undergo regular audits to ensure compliance and continued commitment to the program.

FRPO’s President & CEO Scott Andison says that “within the next few months, over 950 multi-residential apartment buildings, housing over 225 000 residents, will be an active part of this ‘grassroots’ environmental program.” For building owners and managers who use energy benchmarking, with tools such as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, certification will be even easier. Energy benchmarking can help property owners and managers meet the commitment to the responsible use of energy in their properties.

In Toronto, WJ Properties became the first property manager to enroll in the CRB Program and to receive official status. In Mississauga, Park Property Management Inc.’s 2797 Battleford Road property was the first in its district to recertify in the program. Ted Whitehead, FRPO’s Director of Certification, hopes to see more members embrace the new program. “The success of the CRBP’s environmental standards depends on our members working effectively with their residents to strengthen and support a greener environment,” he says.

To read the full article, visit www.reminetwork.com/articles/ontarios-rental-buildings-are-certifying-green. For more information on the certification program, visit www.crbprogram.org.

Make energy benchmarking part of your sustainability plan

Triple bottom line is a concept that incorporates the notion of sustainability into business decisions by considering social and environmental implications as well as financial factors.

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_bottom_line

An increasing number of organizations are taking the triple bottom line approach that includes “people, planet and profits,” in which achieving environmental objectives is as important as improving economic outcomes. As a result, members of the building industry are embarking on the sustainability journey, having their assets certified for environmental quality and employing professionals who ensure compliance with sustainability principles.

Energy efficiency is integral to any organization’s drive for sustainability. As Nicholas Stolatis says in Sustainability: It’s Not About the Capital, “How will you know where you are going if you don’t know where you are? This is the basic premise of benchmarking: identify your current status, and provide the means for determining whether your efforts to improve were successful or not.”

Stolatis believes that energy benchmarking is an important first step toward improving the energy performance of your buildings: “benchmarking is the basic tool used to understand how you are doing.” Energy benchmarking not only provides you with information about the current status of your operations but will inform and guide improvement strategies for years to come.

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is Canada’s only free, on-line, national energy benchmarking tool, and it provides ENERGY STAR performance scores for eligible buildings and plenty of other useful metrics for all building types with at least 12 months of energy data.

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager image

Simply setting up and populating an account in Portfolio Manager can lead to efficiency improvements before you even start benchmarking, because the mere exercise of collecting basic energy information can help pinpoint issues or erroneous assumptions about energy consumption. Then, once a baseline is established, Portfolio Manager can help identify no-cost or low-cost solutions. These may include changes to maintenance operations and schedules, which in themselves can result in significant savings. After the low-hanging fruit has been “harvested,” energy efficiency improvements requiring capital investment can be considered.

In short, energy benchmarking allows building owners and managers to demonstrate the economic value of their sustainability programs and justify the capital investment for energy efficiency projects. It’s a winning strategy for all three bottom lines – people, planet and profits.

Energy Retrofit Initiative leads to greater comfort and savings

Keeping 1800 employees cool at Natural Resources Canada’s Sir William Logan Building in Ottawa now takes much less energy, thanks to new energy-efficient chillers and associated equipment. The $635,000 project was part of Public Works and Government Services Canada’s (PWGSC) Real Property Branch’s ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from federal buildings to 17 percent below 2005 levels.

To achieve this goal, PWGSC, which is responsible for federal building maintenance, is undertaking energy retrofits in partnership with Hydro Ottawa in a joint initiative that provides rebates to offset the cost of retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient.

Photo of PWGSC and Hydro Ottawa team members

Team members celebrate the completion of the chiller replacement project. From left to right: Hatem Atia of SNC Lavalin, Charles Zaloum of Hydro Ottawa, Jon Dilworth of Hydro Ottawa and PWGSC, Corey Reynolds of SNC Lavalin, Robert Rassam of Real Property Branch, Eric Dagenais of Real Property Branch

A few years ago, the two 40-year-old chillers in the Sir William Logan Building were ready for replacement as they struggled to cool the 21-storey tower. At the time, energy experts looked at the whole system to determine how maximum energy savings could be achieved. As a result, using the rebate initiative, the chillers were replaced with energy-efficient ones. Variable frequency drives were also installed on the distribution pumps and motors. “That’s where the Hydro Ottawa initiative really helps; it takes you from just replacing an item to looking at it at a higher level and implementing a good project, which is what they did here,” says Jon Dilworth, Contracting Officer and Engineer at PWGSC.

In contrast to the old chillers, the new ones never run at the same time, and they are now saving the government about $80,000 in annual electricity costs and avoiding 122 tonnes of GHG emissions. The return on investment is great, with the chillers expected to pay for themselves after only six years, due in part to the $152,216 Hydro Ottawa incentive.

Thanks to the partnership between PWGSC and Hydro Ottawa, employees in the Sir William Logan Building will be keeping cool for years to come, and PWGSC is one step closer to meeting its greenhouse gas reduction targets as part of the Federal Sustainability Development Strategy.

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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