Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency – Volume 1, Issue 9

Volume 1, Issue 9

The year in review – looking back at 2014 energy efficiency successes

It has been a busy year for NRCan’s Buildings Division – one that has had a positive impact on energy efficiency across the country. It began in January 2014 when a new website was launched, and then in June, revamped energy benchmarking Web pages were published.

New publications now available from Natural Resources Canada

The Division also produced a number of new publications including the following: Better airflow, less energy, lower costs: Fume hood retrofits yield big benefits for National Research Council Canada Building M-12, Improve Your Building’s Energy Performance: Energy Benchmarking Primer, and CAN-QUEST Building Energy Modelling Software factsheet.

Energy benchmarking

The year marked a number of benchmarking achievements as well. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager performance scores for hospitals were released in May 2014. In addition, our energy benchmarking webinars were delivered to over 700 participants. This included a national webinar designed for the hospital sector, the Portfolio Manager series 101 and 201 in May, June and November, and sector-specific customized webinars. The first ever Canadian Office Hours webinar also took place in the fall of 2014 and featured information on Portfolio Manager’s new sharing feature.  

Not only is NRCan the source of energy benchmarking information and tools for Portfolio Manager, but the department also practices what it preaches. NRCan is now using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for its key building sites, and has entered data from over 100 meters that go back to 2005, totalling over 10,000 data points. The data input shows that the current Web Services Transfer works well for buildings with simple meter configurations. NRCan’s Buildings Division is working to ensure that data entry into bulk delivery meters (e.g., propane and diesel) and complex meter configurations are also seamless.

For more information, visit www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/buildings/capacity-building-resources/newsletter/15683#s2.

NECB developments

There have been developments over the past year with respect to the adoption and implementation of the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB 2011). The provinces of Ontario, British Columbia (B.C.), Manitoba, Nova Scotia and the City of Vancouver (a Charter City) have all adopted the Code. Enforcement of the Code has been staggered starting with B.C. and Vancouver on December 20, 2013, Ontario on January 1, 2014, Manitoba on December 1, 2014, and finally Nova Scotia, which is scheduled to begin enforcing NECB 2011 on December 31, 2014. The combined adoption and enforcement of NECB 2011 in these four provinces is estimated to impact roughly 60 percent of all new commercial buildings constructed in Canada by 2020. It is anticipated that by 2016 at least three other provinces will have adopted or adapted this new energy code.

In spring 2014 an NECB 2011 code compliance checklist tool was developed jointly by NRCan and BC Hydro and made available to all provinces and territories to help facilitate their building permitting processes following code enforcement. Also during 2014, the Buildings Division developed tools to assist building designers with the NECB 2011’s detailed trade-off compliance path calculations. These trade-off tools, which apply to NECB 2011 Part 4 (Lighting) and Parts 5 and 6 (Heating, Ventilating & Air Conditioning and Service Water Heating) are now available at no charge by contacting info.services@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca. Furthermore, a new User’s Guide for NECB 2011 is now available for purchase through the National Research Council’s virtual store at www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/virtual_store/index.html

CAN-QUEST tool and training available soon

In December 2013, a beta version of CAN-QUEST, the Canadian version of the popular US whole building energy modelling tool eQUEST was released. The bilingual CAN-QUEST Building Energy Modelling Software will be available as of March 2015 on Natural Resource Canada’s website on Energy Efficiency. The software is designed to comply with the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2011 (NECB 2011). Moreover, CAN-QUEST training will be provided across Canada by experts in the building sector. For more information on training in your area, contact NRCan at info.services@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca or 1-877-360-5500 (toll-free).

Finally, the NECB 2011 has been updated for 2015 along with all the other model national construction codes (i.e., NBC, NPC, and NFC). NECB 2015 is on track to be published by December 2015 and will be available for purchase through the NRCan’s Virtual Store. 

Notable Mentions

Building Energy Challenge in Richmond, B.C.

The City of Richmond is running a Building Energy Challenge in 2014–2015, using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager as its tracking tool, to encourage the measurement, monitoring and reduction of energy and water waste in commercial, institutional or multi-family residential buildings. The Challenge will cover 75 percent of the costs of eligible training programs, including the Building Owners and Managers Association’s e-Energy Training for Building Operators, and NRCan’s Dollars to $ense Energy Management Workshops. Customized introductory energy management training is offered to participants free of charge with enrollment, in addition to access to BC Hydro and Fortis BC energy rebate programs. This will be the second official building energy challenge using Portfolio Manager in the country, following Greening Greater Toronto’s Race to Reduce initiative.

For more information on how to join, visit https://energy.richmond.ca/energychallenge/about/

Both the City of Vancouver and the City of Richmond, supported by BC Hydro, are benchmarking their municipal buildings in Portfolio Manager to increase voluntary benchmarking. Through our collaboration, NRCan is improving the energy efficiency of Canada’s buildings sector, and contributing to the health and prosperity of individuals, the economy and the environment.

Positive impact of Dollars to $ense workshops

Always popular, the renowned Dollars to $ense Energy Management workshops were continuously requested by the commercial and institutional building sector. Thirty-eight energy management training workshops have been delivered to more than 700 participants since April of this year.

Dollars to $ense Energy Management workshop testimonial

“The energy management training offered by the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO), with the support of NRCan’s Dollars to $ense Energy Management workshop program, have proved extremely beneficial to the Municipality. The workshops provide cost effective training for many of my staff who brought back practical knowledge that they were able to apply immediately to the operations of many of our facilities. In our first year after the training, we were able to save a quarter of a million dollars in energy consumption, and that is remarkable for a medium size municipality. Much of our success is directly attributable to the affordable training opportunities made available to us.”

Franklin Wu
Chief Administrative Officer
Municipality of Clarington

Energy efficiency results in Kingston, Ontario

The Office of the Mayor of Kingston reported that thanks to the Switch Ontario program the municipality is saving $0.5 million from newly-installed LED streetlights. Also in Kingston, a series of retrofits at Queen’s University reduced the institution’s yearly energy demand from 5 MW to 3 MW. Additionally, the Kingston General Hospital reported a 14 percent overall savings through implementing energy efficiency measures.

Environmental champions group for benchmarking

Given that utility costs of multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs) are often 30 percent of operating costs, the Federation of Registered Property Owners (FRPO) is setting up an environmental champions group that will benchmark rental MURBs. The group’s goal is to benchmark 1,000 buildings, 125,000 suites, and reach 300,000 residents.

Canadian ENERGY STAR scores for food retail sector to be released

The use of ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager as a benchmarking tool continues to expand as Canadian energy performance scores for supermarket / grocery (food retail) stores will be available in the winter of 2015. For Canadian users, the Portfolio Manager currently has the 1-100 ENERGYSTAR performance scores for office buildings, schools and hospitals.

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, the only standard national platform for energy benchmarking in Canada, is already in use for thousands of buildings across the country with a market share of more than 16 percent of the commercial/institutional sector.

Over 450 Canadian food retail stores are currently benchmarking their energy performance. The Energy benchmarking tool will help in establishing baselines and setting energy goals.

Stay tuned to Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency and our website (www.nrcan.gc.ca/ENERGYSTARPortfolioManager) for more information on Portfolio Manager updates including upcoming training opportunities and food retail-related FAQs.

Energy efficiency measures have a significant worldwide impact

Data analyzed in the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s Energy Efficiency Market Report 2014 (EEMR 2014) show that energy efficiency has surpassed oil, electricity and natural gas as the world’s new “first fuel.” In 2011, the savings from avoided energy use was estimated at 59 percent of total fuel consumption. In fact, efficiency efforts saved more energy than a year’s worth of energy consumption in the U.S., China or the European Union (EU).

Moreover, in the same year, the energy efficiency savings of 1,337 million tonnes of oil-equivalent (Mtoe) of 11 IEA member countries were greater than the combined total fuel consumption of the EU or of Asia, excluding China.

The global market for energy efficiency was worth between $310 and $360 billion in 2012, driving efficiency improvements across all sectors. Additionally, the market potential for energy efficiency is growing in OECD non-member economies.

The EEMR 2014 report also found that energy efficiency financing is on the rise with new and innovative funding approaches and business models, and has become an established financial market segment.

According to the IEA, energy efficiency markets will likely grow worldwide as issues of energy security, economic growth and climate change mitigation continue to receive attention.

(Source: www.iea.org/Textbase/npsum/EEMR2014SUM.pdf)

Calendar of events and other important dates

The following list highlights building sector events:


NRCan will be launching a new segment to the Dollars to $ense Energy Management workshop series for commercial and institutional buildings in winter 2015. This new segment is a basic demo on the Canadian-adapted ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and provides information on how to build the business case using data from the tool.

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.