Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency – Volume 2, Issue 4 (April)

Volume 2, Issue 4

Energy saving opportunities abound in the food retail sector

Energy Star performance score image

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Data Trends, in the U.S. more than 15,500 supermarkets are benchmarking their energy performance with an average annual energy savings of more than 2 percent. Just imagine what your store could do with 2 percent of its energy budget!

Although the ENERGY STAR label for buildings is not available in Canada, Canadian supermarkets and food stores can also achieve the same level of energy savings.

The recent release of NRCan’s food retail score for Portfolio Manager can help highlight the energy saving opportunities available in this sector. The food retail business is highly competitive, has narrow profit margins and is relatively energy-intensive, so any chance to reduce waste and energy costs should be considered. For more information about Portfolio Manager benchmarking for the food retail sector, visit www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/buildings/energy-benchmarking/17188.

Visit Canadian Grocer magazine’s online Sustainability Resource Centre

The Sustainability Resource Centre, a microsite featured on the Canadian Grocer magazine website, offers a wealth of information and current news on sustainability topics relevant to the retail food sector. 

The microsite features regular columns about responsible sourcing, green products and packaging, and environmentally sound operations and logistics. Readers can find articles on food waste reduction, the rating of producers’ growing practices, green initiatives at Kruger and Walmart as well as news of NRCan’s new Canadian 1-100 ENERGY STAR score for the food retail sector. 

Visit Canadian Grocer magazine’s Sustainability Resource Centre at www.canadiangrocer.com/microsite/kruger-sustainability/.

Canada’s first provincial government building to achieve LEED Platinum

Photo of Robinson Place building

Robinson Place, an Ontario Government building in Peterborough, Ontario, built in the 1990s achieved a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Existing Building: Operations and Maintenance (LEED EBOM) Platinum certification in February 2015 and became the first provincial government building in Canada to achieve this status.

"The LEED Platinum designation is rare, even in new construction, so this conversion is something Peterborough can be proud of,” said Bert Clark, President and CEO, Infrastructure Ontario (IO), which manages the facility. IO began the process that led to LEED certification several years ago.

The building is completely metered and is now connected to a modern building automation system that ensures both occupant comfort and optimal operating efficiency. New energy-efficient chillers provide optimum performance during the cooling season. The building also offers plenty of natural light and collects rainwater to be used in washrooms. Moreover, Robinson Place has a strong recycling program, an environmental procurement strategy and many other policies that offer a green approach to building management. 

Thomas Mueller, President and CEO, Canada Green Building Council says, “Buildings have a tremendous environmental impact. This landmark facility is in an elite group of a dozen existing buildings to be converted to LEED Platinum in Canada. The Canadian Green Building Council applauds the leadership of the Province of Ontario in being one of the first governments in Canada to increase the performance of an existing building under the LEED for Existing Buildings program."

In Robinson Place, the IO has achieved a model for others to follow as building owners and managers across Canada move to reduce the environmental footprint of their building portfolio.

Environmental accountability for all Canadians

The Government of Canada is committed to improving the environmental performance of its own operations. In 2008, the Government of Canada established the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy to ensure that environmental decision-making within the federal government was more transparent and accountable to all Canadians.

Photo of federal government building

The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy's Theme IV, Shrinking the Environmental Footprint - Beginning with Government, provides a series of guidelines to help departments and agencies implement and report progress on the Greening Government Operations targets. The strategy establishes a process of continuous assessment, reporting and improvement that will lessen the environmental impact of federal buildings.

The Strategy's Goal 8: Greening Government Operations identifies the specific targets, milestones, sustainable development principles and implementation strategies that departments will follow to maintain, upgrade, buy, build, lease and report on facilities. Departmental sustainable development strategies will include global best practices and integrate life-cycle costing, promote sustainable construction materials, factor in greenhouse gas emissions and establish benchmarks for water, construction, renovation and demolition waste management.

The national target for Canada's more than 40,000 federal buildings is to reduce emissions by 17 percent from the 2005 levels by 2020. The Federal Buildings Initiative has the tools necessary to help other federal organizations not only meet these targets but exceed them.

For additional information, visit the Office of Greening Government Operation's page, which include best practices and resources. You can also e-mail fbi@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca for more information.

Specialized energy management training ensures accurate energy benchmarking data

Algonquin College is planning to launch a one-year Energy Management Graduate Certificate program in the near future.  The announcement is timely, as other institutions are offering similar programs, such as the Certificate of Proficiency in Benchmarking offered at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). The aim of both programs is to better equip energy managers to track consumption, monitor energy expenditures and identify saving opportunities.

Classroom image

The planned Algonquin program will train energy management professionals to offer advice on energy benchmarking, energy use reduction, energy strategy development and energy consumption management to maximize energy savings. The program is currently being developed by a joint education-ministry-industry committee.

NJIT launched its national online certificate program for building energy and water benchmarking professionals to address the need for more accurate energy data. An increasing number of U.S. jurisdictions now require benchmarking of public- and private-sector properties. This makes the accuracy of the benchmarking data important as it becomes more transparent and public. NJIT’s Certificate of Proficiency in Benchmarking aims to be a national standard for benchmarking professionals to ensure the quality of self-reported benchmarking data.

Training the professionals who benchmark properties will result in higher quality data and, therefore, more accurate benchmarking leading to directed energy savings strategies and projects. The enhanced training and accountability afforded by programs such as those offered by NJIT and planned by Algonquin College have the potential to raise the bar for data quality assurance, especially in jurisdictions with mandatory benchmarking and transparency.

Given that buildings waste, on average, 30 percent of the energy they consume due to inefficiencies, opportunities abound to use energy more efficiently. Benchmarking is a natural first step in identifying these inefficiencies. Benchmarking helps owners and managers understand how their building’s performance compares to other similar buildings using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool. The tool provides a 1-100 energy performance score to inform building owners and managers about their building’s performance relative to others in the marketplace.

Given the role of benchmarking in catalyzing improvements in building energy performance, benchmarking and transparency have the potential to transform operations in the buildings sector. Programs such as NJIT’s Certificate of Proficiency in Benchmarking and Algonquin College’s planned energy management certificate can play an important role in making energy data transparent, accessible, and reliable.

Additionally, as inaccuracies in energy benchmarking data are common due to unintentional errors, difficulty in obtaining correct information, and a general lack of familiarity with the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool, NRCan will soon release an Energy Management Training Primer.

To learn more about ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager visit nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/buildings/energy-benchmarking/whypm/3729.

Net-zero buildings are achievable

Green lightbulb image

The world’s most northerly commercial building to achieve net zero status is almost ready for occupancy. Not only is the City of Edmonton’s Mosaic Centre for Conscious Community and Commerce the city’s first designated LEED platinum structure and Canada’s first triple bottom line commercial building but it was also built under-budget and ahead of schedule.

The innovative, 2,787-square-metre building features a 213-kilowatt (kW) solar energy system with photovoltaic panels covering much of the roof. Once completed, the Mosaic Centre will have LED lighting designed with a time-clock/daylight controller to meet minimum light levels. A geo-exchange system will draw heat in winter and coolant in summer thanks to a 32-bore-hole geothermal system that reduces the size of the system by 40 kW, saving about $150,000 in annual heating costs.

To promote other net zero construction, the designers and builders have made the contract, calculations and drawings publicly available. They also say that the Mosaic Centre is proof that complex, sustainable buildings can be built in a timely fashion, within budget and with collaboration between all parties involved.

The centre was also designed with the social environment in mind. For example, collision spaces, or, the places where building residents meet and interact, abound in the design. Moreover, sustainable behaviour will be promoted by making natural light penetrate deeply into the building and having user-friendly windows to avoid air-conditioner use.

Project architect Vedran Skopac says that the team began the project by using the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) model. This model is based on collaboration even during the early stages of design, invests in training and encourages all stakeholders to be leaders by using their talents and insights throughout the different stages for the best results. "It goes all the way down to the end of the line of the tradesmen," Skopac says.

For more information on net-zero buildings, visit www.energymanagertoday.com/net-zero-energy-facilities-steps-achieving-goals-0107150/.

Calendar of events and other important dates

The following list highlights the Dollars to $ense Energy Management workshops:

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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