Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency – Volume 3, Issue 1

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Volume 3, Issue 1

Make energy efficiency your goal in 2016

A new year brings new resolutions and an opportunity to review or revise plans for energy efficiency strategies. There are many benefits of implementing energy efficiency measures and policies, and they go beyond immediate and direct economic gains. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Capturing the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency executive summary outlines a number of benefits that may be difficult to link directly to energy efficiency, but that can be significant. These include job creation, increased health and well-being, and improved productivity. Read on to learn about some of the low-cost strategies your organization can use to start taking advantage of these potential benefits.

Image of a green plug

The best way to get started is to benchmark your energy use. NRCan’s web pages Why ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager? and Benefits of energy benchmarking outline the benefits of benchmarking and provide links to tools to help you plan your energy improvements. Benchmarking also provides the data to make the business case and get buy-in for energy efficiency improvements from decision makers.

In a recent webinar hosted by The Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, experts discussed a number of no or low-cost strategies for energy efficiency in public buildings. Their recommendations included:

  • Avoid deferring required repair or maintenance, as this can lead to high costs in the long term.
  • Consider using life-cycle cost analysis, which considers not only the upfront costs of a piece of equipment, but also the costs to maintain it.
  • Make sure you thoroughly understand your utility bills, including both the terminology and information on energy consumption.
  • Conduct regular energy audits to help identify areas for improvement and develop an energy management plan. Check with your utility to see if they offer any support for audits.
  • Invest in building staff training and develop staff behaviour modification initiatives.
  • Establish an energy team or identify an energy champion to keep the momentum going. Eliminate or reduce phantom loads by installing a Smart Strip, which shuts down plugs that are not in use.
  • Install VendingMisers or other similar devices, which put vending machines into sleep mode when not in use.
  • Implement sustainable procurement and purchasing policies.
  • Consider renewable sources of energy.

Make energy efficiency your goal for 2016 and beyond. As the IEA points out: energy efficiency is no longer the “hidden fuel,” but is now the “first fuel,” as avoided energy use becomes more important than energy demand met by conventional fuels. The IEA’s World Energy Investment Outlook Special Report predicts a significant increase in worldwide investment in energy efficiency and in renewable energy sources between now and 2035.

The report also suggests that consistent and credible policies, as well as innovative financing approaches, will facilitate a move to a low-carbon energy system. Taking a multiple benefits approach to energy efficiency will also contribute to this move.

Follow the links below for the full webinar text, IEA executive summary and report:

Benchmarking demo with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager: A New Dollars to $ense Energy Management workshop component

Image of Dollars to Sense workshop blackboard

Natural Resources Canada is pleased to present a new component to its Dollars to $ense Energy Management workshops for commercial and institutional buildings: (D2$) ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Demo.

  • Do you need to understand the basics of energy benchmarking?
  • Do you need to know how to create an account in Portfolio Manager?
  • Or maybe you want to take a step beyond these basics and learn about using the energy data that benchmarking provides in order to develop a solid business case. Whatever your needs are, this new module can help you get one step closer to establishing a sound energy management culture in your organization.

This session will cover the basics of energy benchmarking – what it is and why it’s valuable – and then move on to a demonstration of Portfolio Manager, complete with exercises to help you familiarize yourself with the tool. By the end of the workshop, you’ll have created your free online Portfolio Manager account, and know how to enter a building, its meters and its energy consumption, as well as how to run a report on your portfolio and build a compelling business case for energy benchmarking. You can implement these components on their own, or include whichever ones suit your organization’s needs as a part of one of the existing sector-specific workshops.

If you’re new to Portfolio Manager and not sure how to begin, this workshop will get you started on the right foot. If you are already familiar with Portfolio Manager and would like to know about how Portfolio Manager can be used as a monitoring and tracking tool, or if you would like to learn how to use energy benchmarking to help create the business case for energy improvements or retrofits, this workshop component can assist you.

Remember: you cannot manage what you don’t measure, so join the energy benchmarking movement today!

To set up a workshop and get your team ready to benchmark, contact us at info.services@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca, or visit our website for more information.

Edmonton publishes its ambitious Community Energy Transition Strategy

Photo of the city of Edmonton

Published in August 2015, Edmonton’s Community Energy Transition Strategy marks another step in the city’s goal of becoming one of Canada’s most energy sustainable cities. The strategy outlines, in detail, the city’s plan to transition to a low-carbon future in order to address energy challenges faced by the city. The document provides twelve courses of action and an eight-year action plan, divided into four-year steps, starting in 2017.

The strategy takes the city’s sustainability goals and the energy efficiency measures it has implemented to date much further by ensuring the sustainable use of energy, creating a resilient energy system, and steering the city toward carbon neutrality. The strategy is far-reaching in its efforts to achieve these goals. It includes energy efficiency in all buildings and industrial processes, a shift to active and public transportation as preferred modes of transport, and the use of greener, local energy sources and district energy systems. By implementing its ambitious action plan, Edmonton aims to reduce the city’s exposure to various risks associated with the continued use of fossil fuels.

This document outlines the actions that will reduce Edmonton’s GHG emissions to around 35 percent below 2005 levels. The first of seven opportunity areas in the strategy focusses on energy use in buildings, since approximately 40 percent of the city’s energy consumption and GHG emissions come from buildings. Recommendations here include implementing and maintaining programs that promote energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy uptake in buildings.

As part of the process, the city modelled ten possible community-scale programs. Eight of the programs relate to higher energy efficiency performance and conservation, and renewable energy uptake in all types of buildings. These initiatives include the expansion of the city’s Green Building Recognition Program, the establishment of a Green Construction Program for new large buildings, and the implementation of a voluntary program for publicly reporting/disclosing the energy consumption and GHG emissions of the city’s largest buildings. The strategy also recommends assessing ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager as a tool for reporting energy consumption and emissions data.

Significant public input informed Edmonton’s Community Energy Transition Strategy through a citizens’ panel. In late 2012, 56 Edmontonians from diverse backgrounds formed the Citizens’ Panel on Edmonton’s Energy and Climate Challenges with the goal of developing recommendations on how Edmonton could respond to the risks posed by climate change and reliance on fossil fuels. The panelists worked on an Energy Transition discussion paper to make recommendations on key actions and policy levers that would support an energy transition. The panel submitted a final recommendations report to Edmonton’s administration and council on April 15, 2013, so that council could consider the recommendations in the development of the city’s Energy Transition plan.

The panel was able to review and provide input on drafts of the Community Energy Transition Strategy and received regular updates from the city on the Energy Transition Implementation Plan and the impact of the panel report. Panelists say that their recommendations were incorporated into the strategy, and the city plans to seek other opportunities to apply the panel’s suggestions.

Edmonton’s Community Energy Transition Strategy promotes voluntary engagement in the courses of action that it outlines to achieve a low-carbon future. Energy management best practices and energy benchmarking with tools such as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (All about ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager) can help achieve this goal.

For the full sources that informed this article, please follow the links below:

The city’s full strategy : www.edmonton.ca/city_government/documents/EnergyTransitionStrategy.pdfwww.edmonton.ca/city_government/environmental_stewardship/energy-climate-change.aspx and the citizens’ panel on the city’s strategy: www.edmonton.ca/city_government/news/2013/citizens-panel-report-recommends-city-take-bold-action-for-edmontons-environment.aspx.

Coming soon – ENERGY STAR Score for Senior Care Communities and Residential Care Facilities in Canada

Get ready now!

If your facility is eligible, you can enter the required data now to see your score as soon as it’s released. In addition to your basic tombstone data, you will need to enter:

  • licensed bed capacity
  • number of workers on the main shift
  • percent of your building that is cooled

Starting next month, senior care communities and residential care facilities in Canada will be eligible for a 1-100 ENERGY STAR performance score. The score will apply to facilities that provide permanent rehabilitative and/or ongoing skilled nursing care to patients or residents in need of assistance with the activities of daily living. Residential care facilities include nursing homes and residential developmental handicap, mental health and substance abuse facilities.

Contact us at info.services@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca for more information. Training will be available in March 2016 to support the release of this new 1-100 ENERGY STAR performance score.

New Energy Benchmarking Videos now available!

Image of Energy Star Portfolio Manager banner

Do you want to learn what experts in the commercial/institutional building and municipal sectors are saying about energy benchmarking with ENERGYSTAR Portfolio Manager?

Two new videos are now available on NRCan’s website. These videos are great testimonials about the importance and benefits of energy benchmarking. Learn more by visiting our web page. If you would like to share your experience with energy benchmarking, please contact us.

Calendar of events and other important dates

Dollars to $ense Energy Management Workshops

CAN-QUEST Energy Modeling Training

  • February 23 and 24, 2015 – Calgary, AB
  • This is a two day training overview program of CAN-QUEST which is a Canadian adaptation of eQUEST, the popular building energy simulation software from the US. CAN-QUEST can be used to demonstrate performance path compliance with the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2011.
    • Click HERE to see the Building Energy Modelling in CAN-QUEST course description.
    • Register now

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 16,000 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 focuses on energy efficiency in industrial facilities, Heads Up CIPEC.

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