Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency - Volume 6, Issue 1

Volume 6, Issue 1

ENERGY STAR Certification for Buildings Celebrates its First Year!

It's been a year since Natural Resources Canada launched ENERGY STAR® certification for buildings and what a year it has been!

Leading the way was the commercial sector. Commercial buildings such as Scotia Plaza (Canada's second largest office building) in Toronto, the mixed use World Exchange Plaza in Ottawa, and several SunLife buildings in Waterloo are now proudly displaying the ENERGY STAR® label for 2018.

In all, 119 buildings from all eligible building types were certified in the first year, including ice rinks, municipal and heritage buildings, town halls such as Mississauga's City Hall, medical facilities such as Saint John Regional Hospital, and schools.

Important Updates!

As part of NRCan’s ongoing efforts to ensure energy performance data comparability for building types, an updated ENERGY STAR® score model has now been released for K-12 schools and warehouses.

The updated score provides a better comparability of the energy performance of your K-12 School or Warehouse building to the current national building stock.

Castlebrooke Secondary School was one of the first schools to be ENERGY STAR® certified for 2018. As one of 200+ schools in the Peel District School Board, Castlebrooke is part of the Board's conservation and demand management program that sets out targets and strategies to reduce energy. Data for all of the Board's buildings have now been included in the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager benchmarking software, and will be used to help certify new schools in 2019 and beyond.

This year, Natural Resources Canada also teamed up with Arena Guide, the largest directory of ice rinks across Canada, to produce a searchable map of more than 3,000 rinks. People can search for their closest rink, see a weather forecast for the area, and find alternative transportation options to the arena, such as by bike, public transit, or on foot. Due to the high-energy demands of creating and maintaining the ice surfaces of these kinds of buildings, Arena Guide's Go Green initiative will also help rink operators reduce their carbon footprint.

For more information about ENERGY STAR® certification for your building, please visit our website, or contact us at: nrcan.energystarcertificationbuildings.rncan@canada.ca.

Humber College: Integrated Planning for Breakthrough Energy Performance

Named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers three years in a row by the Canada's Top 100 Employers Project, Humber College has earned their title through their commitment to sustainability and the environment.

In support of Canada’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), Humber developed an Integrated Energy Master Plan (IEMP) in 2015 in order to considerably reduce the College’s use of energy, fossil fuels and water over the next two decades. This strategic plan has ambitious goals, which aim to reduce energy and water consumption by 50%, while reducing carbon emissions by at least 30%, all by 2034. Their carbon emissions goal is especially lofty as it is tracked against absolute emissions for a college that is planning significant growth. The environment feels the negative impact of every ton of added carbon; for this reason, Humber does not normalize this goal against square footage or students.

The IEMP represents a comprehensive energy plan that addresses traditional energy efficiency measures in existing buildings such as lighting, metering, controls, HVAC upgrades and a vigorous retrocommissioning program. However, to achieve true breakthrough performance that could accomplish the ambitious goals, Humber had to stretch further. As a result, the plan focuses on two large sources of energy use and GHG emissions: heating and building envelopes.

The main campus central steam system is currently being studied to see how it can be converted to a low temperature hot water system. Not only would a low temperature hot water network improve the efficiency of the system, it opens the door to introducing several low-carbon, energy efficient heating sources – for example, heat pumps.

Similarly, there is a major focus on improving the performance of existing building envelopes. It is widely recognized that much of the existing building stock in Canada has been designed with envelopes that have poor thermal performance which significantly affect energy use and GHG emissions. However, envelopes are often overlooked, as renovations to the envelope are generally considered too costly to undertake. To achieve the goals set out in the IEMP, it was clear the building envelopes could not be ignored. Building envelope improvements have several spinoff benefits for Humber such as reducing deferred maintenance, improving thermal comfort for occupants, and lowering loads and supply temperatures required from the future hot water district heating network.

Humber College, Centre for Technology Innovation

Humber College, Centre for Technology Innovation

Building N represents one example of how the plan is taking shape. This 100,000 ft², three-story building houses applied technology classrooms. A renewal project has fully replaced the building envelope with an ultra-high performance skin; including triple glazing, R30 effective walls, engineered transitions for superior air control, and many other enhancements. The ventilation system has been fitted with enthalpy energy recovery wheels, to recover heat and humidity from exhaust air – improving the HVAC system efficiency by pre-treating intake air with recovered energy. A revamped Building Automation System helps manage the building system for optimized performance and system integration. Occupancy sensors are installed in all spaces to manage lighting, based on actual occupancy while the ventilation system is operated by CO2 sensors, providing demand supply ventilation when spaces are occupied. All of this results in an expected 30% reduction in energy use and 43% reduction in GHG emissions.

Similar renewal work is under way for Building NX, which Humber hopes will be the first existing building retrofit in Canada to achieve the Canada Green Building Council’s Zero Carbon Building – Design Certification and places the project on track to be Canada’s first institutional Passive House retrofit certification. In addition, phase one of their 93,000 ft² net-zero energy Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation (BCTI) just opened its doors in April.

The N building project student team.

The N building project student team.

Humber College truly believes that incorporating the concepts of sustainability into learning can help shape the future – so much so that the IEMP specifically attempts to find linkages with Humber’s academic curriculum. Humber believes that it is critical for today’s students, the leaders of tomorrow, to understand how sustainability relates to their lives and future careers. For the N building project, a multi-disciplinary student team covering various programs was created and tasked with designing the project in parallel. Working towards creating various deliverables, the student team met regularly with the architecture and engineering professionals involved on the project to get feedback and garner insights. Having the students participate in this on-campus project provides them with an opportunity to interact with industry professionals. Their experiences in their multi-disciplinary team is not only invaluable, but will benefit them in their future careers.

That is one of the key messages from Humber’s Energy Efficiency Manager, Aman Hehar: “The key to any successful long-term energy plan is to figure out a way to have it enhance the organizations core business at the same time – in Humber’s case, that is education.”

Overall, this is an impressive start to Humber’s bold 2034 plan. Yet, they continue to look for ideas to demonstrate leadership in sustainability. While the Humber community continues to look for new ways to realize their goals, there is no doubt that many organizations will be looking to Humber College and their endeavours for inspiration on how to achieve great energy efficiency.

See where you building stands efficiency–wise by benchmarking your energy usage with ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager.

NRCan hosts the UN’s Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction Annual Assembly

GlobalABC members.

GlobalABC members gathered in Ottawa in February to map out strategies for a low-carbon buildings and construction sector.

The way we construct, use, and ultimately retire and replace our built environment—our homes, schools, offices, factories, and hospitals—contributes about 40 per cent of energy-related GHG emissions globally.

By 2050, global building floor area is expected to double. If we don't act now to reduce energy demand and make our buildings more efficient, carbon emissions and the global climate will continue to increase.

The United Nations' Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC) aims to change that. With 110 members from 84 non-state organizations and 26 countries (including Canada), GlobalABC works to scale up zero-emission, efficient, and resilient buildings. The GlobalABC also builds capacity and partnerships within the building and construction industries to make those transformative changes.

The Honourable Amerjeet Sohi, Minister NRCan, with Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of CaGBC.

The Honourable Amerjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources, with Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). Minister Sohi highlighted Canada's leadership and activities in the building sector at a joint event: the CaGBC’s Accelerating to Zero Summit, and the GlobalABC’s second annual General Assembly.

This past February in Ottawa, Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency proudly hosted about 50 building stakeholders from around the world for the GlobalABC's second annual General Assembly. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange information, review progress of activities, and set the work plan for 2019.

Katie Hicks, Senior Policy Analyst with the OEE explains that the GlobalABC was launched during the COP21 negotiations in Paris in late 2015, so is still a fairly new organization.

"The Assembly was about networking and getting the partners together face to face to make those organizational links," says Hicks. "We talked a lot about leveraging both the United Nations’ brand and our extensive membership."

Membership is diverse, with some further along the energy efficiency scale than others. To help take stock, the GlobalABC recently released its latest Global Status Report, which highlights progress in the buildings and construction sector around the world.

The GlobalABC's work closely aligns with Natural Resources Canada's energy efficiency efforts in the buildings sector and the government's focus on climate change action. Canada has long been a leader in energy efficiency for buildings—as demonstrated through Build Smart – Canada's Buildings Strategy—and brings that history and expertise to the table.

Funding opportunities

NRCan provides financial assistance to support energy efficiency projects in Canada’s buildings sector to meet commitments under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. The following programs are currently accepting proposals.

NRCan provides financial assistance to support energy labelling and disclosure projects for the commercial and institutional buildings sectors. NRCan’s priority is to support provinces, territories, and municipalities implementing labelling and disclosure and other stakeholders within those jurisdictions.

Remarkable opportunities are now available for organizations looking to implement ISO 50001 in their commercial and institutional buildings, or industrial facilities. NRCan provides cost-shared financial assistance of up to 50% of eligible costs, to a maximum of $40,000 per building or facility. Moreover, this financial assistance can be combined with other funding sources where available.

Email nrcan.buildings-batiments.rncan@canada.ca with your questions or to request a project proposal template.

NRCan assesses project proposals prior to any funding approval. Project costs cannot be incurred prior to signing an agreement. The decision to approve any proposal is at the sole discretion of NRCan.

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.

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