Transforming the built environment

As Canada's economy grows, so too does our built environment. And as we continue to shift toward a knowledge-based and service-oriented economy, the share of the commercial and institutional buildings will follow.

It comes as no surprise that the Government is looking to commercial and institutional buildings to lead national energy efficiency efforts. In fact, statistics show that between 1990 and 2010, growth in the commercial buildings sector (22 percent) was second only to growth in the transportation sector (38 percent). But despite this growth - three times that of the residential sector - the buildings sector used 22 percent less energy than the residentialFootnote 1.

In 2010, the Canadian commercial/institutional buildings sector used approximately 1057 petajoules of energy, accounting for about 12 percent of Canada's secondary energy use. In most commercial buildings, the majority of that energy is used for lighting, heating and cooling, motors for large equipment such as elevators, and water heatingFootnote 2.

The following chart depicts the energy use breakdown of a typical commercial building.

Commercial Sector Energy Use

Pie chart of Commercial Sector Energy Use

Text version: Pie chart description
Commercial Sector Energy Use
Sector Energy use
Auxiliary equipment 17%
Auxiliary motors 8%
Lighting 11%
Space cooling 6%
Space heating 49%
Street lighting 1%
Water heating 8%

Source: Energy Use Data Handbook Tables:Commercial/Institutional Secondary Energy Use by End-Use, Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada

Source: Energy Use Data Handbook Tables: Commercial/Institutional Secondary Energy Use by End-Use, Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada

Improving the energy performance in existing buildings

Access to Energy benchmarking's Access pageExisting buildings have significant potential for cost-effective energy reductions. By investing in energy efficiency initiatives and adopting energy management best practices, you can ensure the comfort of your building's occupants, enhance the reputation of your organization, and save on your utility bills.

We can help

The Office of Energy Efficiency has programs, tools and other resources you need to benchmark your energy performance, recommission your building, and train your staff to achieve your energy - and cost - saving goals.