Best practices for new buildings

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The best time to think about energy management best practices is at the beginning - at the design phase. Initial inefficiencies can last for decades, while being energy efficient from the get-go is not only more effective, but will be less expensive in the long run.


Across the world, in both developed and developing countries, energy codes have been identified as the single best way to ensure buildings are energy efficient. This is because codes are developed in a consultative process between governments, industry and professional experts and because they apply to everyone.

What happens when you invest in energy efficiency from the beginning?

A Grander View of the Future: A Case Study of Enermodal Engineering's New Building [PDF - 1.6MB]

Enermodal Engineering's headquarters, completed in 2009, is one of Canada's most energy-efficient buildings, using less than 20 percent of the energy used by the average Canadian building.


Best practices

Aim high when designing a new building. Optimizing your energy use today is planning for your building's future, and is just a smart design practice.

Below you will find a list of energy management design practices with new construction in mind:

  1. Invest in energy efficiency early in your building's life cycle. The design and planning stage of the building life cycle is where you can seize the opportunity to make your building the most efficient. Despite upfront costs, investing in energy efficiency from the start will be the least costly option over the long term.
  2. As a best practice, strive for the highest standards of excellence when designing your building. Embrace the "2030 Challenge". Consider building to Canada Green Building Council's sustainable building standards and obtaining Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. As a minimum, design your building to be compliant with the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2011.

    The "2030 Challenge", endorsed by Architecture Canada, calls on design professionals to become actively engaged in reducing fossil fuel use in building construction and operation. The 2030 Challenge proposes targets for the energy consumption of new buildings according to the following schedule:

    • Immediately, all new buildings shall be designed to consume 60 percent less fossil fuel energy than buildings of that type in the region
    • 70 percent less by 2015
    • 80 percent less by 2020
    • 90 percent less in 2025
    • carbon neutral by 2030.

    For more information, visit the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada's web site.

  3. Commit to implementing an integrated design process. Read Your integrated design team.
  4. Include commissioning as a part of your overall construction plan. Proper commissioning will ensure that all systems function as planned. Having your commissioning agent involved from the design phase through construction will facilitate this process.
  5. Once your building is up and running, aim for an ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager rating of 75 or higher, which indicates top building energy performance.

Don't forget to celebrate your success. Take pride in your energy efficiency achievements - boast about them to make sure that your building occupants and customers know what you've accomplished.

For more information, visit our Energy management best practices section.

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