What is data exchange?
What are web services?
Web services are pieces of software that allow two electronic devices to send and receive information to each other over the web using Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Unlike traditional software, web services do not offer a graphical user interface. Instead, they facilitate machine-to-machine communications that allow organizations to share mutually relevant business data and processes.
Data exchange via ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager web services is a way for a utility or service provider’s database to interact directly with Portfolio Manager’s database, eliminating the need to manually enter data into the tool. For individuals or small organizations with only a few buildings, data exchange means they don’t have to remember to update data themselves, or worry that their metrics will be off because they forgot a month and have misplaced that bill. And for large organizations that manage vast portfolios of buildings, data exchange is even more valuable, because without it, the amount of time required to enter data for all their buildings would be prohibitively high.
Natural Resources Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offer a free, flexible application programming interface (API) designed to help service providers build web services that fit their unique needs. These may be as simple as basic calls to send energy use data to Portfolio Manager to automatically update customers’ meter data, or a comprehensive system fully integrated into an app that customers can use to monitor their energy use, view their ENERGY STAR scores or track progress toward energy goals on their mobile devices.
Data exchange for service providers
Why offer a service to exchange data with Portfolio Manager?
Why would you, as a utility, energy service provider or utility bill aggregator, offer services to exchange data with Portfolio Manager as part of your service offerings to your clients? There are a number of compelling reasons. With web services, you can:
- Add value to your service offerings: Better serve your clients' needs and differentiate yourself from your competition by making it easier for your clients to input building energy data into Portfolio Manager.
- Access new sources of market intelligence: This service will provide you with additional business intelligence that you can use to develop and target demand-side management and incentive programs.
- Meet demand-side management goals: Identifying poor energy performers will help you to develop targeted conservation initiatives and help customers evaluate energy-saving options.
- Improve customer relations: Helping customers save time, energy and money, and ensuring that they stay ahead of the curve as more jurisdictions move toward mandatory benchmarking and disclosure policies will boost customer satisfaction.
- Gain recognition as an innovator: Your organization can gain recognition as an industry leader by being among the first to offer this service in Canada.
Get started with Portfolio Manager web services
Natural Resources Canada is working with a number of stakeholders to support the adoption of Portfolio Manager web services in Canada. In collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, we have produced a number of guides and resources to help you build the web services that will enable you to offer data exchange with Portfolio Manager.
- Introduction to Exchanging Data [PDF – 257 KB]
- Testing Web Services [PDF – 453 KB]
- Connection and Sharing [PDF – 1.4 MB]
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Exchanging Data: Resources to Help You Get Started
- Service Providers That Exchange Data with Portfolio Manager via Web Services
If you have any questions, or to let us know that you are offering web services, please contact us:
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
- call 1-877-360-5500
Data exchange for customers
Does my service provider offer data exchange?
Portfolio Manager web services are still fairly new to Canada, having been introduced in 2013. However, some utilities and other service providers do offer web services to exchange data with Portfolio Manager, and others are in the process of developing these services. Check back here for an updated list of companies that provide this service, or contact your utility directly to find out if they are planning to offer data exchange.
In the meantime, visit our page on Getting started with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for tips on getting your benchmarking efforts up and running.
Service providers that offer data exchange
Contact these providers directly for more information.