Spring 2016 - ENERGY STAR Newsletter


ENERGY STAR® News/Nouvelles

In this issue…

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Message from ENERGY STAR Canada

The “inchworm” effect: how regulation plus labelling changes markets

Why do governments administer labelling programs such as ENERGY STAR?  There are a few obvious reasons that most of us can name off the top of our heads:

  • efficiency means using less energy, and thus lower energy costs to consumers and business
  • using less energy usually goes hand in hand with reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • if enough energy use is avoided, utilities can delay or cancel new generation facilities

That is already a compelling list, but another equally important reason—and one of particular interest to us here at Natural Resources Canada—is that energy efficiency promotes innovation, which leads to accelerated technology development.

Here’s how energy efficiency programs work:  

  • Regulations that set minimum energy performance standards so that the products that consume the most energy are removed from the market. These standards are set when it’s clear that more efficient products are readily available at an affordable cost. 
  • Comparative labels (such as the EnerGuide label) inform consumers how much energy a product uses among similar ones in their class, enabling them to make informed decisions. 
  • Binary labels (such as the ENERGY STAR label) designate top performers to make it easy to identify and choose high efficiency products. Efficiency levels for these products are sometimes “stretch” targets, and levels are set so that only a proportion of products can meet them.
The curve represents market take-up: minimum standards remove inefficient products from the market, while labels pull consumers toward high efficiency ones

In the graph above, the curve representing market take-up acts like a inchworm: minimum standards remove inefficient products from the market, while labels pull consumers toward high efficiency ones.  Once those become the norm, programs like ENERGY STAR demand even higher efficiency levels from manufacturers, requiring them to innovate to meet those stretch targets and pull consumers towards them.  Minimum standards can then be set at a higher level, removing the next swath of inefficient products from the market.  And so the inchworm continues to move, standard by standard, innovation by innovation. 

And there you have it – energy efficiency programs demystified.  You’re welcome. ;)

Dianna Miller

Chief, ENERGY STAR Initiative in Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first state visit with U.S. President Barack Obama in March, 2016.
A commitment to align ENERGY STAR program elements and energy efficiency standards between Canada and the United States was announced during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first state visit with U.S. President Barack Obama in March, 2016.

Energy efficiency news

Energy efficiency big budget item for government

Budget 2016, announced March 22, provides $128.8 million over five years to Natural Resources Canada, starting in 2016-17, to deliver energy efficiency policies and programs, and maintain clean energy capacity.

“Energy efficiency and clean energy policies increase the uptake of clean technologies, reduce the environmental impact of energy use and can provide cost savings for Canadians,” reads the document. “These measures are essential for the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

These resources will support improved energy efficiency standards and codes for products, buildings, industry and vehicles.


Energy Summit 2016 on deck: “From Ideas to Action”

Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC), in partnership with Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation (CIPEC)  is bringing together the country's leading energy subject-matter-experts, industry leaders and energy efficiency suppliers to share best practices and the latest innovations in industrial energy efficiency in Niagara Falls, Ontario, May 17-18, 2016.

Energy Summit 2016 logo

Energy Summit 2016 sets out to build the case for 'efficiency meets profitability', providing the latest resources, tools and information essential for Canadian businesses to maximize growth and improve profits, while reducing their environmental impact.


Lighting manufacturers, you are wanted!

The 2016 Lighting for Tomorrow  Competition is accepting entries until May 9, 2016. This year competition is seeking LED and OLED fixtures, LED replacement lamps, LED retrofit kits, and lighting control devices.

Lighting for Tomorrow logo

The Lighting for Tomorrow;competition provides manufacturers with the opportunity to pull the industry forward by introducing high quality and innovative designs, contribute to the greater energy efficiency movement, and gain exposure for their brands and products among industry leaders and consumers alike. In particular, the exceptional products identified by the judging panel are heavily promoted by Lighting for Tomorrow for a full calendar year.

Since its inception, Lighting for Tomorrow has encouraged manufacturers to develop well designed, energy-efficient lighting products with a specific goal of increasing the availability and market adoption of ENERGY STAR certified residential lighting products


Canadian energy rating for windows works well in northern U.S.

A recent study commissioned by NRCan found that the Canadian Energy Rating (ER) system works just as well in the northern United States as in Canada to rank the energy performance of windows and doors. ER has been part of the Canadian Window and Door Standard (CSA A440.2) since the early 1990s and became part of the National Building Code in 2010. The current ER formula was developed mainly for residential products installed in a heating-dominated climate like Canada’s.

The study looked at how well ER did against using just U-factor (the rate of heat transfer) or Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) in the U.S. ENERGY STAR northern and north-central climate zones. It found that higher ER values generally reduce overall total annual energy consumption (heating and cooling) and that ER ratings rank models more consistently for their energy efficiency than using U-factor.

This finding is consistent with a more comprehensive review done on ER in 2013 for the climate in Canada. That study also found that using ER is more beneficial in the northern zone compared to the north-central zone where more indoor cooling is needed.

The more recent study is part of the on-going effort to harmonize with ENERGY STAR in the U.S. For windows and doors, the goal is to have one ENERGY STAR specification for both the U.S. and Canada.


Special Feature

ENERGY STAR, a growing part of Canadian health care landscape

Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care Kent Waddington, Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care

By Kent Waddington, DBA, BA, MA

Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care

Health care organizations across Canada are demonstrating sound community leadership in addressing climate change by voluntarily embracing best-in-class energy-efficient ENERGY STAR certified products. In so doing, they are lowering their energy bills, reducing GHG emissions, and returning more scarce funding dollars to the actual delivery of patient care.

Now, with over 70 different certified product types available, organizations can easily find certified products to meet their needs in a variety of locations including patient and client rooms, office spaces, kitchens, cafeterias, kitchenettes, boardrooms, laundries, and common areas such as waiting rooms.

Numerous health care organizations have also joined the over 2,000-member strong ENERGY STAR Participant network, formally pledging their support to promoting energy efficiency through ENERGY STAR.

UHN logo

Among health care participants on the ENERGY STAR journey is Toronto's University Health Network (UHN). With more than 11,000 staff members on nine major campuses, UHN has taken action to educate and encourage staff to embrace sound energy-conservation thinking both at work and at home through a comprehensive and integrated energy management program branded Operation TLC-Care to Conserve. The energy awareness component of the TLC program encourages staff to practice good energy efficiency habits but also challenges them to look for high efficiency products with the ENERGY STAR symbol when making purchases for their department or their home.

Environmental Team, Toronto’s University Health Network
Environmental Team, Toronto’s University Health Network, from left: Edward Rubinstein, Chad Berndt, Songyang Hu, Lisa Vanlint, Adeline Cohen, Michael Kurz.

According to Ed Rubinstein, UHN's Director, Environmental Compliance, Energy and Sustainability, "Through various methods, including our "Talkin' Trash" blog and other awareness initiatives, we encourage staff to take simple steps such as turning off lights and unnecessary equipment but we also promote the energy savings and GHG reductions of ENERGY STAR certified items whether they are making purchases for the hospital or their own homes. Results confirm that increased awareness leads to more favourable green purchasing habits and reduced use of energy. ENERGY STAR is also integrated in our Green Procurement Policy as are other third-party eco-labeling initiatives to capture even wider ecological benefits."

Vancouver Island health authority logo

On Canada's west coast, Island Health, which serves more than 765,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Georgia Strait, and the many mainland communities north of Powell River and south of Rivers Inlet, has made ENERGY STAR an integral component of its energy management strategy which extends to promoting ENERGY STAR benefits to its 18,000 employees through the employee Green Website.

Energy Specialist Claudette Poirier is proud of Island Health's many accomplishments in reducing energy consumption. "Our Energy Team works closely with Facilities, Maintenance and Operations (FMO) to choose high efficiency products whenever possible such as ENERGY STAR LED certified light bulbs, commercial dishwashers and other equipment. Since 2007/08, our energy per square metre has declined by 8.8 percent, thanks in part to the energy conservation characteristics of our ENERGY STAR purchases." 

Island Health promotes ENERGY STAR to their procurement officers and to anyone making a purchasing decision on behalf of the organization, encouraging them to choose the most energy-efficient item possible, whether it's a refrigerator for a lunchroom, light bulbs or a printer.

Energy Team, Vancouver Island Health Authority
Energy Team, Vancouver Island Health Authority, from left: Albert Boulet, Deanna Fourt (Director), Joe Ciarniello, Kevin Ramlu, Bjorn Richt and Claudette Poirier. (Absent: Wendy Furlan-Morgan.)

The ENERGY STAR symbol identifies equipment meeting national efficiency standards, making purchasing decisions easier," says Poirier. "Although the initial purchase price may cost a little more, the electrical cost savings multiplied by the years of use means we save money and reduce our GHG reductions over the service life of the item."

Energy efficient lighting is de rigueur at Island Health where they work closely with their electricians, who are well versed in the energy efficiency benefits of ENERGY STAR lighting products, and BC Hydro, also an ENERGY STAR Participant, to ensure maximum energy savings and GHG reductions are achieved.

Claudette Poirier, Vancouver Island Health Authority
Claudette Poirier checks out new ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher.

Upgrades to six commercial Island Health kitchens meant the introduction of ENERGY STAR certified commercial dishwashers designed to both use less electricity and less water. It is important to note that commercial dishwashers are one of the largest energy consumers in a commercial kitchen with 75 percent of operating costs associated with heating water. Island Health will achieve some very significant cost reductions over the life of these new dishwashers which typically have a life expectancy of 20-25 years.

Patient Care Centre, Royal Jubilee Hospital, meets LEED green standard.

Island Health also ensures all new buildings are designed with energy efficiency in mind. For example the Summit at Quadra Village, located in Victoria, BC is a residential and dementia care facility that is currently on the drawing board and the early planning stage includes using NRCan's energy benchmarking tool ENERY STAR Portfolio Manager.

Poirier says, "Portfolio Manager assists the team in making a solid business case for energy efficiency which is especially important when different agencies are involved in the financing, design and build of the facility that will be home to more than 320 residents, and which Island Health will be responsible for operating, including paying the energy bills."

Whether an organization is designing a new building, upgrading equipment or simply replacing outdated or non-working appliances, ENERGY STAR has a role to play in health care facilities across Canada.

Kent Waddington is Co-Founder and Communications Director of the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care, winner of the 2015 ENERGY STAR Advocate of the Year Award. mailto:kent@greenhealthcare.ca

Participants at work

To get your ENERGY STAR activities featured in the newsletter, email us

Smart use of smart meters empowers customer

Since 2014, a group of Ontario utilities have provided select customers with customized reports showing them how they use energy and what they can do to lower their consumption and costs.

The utilities partnered on a pilot project called Energy Insights (recently rebranded as Powerful InsightsTM) with Ecotagious, a Vancouver-based company that works with utilities to encourage energy conservation. Ecotagious used proven, sophisticated algorithms to analyze smart meter, seasonal and demographic information to zero in on customers with electric space heating and those with especially high electricity use.

Front side of a Hydro bill insert
Back side of a Hydro bill insert

Ecotagious broke the data down into major end uses, including space heating or air conditioning, major appliances and “always-on” load attributable to continuous users such as televisions, computers, clocks and 24-7 lighting. The data for each utility was analysed and the resulting set of high-using customers was divided into control and target groups. Customers in the target groups received simple reports (see below) that compared their energy use to similar homes with “average” and “efficient” use. Reports also included tips on how to reduce electricity consumption and related saveONenergy coupons.

The project yielded significant findings related both to consumer behaviour and demonstrable energy savings.

Wendy Watson, Director of Communications, Greater Sudbury Hydro, found that some people felt empowered at being identified as high energy users while others felt challenged. “A lot comes down to a person’s attitude.”

Half of the customers who read the reports acted on the recommendations and 80 percent wanted to continue receiving them. Interviews showed that customers realized they could have some control over their energy use and were motivated to act, e.g. weatherstripping windows and doors or using saveONenergy coupons toward the purchase of smart power bars, programmable thermostats or ENERGY STAR certified LEDs.

Roxanne Des Roches, Executive Assistant Conservation and Safety Co-ordinator, Northern Ontario Wires, agrees. “It’s all in the delivery of the message.” She describes a customer who complained about being ‘singled out’ but after an explanation felt “like she’d won the lottery.”

Steve Sottile, Manager, Customer Service and Conservation, Utilities Kingston, credits his conservation team’s hands-on, personal touch for a very low opt-out rate among the 9,000 customers targeted and increased customer engagement in conservation programs. One-on-one explanations from qualified staff changed complaints into understanding, interest and investment in energy and water saving measures.

Sottile says the 2014-15 pilot led to the highest uptake of Kingston Hydro’s heating and cooling incentive since 2011. He adds that coupons distributed with the reports had incredibly high redemption rates and that the program will be extended to all customers. He said it will become the utility’s “primary means of marketing energy and water conservation programs directly to our residential customers.”

Greater Sudbury Hydro expanded their program from the 1,500 homes in the pilot to 16,000 customers with higher energy use, about 40 percent of its residential customers.

All the utilities in the pilot project saw reductions in electrical consumption in participating homes of somewhere between two and four percent.

Find details in The Distributor, in the Fall 2015, Winter 2015, and Winter 2016 issues.


ENERGY STAR prominently featured in the Canadian Green Health Care Digest.

Full page of the Canadian Green Health Card Digest
Enlargement of a section of the Canadian Green health Care Digest

Technical specifications: new or updates

Office Equipment—Displays Version 7.0

Manufacturers may elect to have their certification body (CB) certify their eligible products to the Version 7.0 requirements that will take effect on July 1, 2016. The Version 7.0 specification establishes new power consumption requirements for both computer monitors and signage displays.

The limit for computer monitors is expressed in terms of total energy consumption (TEC)) to allow for greater flexibility in how manufacturers implement new features and functionality in both On and Sleep Modes while delivering substantial energy savings. EPA modified the definition of signage displays to further differentiate such products from monitors.

The specification also provides new allowances for attributes found in enhanced performance displays as well as for network connectivity, touch, and occupancy sensors.

Be a market leader—join ENERGY STAR!

Canadians say the ENERGY STAR symbol is the tool they use most when shopping for energy-efficient products. You can gain a market edge and be a leader in Canada’s energy efficiency movement by joining our voluntary industry-government partnership. It is easy and there is no fee.

Contact us

Please consult the listing below should you wish to contact your Account Manager or need general information:

Dianna Miller - 613-947-5001 or email Dianna Miller

Appliances; pool pumps
Philip Wang - 613-996-5104 or email Philip Wang

Commercial food service equipment
Dianna Miller - 613-947-5001 or email Dianna Miller

Electronics; electrical utilities—Ontario
Liz Westbrook-Trenholm - 613-947-1219 or email Liz Westbrook-Trenholm

Steve Hopwood - 613-995-6741 or email Steve Hopwood

Heating, cooling and ventilation; water heaters; gas utilities
Stéphane LeBlanc - 613-947-2319 or email Stéphane LeBlanc

Lighting; electric utilities (except Ontario)
Isabelle Guimont - 613-996-5281 or email Isabelle Guimont

Office equipment; data centres
Patrick Roy - 613-943-0453 or email Patrick Roy

Public sector and institutions
Gisèle Maillet - 613-992-4535 or email Gisèle Maillet

The ENERGY STAR name and symbol are administered and promoted in Canada by Natural Resources Canada and are registered in Canada by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.