Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency - December

Volume 3, Issue 12

Public Opinion Research to measure the importance of energy efficiency in the industrial and buildings sectors

The Office of Energy Efficiency is undertaking Public Opinion Research to measure, through quantitative means, the importance of energy efficiency in the industrial and buildings sectors (including public, commercial and institutional sub-sectors) and energy efficiency brand recognition (ENERGY STAR, ISO 50001).  

Leger, The Research Intelligence Group, has been retained by the Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) at Natural Resources Canada to conduct a short survey. The OEE will send out the survey in January to both industrial and  buildings sector energy experts (i.e. those with the authority to make or influence energy efficiency decisions for their organizations).

The research will track awareness and attitudes towards energy efficiency and will gauge knowledge of available options and benefits to the adoption of energy efficiency practices. It will also assess brand recognition such as “ENERGY STAR” for industry and “ISO 50001,” and will identify gaps in energy efficiency information and services provided by the Government of Canada. Most importantly, the research will inform the development of targeted energy efficiency programs and initiatives, monitor program effectiveness and support program evaluation activities.

Research participants will be randomly selected from a list of buildings and industrial sector energy experts. If you receive the Leger survey, please complete it and submit it by the stated deadline.

Hospitals get on board with the Green Hospital Scorecard

The Green Hospital Scorecard is the only environmental and sustainability benchmarking tool of its kind in Canada, providing a snapshot of a hospital’s performance in energy and water conservation, waste management and recycling, corporate commitment, and pollution prevention.

In 2013, the Green Hospital Scorecard (GHS) was developed and administered by the Ontario Hospital Association through the Green Hospital Champion Fund and supportive funding from the Ministry of Consumer and Government Services. The program ended in early 2016, and the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care, with funding from the Government of Ontario, is now continuing with the delivery of the scorecard through 2017.

Participating hospitals report on their environmental initiatives through an online questionnaire. The data is summarized in an easy-to-interpret Green Hospital Scorecard that allows hospitals to benchmark themselves against previous years and to compare their environmental performance with that of other hospitals. “In addition, we are also providing suggestions on areas for improvement and will offer assistance in implementing programs,” notes Samantha Putos, Sustainable Health Care Programs Analyst with the Coalition.

About half of Ontario’s hospitals have participated every year since the program launch, but the Coalition expects this number to increase as the scorecard’s benefits are more broadly recognized. “Senior management of participating hospitals see the tool as invaluable in highlighting opportunities for reduced operating costs and increased resilience to the impacts of climate change,” says Linda Varangu, Coalition Executive Director. Many participants in the GHS program also use complementary energy benchmarking tools, such as ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager which is managed by Natural Resources in Canada. 

“Senior management of participating hospitals see the tool as invaluable in highlighting opportunities for reduced operating costs and increased resilience to the impacts of climate change”

-Linda Varangu, Executive Director, Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care

Program participants are recognized individually with annual gold, silver, and bronze level achievements and are also eligible for annual Green Health Care awards. A webinar planned for the spring of 2017 will highlight top scorers and provide a forum for exchanging ideas and best practices.

In coming years, the Coalition would like to extend the scorecard to long-term care facilities in Ontario and is hoping to move the scorecard to the national level. Varangu notes that a pilot is in place in a few New Brunswick and Nova Scotia hospitals to determine the changes required for national implementation. The 2017 scorecard may have additional categories in areas such as green purchasing, and will also be available in French. Closer alignment and complementarity with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager will also feature in upcoming scorecard versions. Currently ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager has three performance indicators for the health care sector: hospitals, medical offices and long term care facilities.

Visit the Coalition’s website for more information on the Green Hospital Scorecard. If you would like to participate and have not received an invitation, please contact Samantha Putos at samantha@greenhealthcare.ca. If you are interested in how the Coalition can offer this opportunity outside of Ontario, please contact Linda Varangu at linda@greenhealthcare.ca.

Ottawa tower achieves first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design v4 Operations + Maintenance certification in Canada

An Ottawa office tower is the first in Canada to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) v4 certification. The building at 270 Albert Street in Ottawa, managed by Blackwood Partners Inc., recently achieved Gold under the LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M): Existing Buildings rating system.

This certification highlights how LEED v4 can transform existing buildings into models of energy efficiency. Mark Hutchinson, Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), Green Building Programs Vice President, says, “As Canada ramps up efforts to meet emissions reduction targets, this first LEED v4-certified commercial project is a great demonstration of how our existing buildings will play a key role in combatting climate change.”

The 14-storey, 15,236-square-metre office tower has undergone several energy efficiency retrofits since its construction in 1975. It was already running efficiently prior to a 2013 energy audit, but by implementing the recommendations of that audit, the operations team was able to increase the building’s energy efficiency by an additional 25 percent per year.

The result is an impressive energy use intensity that dropped to 20 equivalent kilowatt hours per square foot and an ENERGY STAR score of 91. Blackwood’s use of energy benchmarking with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager allowed the organization to track energy improvements and identify issues.

To achieve certification, the organization took advantage of many retrofitting opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of the existing building. The timeframe was also impressive, with the project completed in just over one year, and the final LEED certification achieved six months after completion.

The changes to LEED v4 certification continue to raise the bar for energy efficiency in buildings with more rigorous requirements for existing buildings. Projects aiming for LEED certification for existing buildings are required to achieve an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher. An additional credit category has also been added: Location and Transportation, which focuses on alternative transportation.

“Blackwood Partners is confident that the LEED v4 O+M Gold certification of 270 Albert Street is an opportunity to elevate the building in the downtown Ottawa marketplace by reinforcing the owner’s commitment to sustainable practices and supporting the green initiatives of our tenants within their workplace,” says Peter L. Stafl, Vice President of Leasing and Asset Management for Blackwood Partners Inc.

For the full article on the building’s LEED certification, visit:
Ottawa tower earns first LEED v4 O+M certification

New energy Efficiency programs announced in Alberta

Alberta businesses and residents can now take advantage of the province’s new energy efficiency programs. With a $2 million investment by the province, Energy Efficiency Alberta just launched three programs for homes and businesses that could save Albertans over $2 billion in energy costs and significantly reduce GHG emissions over the five years that the programs are in effect.

Incentives through the business, non-profit and institutional rebate program will promote the installation of high-efficiency products, lighting, heating and cooling, and hot water systems. With this incentive, commercial institutions will be able to retrofit aging or less efficient equipment and reap the savings quickly.

Albertans can also expect more energy savings when it comes to new buildings. The provincial government has recently updated and adopted changes to its building code that will improve energy efficiency with respect to windows, lighting, building envelopes, insulation and HVAC systems. These changes will align the provincial standards with the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings.

These changes will also reduce GHG emissions from the buildings sector, which, along with residential homes, was responsible for 19 megatonnes, or about seven percent, of Alberta's GHG emissions in 2014.

For the full articles on Alberta’s new energy efficiency programs, visit:
Alberta launching three energy efficiency programs for business and residential
Alberta finally adopts new national building code for energy efficiency

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.

We welcome reader feedback and are always interested in your story ideas.

Click here if you would like to unsubscribe.