Written by Narayana Asogan, P.Eng.
In June 2016, “Energy Conservation and Long Term Energy Planning” bill (Bill 135) was passed in the Ontario Parliament, and now it is a Law. Electricity Act 1998, Green Energy Act 2009, Ontario Energy Board Act 1998 are affected by Bill 135.
Similar laws are in practice in Several US states, Europe, Australia for many years now, encouraging buildings to be more energy efficient, reduce waste of energy and water. Ontario is the first Canadian Province to implement reporting of Energy and water use encouraging large buildings to be more energy efficient.
Who are affected by this Law?
Energy and water reporting rules are to be developed by a Public Agency and applicable to Commercial, Industrial and Multi-Unit Residential Buildings (MURBs). Owners will be mandated to benchmark energy, water usage and Green House Gas (GHG) emission and provide details to Ministry of Energy.
The very first step in any long term improvement plan is Bench marking. Benchmarking is the practice of comparing the performance of an object to its peers and or established standards. It also helps to monitor the performance of the object over time and relative to similar objects.
Timeline for reporting:
Commercial/Industrial – 250,000 Sq Ft and above – July 2017
Commercial/Industrial – 100,000 Sq Ft and above, MURB – 100,000 Sq Ft and above – July 2018
Commercial/ Industrial – 50,000 Sq Ft and above, MURB – 50,000 Sq Ft and above – July 2019
Reporting of electricity, gas, oil, GHG, water consumption will be required.
Many jurisdictions who adopted energy benchmarking had shown energy and water (thus money) savings of around 10%.
Portfolio Manager developed by Natural Resources Canada with Canadian Data is recommended for Benchmarking and energy use studies and reporting.
Benchmarking and tracking energy usage coupled with good audit methods would save energy, improve energy usage intensity, GHG emission. Energy audit will guide in long term energy use planning of the building / operations.
Energy Star Score
Energy Star score is measured on a scale of 1 to 100 and involves around 150 metrics. Basic property information, energy use information, number of rooms, Heating/cooling Degree Days (HDD/CDD) etc are some of the information required. Once the required information is entered into Portfolio Manager, the buildings Energy Star Score could be obtained. Larger the number, more energy efficient is the building. Lower numbers indicate that there is a good potential for improvement.
In multi building management situation, benchmarking all the buildings will show which building requires early attention for improvements etc.
Who can do this task of data collection, analysis and reporting?
Generally anyone could do this. However the busy Building operators may not get the time to record relevant data without scarifying normal maintenance duties. In many building operations, maintenance is delayed or overlooked due to various reasons and the building and equipment may be already in poor state, resulting in maintenance situation to more costly replacement situation.
Third Party Consultants
A third party consultant (like New Dawn Energy Solutions) with specific task of such data collection and study would be beneficial to the building owners under these conditions as the legal requirements of energy and water reporting and benchmarking could be done more professionally.
As the time is short and initial data collection and assembly task would have various snags, it would be advisable to start this process early.
Also energy saving project funding including Audit funding are available from Utility providers.