The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) has released a new white paper to act as a guide for provinces and local governments who are considering implementing an energy benchmarking program within their jurisdiction. The white paper, titled Energy Benchmarking, Reporting & Disclosure in Canada: A Guide to a Common Framework, sets parameters for what a consistent approach to energy benchmarking on a national scale would look like, with the goal of driving municipalities across the country to establish or enhance local energy benchmarking and reporting requirements.
The white paper aims to simplify the process of policy development and implementation, while providing reliable data that will support the pursuit of strategic investments in achieving building improvements, and helping to meet energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets, CAGC says in a news release. The white paper highlights recommendations to all levels of government, utilities and associations, in five key areas:
- Program Administration: the key roles and tasks essential to program delivery, including the expected time and resource expenditures associated with each phase;
- Program Delivery: the steps and considerations necessary for building consistent, effective energy benchmarking programs, from setting building thresholds to encouraging compliance;
- Data Quality Control: the challenges associated with the collection of high quality building energy data, and recommendations for their resolution;
- Data Transparency: recommendations for making energy benchmarking data both accessible and actionable for a broad range of stakeholders; and
- Building Industry Capacity, or identified needs, opportunities and recommendations for providing industry support and training.
“The development of a standardized approach to energy benchmarking initiatives is a much-needed step in engaging the buildings sector in climate action,” says CaGBC’s president and CEO Thomas Mueller. “The National Energy Benchmarking Framework provides a consistent approach for building owners, policy makers and utilities across Canada to understand and invest in improvements to reducing carbon emissions from existing buildings.”
Working with Integral Group and supported by the Toronto Atmospheric Foundation (TAF) and Real Estate Foundation of BC (REFBC), the CaGBC consulted with a broad group of stakeholders across Canada and the US to develop this national framework, including hosting a session at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Sustainable Communities Conference in February 2016. The extensive consultation enabled the identification of key steps and strategies for energy benchmarking programs in Canada, and reflects the diverse needs and interests of provincial and local governments, utilities, industry associations, and members of the real estate industry.
“The old adage that ‘you don’t manage what you don’t measure’ is absolutely true for the energy and water used in our buildings,” says Julia Langer, CEO of the Toronto Atmospheric Fund. “We can learn from US and European cities how to set up practical reporting and building-to-building comparison requirements, and how this actually helps accelerate efficiency improvements and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Toronto and Ontario are leading the way, and this guide will help jurisdictions Canada-wide.”
“Research shows us that buildings generate up to 50 per cent of community GHG emissions in Canada,” says Jack Wong, CEO of the Real Estate Foundation of BC. “We’re pleased to help communities access the quality data and benchmarking tools needed to monitor and reduce their energy consumption and emissions.”
The full 62-page white paper is available through the CaGBC website.