What is energy benchmarking for buildings?
Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN)’s Energy benchmarking: the basics describes it as “the ongoing review of your organization’s energy consumption to determine if your building’s energy performance is getting better or worse.”
NRCAN notes that energy benchmarking can either be an internal process or an external process.
- You can energy benchmark by measuring your building’s performance against its own performance in the past, or against other buildings in your co-op.
- You can also benchmark by comparing your building’s energy use to that of similar buildings that don’t belong to your co-op.
What can energy benchmarking do for my co-op?
Learning how much energy your buildings use is your first step towards energy savings through benchmarking.
Energy benchmarking your buildings can help you manage their use of energy since you are actively monitoring and measuring how much your buildings are consuming. If you are renovating your property to reduce energy consumption, benchmarking will let you review and identify which changes met this goal and which did not.
Other benefits to benchmarking your buildings’ energy consumption can include
- securing accurate information on energy consumption
- capturing data that let you compare your building’s energy use with similar properties
- giving you information on which to base a comprehensive action plan for energy management and providing a valid reason for retrofits
- helping you set long-term or short-term targets for energy reduction
- identifying the worst performing buildings for priority upgrades
- providing objective, reliable information on energy use and the benefits of recent improvements to your property
- showing the impact of policy changes, co-op initiatives and building upgrades on energy use
According to Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN), building owners and managers of more than 13,000 Canadian buildings are using NRCAN’s version of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool to get a clear picture of the energy performance of their property and the effectiveness of targeted energy initiatives.
Co-ops that want to learn more about energy benchmarking should visit NRCAN's Energy benchmarking: the basics
Energy Benchmarking for Co-ops in BC
CHF BC has a FREE Energy Benchmarking Program available for co-ops in BC who are either BC Hydro or Fortis BC customers and have a minimum of 10 residential units. CHF BC uses ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager and help co-ops set up an ENERGY STAR profile and link utility accounts to the tracking platform.
The Energy Benchmarking Program can help your co-op
- Track current energy use (including three years of historic data for a property)
- Compare a property’s metrics to similar properties’ metrics (benchmarking)
- Set targets for energy use reduction
- Monitor the impact of policy changes, co-op initiatives, and building upgrades on energy use
- Report on energy consumption and long-term goals
Individual homes’ data remains anonymous because consumption for the whole property is aggregated into a single set of data. None of CHF BC, ENERGY STAR®, or a co-op can see or access individuals’ energy use / consumption data.
Energy Benchmarking for Co-ops in Ontario
Housing Services Corporation (HSC) has a program available for Ontario co-ops to help monitor your buildings’ utility performance with their Utility Management Program (UMP) and also assist co-ops in complying with the Ontario Regulation 506/18, Reporting of Energy Consumption and Water Use with their Energy Reporting Service (Provincial Energy Data Report (EWRB) Assistance).
Utility Management Program
HSC’s Utility Management Program (UMP) is an energy monitoring program that helps co-ops measure your buildings’ utility performance so you can manage your consumption and save money. UMP is built on EnergyCap software.
With the UMP, HSC will:
- Collect and enter your utility consumption data into our online system each quarter
- Account for differences in weather from year-to-year to ensure accurate analysis
- Set up standard and custom dashboards to help you quickly see your performance
- Provide quarterly reports of your utility performance trends at the building and meter level
- Conduct initial and ongoing training by webinar to help you get to know the system
- Provide expert analysis and one-on-one support to help you interpret your data and identify where to lower your consumption
A co-op can choose to enroll various types of buildings (single-family homes, apartments, or townhouse complexes) provided they are bulk-metered for their utilities. UMP participation is focused on bulk-metered buildings, rather than unit counts. HSC does not have the capacity to track data for individually metered utilities or utilities paid by members. Co-ops can request their aggregated (whole building) annual utility data from their utility company in cases where co-op members pay their own bills or where there is individual site metering.
Energy Reporting Service - If a co-op has buildings that fall under the Ontario Regulation 506/18, Reporting of Energy Consumption and Water Use, the co-op can also choose to have HSC handle their utility data submission to the government through HSC’s Energy Reporting Service
To use HSC’s Energy Reporting Service, the co-op must have their building(s) in UMP, as UMP is the system HSC uses to collect the utility data to support the data submission. UMP is a separate program from HSC’s Energy Reporting Service. A co-op can choose to participate solely in UMP to keep track of their utility performance.