Energy benchmarking and auditing program

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What is the Better Buildings Ottawa – Benchmarking and Auditing Program?

The Benchmarking and Auditing program will support building owners and operators to identify opportunities to reduce their building’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Program participants will benchmark their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions publicly. In exchange, participants will receive:

  • a free energy scorecard and insights report;
  • gain access to subsidized thermal audits;
  • gain access to capacity building workshops, collaboration opportunities;
  • have input on future commercial building energy retrofit support and funding programs.

What is energy benchmarking and why is it important?

Energy benchmarking is the process of tracking and recording a building’s energy performance over time. It is based on the fundamental principle that building energy consumption must be measured before it can be managed. Performance data can help owners and managers to identify opportunities for operational efficiency improvements and retrofit projects.

Energy benchmarking and the public disclosure of building performance data is a foundational piece for undertaking energy efficiency retrofits. Experience shows that collecting and reporting on building performance is a foundational step that alone can lead to annualized savings of between 2 and 3 percent.

Other benefits of energy benchmarking include:

  • Obtaining standardized information on building energy consumption, energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Establishing baseline reference points for building systems optimization
  • Highlighting opportunities for prioritizing underperforming buildings for energy efficiency improvement measures
  • Measuring and verifying the results of energy efficiency projects
  • Increasing transparency of the social and environmental impact of your business operations
  • Becoming eligible for ENERGY Star® Certification

Who can participate in the Program?

Eligibility requirements for the benchmarking and auditing program are:

  • Buildings over 20,000 square feet in size (gross floor area)
  • Buildings willing to share their monthly energy and water consumption data from 2019 to 2021 and to publicly disclose their energy performance data publicly through Energy Star Portfolio Manager.

How does the Program work?

Sign up for the Benchmarking and Auditing Program here.

The City is seeking to recruit and support building operators to benchmark the energy and emissions performance of their buildings publicly.

Participation is voluntary. Those who participate will gain access to valuable insights of their building’s performance and capacity building workshops through the City and program partners. Participants will also receive support in meeting the Province of Ontario’s Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking (EWRB) program requirements.

Sign up for the City of Ottawa’s Benchmarking and Auditing program here.

After registering online, participants will be supported to submit energy and water consumption data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and share that data with the City.

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is the industry-standard energy and water consumption reporting tool for the private sector. It is a free platform and allows building operators to easily upload and analyze building energy and water consumption. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is the platform used for Ontario’s Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking (EWRB) program.

Participants will receive an Energy Performance Scorecard and Insights Report for each building submitted and be able to compare their building performance to other buildings in the program using the Energy Performance Map which will be available in the near future.

Participants must have authorization to access property information and building energy usage data including the buildings gross floor area and monthly energy bills. Please note that whole building data is required.

Benefits of participation

In addition to the benefits of energy benchmarking mentioned above, participants in the program will receive an Energy Performance Scorecard and Insights Report. This Scorecard will provide participants with a summary of building energy performance. Scorecards will also provide participants with high-level diagnostics and end-use breakdown to guide energy conservation measures. Furthermore, participants will be able to compare their building performance to other buildings in the program using the Energy Performance Map, which will be available in the near future.

Those who participate in the Benchmarking and Auditing program may also gain access to subsidized building envelope thermal inspections. Participation in this program and uploading your data to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, you can also easily pursue additional industry-recognized certifications such as BOMA BEST, LEED v4 and LEED EB: O&M. Finally, participants will also be notified of municipal, provincial, and federal incentive programs that can support energy retrofits.

Building Envelope Thermal Inspections

Thermal scans of your building envelope help determine energy saving and building restoration opportunities. (Source: QEA Tech)

Building envelope thermal inspections provide property owners and building operators with information about where energy loss is occurring within their building, as well as some structural problems and potential moisture leakage.

The City of Ottawa will be exploring options to coordinate thermal scans for those participating in the Benchmarking and Auditing program to secure favourable prices from service providers. The findings of these thermal inspections can be combined with benchmarked energy data to provide participants with detailed information about how their building energy performance can be improved.

The City of Ottawa performed comprehensive thermal audits on a selection of their buildings in 2021.

The Government of Ontario’s Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking Program

Since 2019, the Government of Ontario has been requiring large buildings to report and benchmark energy and water consumption on an annual basis through its Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking (EWRB) program. Under the Reporting of Energy Consumption and Water Use regulation, large building owners need to report their building’s energy and water use once a year to the Ministry of Energy on:

  • July 1, 2019, for buildings 100,000 square feet and larger
  • July 1, 2023, for buildings 50,000 square feet and larger

The City of Ottawa is seeking to support commercial, industrial, institutional, and large residential buildings in this reporting process. The EWRB program uses ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, the same reporting tool as the City’s Benchmarking and Auditing program. Data can easily be submitted under the EWRB program and be shared with the City of Ottawa. Learn more about sharing building data here.

Benchmarking and Auditing program will support building owners and operators to identify opportunities to reduce their building’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.