Energy and Water Reporting & Benchmarking

What Large Building Owners Need to Know

By JASON TRUMAN and PAUL RUDLING
, March 2017

When performance is measured, performance improves.
When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.
– Pearson’s Law

Cut energy costs. Reduce environmental impact. Improve public health. These are some of the goals the Ontario government intends to achieve through the implementation of Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking (EWRB).

What is EWRB?*

The Ontario government has implemented changes to the Green Energy Act, 2009 with the introduction of Bill 135 (Energy Statute Law Amendment Act 2016). Through this flagship bill, the Ontario government joins a growing number of jurisdictions taking steps toward environmental responsibility. Building owners will be required to annually report energy and water consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and other information on building characteristics to the Ministry of Energy (ENERGY).

What is the reason for the new regulation?

In 2013, buildings in Ontario such as office buildings, condominiums and retail stores made up 19 percent of Ontario’s total GHG emissions. Owners of large commercial and multi-unit residential buildings will soon be required to collect and report utility consumption rates. In doing so, building owners will be able to better manage their energy and water costs, compare their building performance to other similar buildings, and set measurable goals to improve efficiency.

ENERGY will also publicly disclose building performance data on Ontario’s Open Data website. This is meant to motivate competition between buildings to improve performance and allow prospective residents to consider a buildings environmental impact when choosing a building to lease or rent.

Who will be affected by the new regulation?

Privately owned buildings over 50,000 square feet will be required to report if they are the following types:

  • Multi-unit residential, including Condominiums, with more than 10 residential units
  • Commercial
  • Some industrial buildings/properties
  • Some institutional/special buildings

The full list of building types required to report can be found here. Certain buildings are not required to report to ENERGY. At the time of writing, these include:

  • Most industrial, including manufacturing and agricultural facilities
  • Government (federal and provincial), government agency, and publicly owned buildings
  • Data centers, television studios, and trading floors

Mixed use buildings that include some area with the above exempted uses may be eligible for exemption. For a full list of buildings that are exempted from reporting, review the Regulation Guidelines.

What is the timeline for the new regulation?

Building size requirements for mandatory reporting will be phased in over 3 years. Reporting will be required by July 1, for building information from the previous calendar year. The first buildings required to report will be those over 250,000 square feet for information collected from 2017.

Phased Mandatory Reporting Timeline Commercial and Industrial Buildings Multi-Unit Residential Buildings
By July 1, 2018
(information for 2017 calendar year)
250,000 square feet and larger Not required to report in first year
By July 1, 2019
(information for 2018 calendar year)
100,000 square feet and larger 100,000 square feet and larger
By July 1, 2020
(information for 2019 calendar year)
50,000 square feet and larger 50,000 square feet and larger

How do building owners track and report their consumption?

Building owners will be required to report property identification information, property use details, electricity, natural gas, and water consumption, and GHG emissions (a complete list of required data can be found here). Energy and water consumption can be obtained from the utility companies.

Building information will be reported through the Energy Star Portfolio Manager, which will produce an Energy Star score between 1 and 100. A score of 50 indicates average energy performance, while a score of 75+ indicates high performance. Owners will be able to compare their building performance with other buildings that they own, and with similar buildings across Ontario.

Is data verification required?

Buildings that are 100,000 square feet or greater are required to have their data verified by an accredited professional for their first reporting year, and every five years thereafter to ensure accuracy and reliability. The data verifying professional may be in-house building staff or a third-party professional, but must have an accreditation or certification from a recognized accreditation body.

Edison Engineers Inc. are staffed with accredited professionals that would be more than happy to perform data verification for your building portfolio.