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Web services to exchange data directly with Canada’s national benchmarking tool – ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

There is a call for utilities across Canada to join the energy benchmarking movement to support the widespread adoption of this energy management best practice.  In 2013, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) launched the Canadian-adapted ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool, the only standardized tool of its kind in Canada based upon statistically verified data.  Since its launch, the use of the tool has significantly increased and currently has over 16,000 buildings registered that are actively benchmarked. These buildings represent over 189 million m2 of Canada’s commercial and institutional floor space in Canada.

As energy providers, there are tremendous opportunities for utilities to enhance their programs by offering web services.  Web services is a process which enables the exchange of data directly with Portfolio Manager. This feature is also beneficial because it enables utilities to play a key role in helping their customers evaluate the potential for energy saving investments and actions in their buildings by up to 30%.

More information available on the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager:


Don’t miss out: The movement is underway

Across Canada, utilities are ramping up their energy-savings goals by offering the web services feature.  Their actions are supporting an accelerated adoption of energy benchmarking in the commercial and institutional buildings sector. Those offering web services are also allies to the federal, provincial and territorial endorsed Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (PCF). The PCF identifies the commitment of these jurisdictions to reduce GHGs in the built environment with measures such as the implementation of a harmonized national approach to mandatory benchmarking and disclosure, and the development of other tools by as early as 2019.

The Province of Ontario is the first province in Canada to enact mandatory benchmarking and disclosure under its Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking (EWRB). This mandatory benchmarking requirement will be the largest in North America and will include approximately 18,000 buildings once fully implemented. The legislation also requires utilities in Ontario to provide aggregated energy data to building owners. Ontario is demonstrating its leadership in mandating energy reporting, however, other jurisdictions, and organizations are following suit and implementing similar initiatives.  It’s only a matter of time before the provision of aggregated energy data becomes a typical expectation or mandatory requirement for the majority of Canadian utility providers. Now is the time for the utilities sector to get involved to support and facilitate access to utility data.

Smart automated energy consumption data

With the addition of web services to establish a direct link to the Portfolio Manager tool, utilities will be in a position to automatically load and update their customers’ energy data, and provide them with a standardized building energy performance rating. This service differentiator will have mutual benefits and will reduce the time and effort necessary to input energy and building data into the tool.

Utilities seeking to implement web services can follow one of two processes:

  • Provide utility data: After creating a Portfolio Manager account, customers can enter building characteristic information in Portfolio Manager™ without adding energy data.  Customers can request that their utilities import energy data directly into Portfolio Manager on their behalf, and view and track their energy performance scores in their account.
  • Provide web services: Some utilities offer customers energy information tools as a part of online account access web sites or as standalone software packages. Utilities can add web services as a value-added service or as part of DSM programs, allowing customers to view their energy performance scores directly within the utility website or software program.

Energy benchmarking: Measure it to manage it

Portfolio Manager’s automated data exchange service is a powerful platform to support energy efficiency programs and make a bigger impact on energy savings for clients. Incorporating web services as part of DSM programs not only provides value-added to your customers, it will also provide access to new sources of market intelligence that can be used to develop targeted energy efficiency initiatives and strategic goals.

Utility providers have a vital role in assuring the success of energy benchmarking in Canada. Why not reap the benefits of being proactive and get a head start?

Join with other Canadian web service providers such as ENERGY CAP CanadaManitoba Hydro, BC Hydro, and Fortis BC, to support national benchmarking efforts and by doing so contribute to the reduction of energy consumption GHGs in Canada.

Key roles of the utility provider include:

  • Automatically uploading billing information on a monthly basis to the building account;
  • Tracking energy ratings to identify buildings which should be targeted by energy efficiency programs;
  • Interpreting benchmarking results on behalf of the customer;
  • Delivering benchmarking results to the customer; and
  • Improving the quality of the information entered into the benchmarking system.

What’s next?  

NRCan is working with a number of stakeholders who endorse benchmarking with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.  Environmental programs such as BOMA BEST® and LEED® Canada EB:O&M have aligned their programs to rely the tool’s scoring feature and other metrics. NRCan is also working with key stakeholders in the buildings sector to support the ongoing enhancement of Portfolio Manager.

A national survey of buildings in Canada – SCIEU will take place in 2020, to establish a reference database for actual energy use for many more building types, which will make the tool more relevant to all buildings sectors.

The launch of long-anticipated ENERGY STAR® certification for commercial and institutional buildings in Canada will take place in March 2018.  This renowned recognition program will honour and identify Canadian buildings demonstrating superior energy performance.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get involved at the ground level and consider incorporating this service into your client offerings and join the benchmarking movement with other utilities in Canada!