May 8, 2020

News: Journal of Commerce by Construct Connect

B.C. pilot to analyze, release building performance data

A new pilot project to gather data on building performance is gaining momentum in B.C.

Russell Hixon  |  May 8, 2020  |  https://canada.constructconnect.com/joc/news/projects/2020/05/b-c-pilot-to-analyze-release-building-performance-data

More than 50 of the province’s commercial real estate owners and managers have agreed to voluntarily measure, report and disclose their buildings’ energy use and greenhouse-gas emissions with Building Benchmark BC.

Building Benchmark BC is an initiative of the Open Green Building Society funded by Natural Resources Canada and BC Hydro. It also receives support from the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia.

The program’s participants manage 730 commercial, residential, industrial and institutional properties that collectively represent roughly 22 million square feet of real estate.

David Ramslie, vice-president of sustainability for Concert Properties and one of the Building Benchmark BC organizers, explained participating building owners and managers can see how their properties perform compared to their peers on energy and climate pollution. The data will also help participating local governments identify areas and building types that will need extra support from energy-efficiency rebates.

“There’s also a tangible value to transparency,” said Ramslie. “Many of our owners are institutional money, like unions, looking to invest for members. We can show our funders that we take sustainability and our business seriously and that we are completely transparent with no bodies to hide. We are trying to walk the talk and be a leader. That doesn’t mean all our buildings are perfect. I would argue a couple may even be in the bottom end, but that helps our investors build confidence.”

The City of North Vancouver, City of Victoria, District of Saanich and Township of Langley recently joined Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver in the pilot, which launched in January. Metro Vancouver and the University of British Columbia are also participating. Ramslie said the first round of data is expected to be released in the fall.

He said Concert expects that monitoring and releasing building performance in some required form is inevitable and becoming familiar with the process and having an opportunity to shape the system is key.

“They have heard from industry that we don’t want a patchwork solution,” said Ramslie of government. “It should work in Burnaby, Richmond, Saanich, anywhere. I think it is laudable that government is showing good leadership and co-operation.”

The program is using Energy Star Portfolio Manager, software which allows building owners to input data.

Ramslie said the tool has been on the market for years and embraced by the commercial real estate sector. The pilot will take it a step further by also using software developed by OPEN Technologies that is able to compare all the data and visualize it.

“This will allow for a deeper level of insight and transparency that currently doesn’t exist,” said Ramslie.

The pilot is still open to any B.C.–based owners or managers of commercial real estate. Those interested in signing up can do so at BuildingBenchmarkBC.ca.

Follow the author on Twitter @RussellReports.

May 4, 2020

Press Release: Building Benchmark BC Expands!

Climate Pollution Pilot Project Off to a Flying Start

More than 22 million square feet of real estate now registered in voluntary program as additional governments come on board.

May 4, 2020 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — More than 50 of British Columbia’s commercial real estate owners and managers have agreed to voluntarily measure, report, and disclose their buildings’ energy use and greenhouse-gas emissions under a recently launched pilot program.

The companies and individuals collective oversee the 730 commercial, residential, industrial, and institutional properties that are now registered with Building Benchmark BC. Taken together, the properties collectively represent roughly 22 million square feet of real estate.

“Frankly, we’re thrilled with the uptake,” said David Ramslie, vice president of sustainability for Concert Properties and one of the Building Benchmark BC organizers. “Now that they’ve registered, these professionals can make savvier decisions on capital investments and upgrades, while helping local governments more effectively support them.”

Participating building owners and managers can see, at a glance, how their properties compare with others on energy and climate pollution. The data also helps participating local government identify areas and building types that will need extra support from energy-efficiency rebates.

The City of North Vancouver, City of Victoria, District of Saanich, and Township of Langley recently joined Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, and Vancouver. Metro Vancouver and the University of British Columbia are also participating in the pilot, which launched in January.

Building owners and managers who opt in to the voluntary Building Benchmark BC pilot program will receive detailed performance data and a clear picture of where their properties rank on energy and climate pollution relative to similar buildings. This information will help them make more informed investment decisions.

The pilot remains open to any British Columbia–based owners or/or managers of commercial real estate. Those interested in signing up may do so via BuildingBenchmarkBC.ca.

Building Benchmark BC is an initiative of the Open Green Building Society, made possible with support from Natural Resources Canada and BC Hydro. We would also like to acknowledge the support of the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia.

Contact: James Glave | 604-833-4368 | james@glave.com

Backgrounder: Building Energy Benchmarking

Spring 2020 Pilot Program Update
  • As of May 1, 2020, 50 owners or managers of properties in British Columbia have registered to disclose energy and emissions data for a total of 730 buildings.
  • Property types and relative participation roughly break down as follows:
    • 25% Strata-owned residential
    • 20% Institutional
    • 65% Commercial or industrial
  • Based on the number of buildings participating, and the minimum threshold of 20,000 square feet needed to participate, at least 22 million square feet of real estate are now registered in the pilot.
  • Building energy benchmarking describes a process under which building owners and managers use ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, a software platform maintained by Natural Resources Canada, to measure, report, and disclose greenhouse gas emissions.
  • In British Columbia, the fossil fuels that are burned in buildings—to provide occupants with heat and hot water—contribute about 11 percent of the province’s overall climate pollution.
  • Benchmarking helps property owners understand how their buildings perform both over time and when compared with similar buildings located elsewhere, and it equips governments with fine-scale data to help them develop more effective and targeted retrofit incentive programs.
  • Canadian companies already voluntary benchmark the energy and emissions of more than 9,000 buildings.
  • Most climate and energy experts agree that governments will inevitably introduce new greenhouse gas regulations targeting existing buildings. Benchmarking allows commercial real estate leaders to get a jump start on understanding their exposure, so that they can better understand their situation and options.
Feb 19, 2020

Opinion: BC Business

Commercial real estate and the climate challenge

By the end of this decade, B.C. will have cut greenhouse gas emissions from commercial buildings by 40 percent. Guess how the province will do it?

Donovan Woollard and David Ramslie   |  Feb 19, 2020  |  www.bcbusiness.ca/Opinion-Commercial-real-estate-and-the-climate-challenge

CleanBC, the province’s climate action plan, outlines a range of policies and actions intended to drive down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and help bring B.C. closer to its target of reducing carbon pollution 40 percent below 2007 levels by 2030.

It’s an ambitious and commendable goal, and reaching it will require sweeping changes across the economy, with implications for almost every industry. The CleanBC plan touches natural gas producers, new-vehicle dealers, and trucking and freight companies, to name just three sectors.

But one industry has largely escaped regulatory attention, and it’s not exactly a niche: commercial real estate. This sector contributes $3.5 billion to the provincial economy each year and employs 37,000 people, according to the Building Owners and Managers Association of British Columbia (BOMA BC).

When it comes to improving the performance of existing buildings, so far the province has focused on carrots. The $24-million Better Buildings BC program, co-funded with Ottawa through the federal Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund, offers the owners and managers of commercial and multi-unit residential buildings incentives for energy assessments and upgrades.

But on the climate file, Victoria means business. CleanBC spells out several goals for the commercial real estate sector. By 2030, the province intends to reduce overall emissions from buildings by 40 percent, through a combination of:

  • Higher energy performance for new buildings, through the BC Energy Step Code, which requires all new buildings to be net zero-energy-ready by 2032;
  • Major retrofit initiatives to boost the energy efficiency of existing homes and buildings; and
  • Fuel switching to get at least 40 percent of our commercial space onto clean electric heating, including increasing heat pump usage by 15 times today’s level.

All tiers of government will be rolling out building policy and incentive programs in the months ahead. According to the province, voluntary action and incentives—with an extra nudge from the carbon tax—yielded a 6.5-percent emission reduction from commercial buildings between 2007 and 2016. However, all of the measures outlined in the CleanBC plan, across all sectors, only bring the province within 75 percent of its target.

Over the coming years, the government will be looking for opportunities to squeeze another 6.1 megatonnes of carbon out of the economy. Given the significant GHG contribution of existing commercial buildings, and the dearth of regulation to date, the sector won’t likely escape Victoria’s attention.

For a glimpse of where things may end up in Metro Vancouver, we can look to New York City. Last April, it enacted a law that forces the owners of thousands of commercial buildings to slash their greenhouse gas emissions. Besides capping carbon pollution on buildings with more than 25,000 square feet of floor area, the law requires companies to cut reduce their GHGs 40 percent by 2030.

NYC’s reg has teeth, too: companies will face fines of US$268 a year for every excess tonne of carbon they emit, which could translate into penalties in the range of millions of dollars annually. Clearly, it’s in industry’s interest to join the conversation. Smart property owners will get out front, and fully understand their carbon exposure and the incentives available to them.

Fortunately, Building Benchmark BC, a new voluntary pilot program, hopes to make the disclosure process a little easier. Several of the province’s fastest-growing local governments have thrown their weight behind the pilot, as have leading property owners and managers such as Colliers, Concert Properties, QuadReal Property Group and Shape Properties Corp.

Building Benchmark BC aims to show property owners that energy benchmarking can be easy and effective. Participants will gain valuable insights into their energy and carbon performance relative to their peers. And comprehensive building-by-building performance data can inform effective policy, incentive program design and capital deployment.

One way or another, the province will meet its climate goal. And as the New York City example shows us, getting there while ensuring the sector’s ongoing health will almost certainly involve some combination of effective policy and enabling incentives. Every businessperson knows how critical good data is to decision making, and Building Benchmark BC is an opportunity to help make sure that regulators get it right the first time.

Our message to property owners and managers across the province: What are you waiting for?

Donovan Woollard is CEO of OPEN Technologies, which develops building energy-performance software, and Dave Ramslie is vice-president of sustainability for Concert Properties. Both are participants in the Building Benchmark BC pilot.

Jan 30, 2020

News: Building.ca

B.C Cities Kick off Pilot Project to Benchmark Carbon Emissions

Four British Columbia Lower Mainland cities kicked off a pilot project designed to help building owners and managers easily “benchmark” and disclose the energy and emissions of their properties.

Jan 30, 2020  |  https://building.ca/b-c-cities-kick-off-pilot-project-to-benchmark-carbon-emissions/

The cities of Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, and Vancouver, and the University of British Columbia and Metro Vancouver are actively engaged in the pilot. The pilot aims to help all of the above parties identify areas and building types that will need extra support from energy efficiency rebates.

According to Building Benchmark BC, Building owners and managers who opt in to the voluntary pilot project will receive detailed energy and carbon performance data and a clear picture of how their building’s performance stacks up on carbon emissions relative to similar buildings.

“Within the past year we’ve seen unprecedented support for climate action; dozens of cities have declared climate emergencies,” said David Ramslie, vice president of sustainability for Concert Properties, one of the project participants. “As a result, building owners and managers are paying attention to energy and emissions.”

“The companies that choose to benchmark and disclose their energy and emissions at BuildingBenchmarkBC.ca will not only understand where they rank relative to others, they’ll be contributing to a community of practice and research that could help to transform the whole building industry,” said Ramslie.

Building energy benchmarking describes a process under which building owners and managers use ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a software platform maintained by Natural Resources Canada, to measure, report, and disclose their greenhouse emissions.

Building Benchmark BC states that benchmarking is a critical tool to address climate change as it helps property owners understand how their buildings perform both over time and when compared with similar buildings located elsewhere.

OPEN Green Building Society convened a range of stakeholders to develop the pilot, which was made possible with funding from Natural Resources Canada and BC Hydro.

Though participation in Building Benchmark BC is currently voluntary, Building Benchmark BC says many climate and energy experts agree that, to meet greenhouse-gas targets, jurisdictions will begin introducing new regulations targeting existing buildings.

Jan 21, 2020

News: HPAC Mag

A tale of four cities: Building Benchmark BC pilot project kicks off

Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver are engaged in a pilot project that tracks and discloses the energy emissions of participating commercial buildings as of Jan. 21

JANUARY 21, 2020 – https://www.hpacmag.com/green-technology/a-tale-of-four-cities-building-benchmark-bc-pilot-project-kicks-off/1004128306/

Four cities in the Greater Vancouver Area have kicked off the Building Benchmark BC pilot project.

The cities of Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver are engaged in the pilot, which is designed to help building owners and managers easily “benchmark” and disclose the energy and emissions of their properties.

Participants will receive detailed energy and carbon performance data and a clear picture of how their building’s performance stacks up on carbon emissions relative to similar buildings. This information will help them make more informed decisions on capital investments and upgrades.

Building Benchmark BC pilot project will help all of the above parties identify areas and building types that will need extra support from energy efficiency rebates.

“Within the past year we’ve seen unprecedented support for climate action; dozens of cities have declared climate emergencies,” David Ramslie, VP of sustainability for Concert Properties, one of the project participants, said in a release. “As a result, building owners and managers are paying attention to energy and emissions. The companies that choose to benchmark and disclose their energy and emissions at BuildingBenchmarkBC.ca will not only understand where they rank relative to others, they’ll be contributing to a community of practice and research that could help to transform the whole building industry,”

The pilot was developed by OPEN Green Building Society, which convened a range of stakeholders to help, and was funded by Natural Resources Canada and BC Hydro.

www.BuildingBenchmarkBC.ca

Jan 21, 2020

News: Energy Manager Canada

A tale of four cities: Building Benchmark BC pilot project kicks off

Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver are engaged in a pilot project that tracks and discloses the energy emissions of participating commercial buildings as of Jan. 21

JANUARY 21, 2020 – By Megan Hoegler –
https://www.energy-manager.ca/a-tale-of-four-cities-building-benchmark-bc-pilot-project-kicks-off/

Four cities in the Greater Vancouver Area have kicked off the Building Benchmark BC pilot project.

The cities of Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver are engaged in the pilot, which is designed to help building owners and managers easily “benchmark” and disclose the energy and emissions of their properties.

Participants will receive detailed energy and carbon performance data and a clear picture of how their building’s performance stacks up on carbon emissions relative to similar buildings. This information will help them make more informed decisions on capital investments and upgrades.

Building Benchmark BC pilot project will help all of the above parties identify areas and building types that will need extra support from energy efficiency rebates.

“Within the past year we’ve seen unprecedented support for climate action; dozens of cities have declared climate emergencies,” David Ramslie, VP of sustainability for Concert Properties, one of the project participants, said in a release. “As a result, building owners and managers are paying attention to energy and emissions. The companies that choose to benchmark and disclose their energy and emissions at BuildingBenchmarkBC.ca will not only understand where they rank relative to others, they’ll be contributing to a community of practice and research that could help to transform the whole building industry,”

The pilot was developed by OPEN Green Building Society, which convened a range of stakeholders to help, and was funded by Natural Resources Canada and BC Hydro.

www.BuildingBenchmarkBC.ca

Jan 21, 2020

Press Release: Building Benchmark BC Launches!

Cities Take the Hassle out of Carbon Disclosure

Lower Mainland local governments team up to unleash the power of building energy and emissions data.

JANUARY 21, 2020 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Four British Columbia Lower Mainland cities today kicked off a pilot project designed to help building owners and managers easily “benchmark” and disclose the energy and emissions of their properties.

Building owners and managers who opt in to the voluntary Building Benchmark BC pilot project will receive detailed energy and carbon performance data and a clear picture of how their building’s performance stacks up on carbon emissions relative to similar buildings. This infor- mation will help them make more informed decisions on capital investments and upgrades.

The following jurisdictions are actively engaged in the pilot:The cities of Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, and Vancouver, and the University of British Columbia and Metro Vancouver. The pilot aims to help all of the above parties identify areas and building types that will need extra sup- port from energy efficiency rebates.

“Within the past year we’ve seen unprecedented support for climate action; dozens of cities have declared climate emergencies,” said David Ramslie, vice president of sustainability for Concert Properties, one of the project participants. “As a result, building owners and managers are paying attention to energy and emissions.”

“The companies that choose to benchmark and disclose their energy and emissions at BuildingBenchmarkBC.ca will not only understand where they rank relative to others, they’ll be contributing to a community of practice and research that could help to transform the whole building industry,” Ramslie added.

OPEN Green Building Society convened a range of stakeholders to develop the pilot, which was made possible with funding from Natural Resources Canada and BC Hydro.

Interested building owners and property managers can participate in the Building Benchmark BC pilot project via BuildingBenchmarkBC.ca.

Contact:
James Glave 604-833-4368 james@glave.com

Backgrounder: Building Energy Benchmarking

What is it, and why does it matter?
  • Building energy benchmarking describes a process under which building owners and managers use ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, a software platform maintained by Natural Resources Canada, to measure, report, and disclose their greenhouse emissions.
  • In British Columbia, the fossil fuels that are burned in buildings—to provide their occu- pants with heat and hot water—contribute about 11 percent of the province’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Benchmarking is a critical tool to address climate change. It helps property owners un- derstand how their buildings perform both over time and when compared with similar buildings located elsewhere, and it equips governments with fine-scale data to help them develop more effective and targeted retrofit incentive programs.
  • Canadian companies already voluntarily benchmark the energy and emissions of more than 9,000 buildings nationwide.
  • Studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Urban Land Institute, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conclude that benchmarked buildings can capture energy savings of between 7 and 14 percent within four years.
  • In 2009, New York City (NYC) passed a bylaw that required owners of buildings larger than 50,000 square feet to measure, report, and disclose the energy consumption of the properties they manage. The city expanded the requirement in 2016.
  • NYC data revealed that the city’s multi-family and office towers consume 87 percent of all energy used in buildings, with offices consuming the greater share of the two. The performance data and building information gathered from benchmarking allowed the city to develop effective incentive programs to support office building owners in reduc- ing those emissions.
  • Similar programs are in place in Boston, Seattle, Denver, and other cities. In Canada, the City of Edmonton has been benchmarking since 2016, and the Province of Ontario has a regulation for benchmarking large buildings.
  • Though participation in Building Benchmark B.C. is currently voluntary, many climate and energy experts agree that, to meet greenhouse-gas targets, jurisdictions will begin introducing new regulations targeting existing buildings.
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