Energy and Water Reporting – Frequently Asked Questions

General

Q. What is energy and water reporting and benchmarking?

Energy and water reporting and benchmarking involves the ongoing review of a building’s energy and water consumption to determine how the building’s energy performance is changing over time and in comparison to other similar buildings to support energy and water conservation decision-making.

Q. What are the benefits of energy and water reporting and benchmarking?

Large building owners can play an important role in helping Ontario meet its conservation and greenhouse gas reduction goals through energy and water reporting and benchmarking.

Buildings in Ontario including office buildings, condominiums and retail stores accounted for 19% of Ontario’s total GHG emissions in 2013.

Energy and water reporting and benchmarking can help building owners:

  • Better manage energy and water use and costs
  • Identify best practices and energy and water-saving opportunities
  • Assist in setting goals by providing a benchmark
  • Evaluate results by comparing to similar facilities across the province
  • Measure improvement over time
  • Value energy efficient and water efficient buildings

Public disclosure of building performance information can motivate building owners to compete with one another and strive to improve their building performance year over year. It can also allow property and financial markets to compare building performance and value efficient buildings, enabling the market to drive efficiency investments.

Q. Have other jurisdictions implemented an energy reporting and benchmarking requirement?

Many jurisdictions in the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom have energy reporting and benchmarking requirements in place for large buildings.

A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that buildings that continuously benchmarked as part of the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Program achieved a 7% improvement in energy consumption savings over a three year period (2.4% per year average) from benchmarking.

Ontario based its EWRB initiative on successful implementations in the US as well as lessons learned from early adopters. The initiative also builds on the success of Ontario’s energy and greenhouse gas reporting initiatives for government-owned facilities and broader public sector organizations as well as lessons from CivicAction’s voluntary Race to Reduce challenge for the office sector in the Greater Toronto Area.

Ontario is the first Canadian province to introduce a large building energy and water reporting and benchmarking initiative for privately owned buildings on a province-wide scale.

Q. What is Ontario’s Large Building Energy and Water Reporting Initiative?

On July 1, 2016, the Energy Statute Law Amendment Act, 2016 came into force, which included amendments to the Green Energy Act, 2009 that enable implementation of Ontario’s Large Building EWRB initiative through regulation.

Ontario Regulation 20/17: Ontario’s Reporting of Energy Consumption and Water Use outlines what building owners are required to do.

In order to comply, owners of building types that are required to report must submit required data elements to the Ministry of Energy on an annual basis using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager according to the schedule established in the regulation. Owners of buildings that are 100,000 square feet and larger will also be requested to verify their data by a recognized professional in the first year of reporting and every five years thereafter.

Electricity, natural gas and water utilities must make whole building consumption data available to building owners when requested, as is available through existing metering infrastructure, within a reasonable timeframe after the request is made.

The Ministry of Energy will publicly disclose a subset of the data reported by building owners on Ontario’s Open Data website on an annual basis. The Ministry also intends to produce and public reports that summarize key findings from all the energy, water and GHG data it collects.

The Ministry of Energy is considering a number of best practices that have been used in other jurisdictions to successfully support EWRB reporting These include:

  • Providing support for reporting through communications, education and training to ensure building owners are aware of the reporting requirement and have the necessary tools and resources to comply and monitor compliance.
  • Working with building owners, property managers and industry organizations directly to answer questions and provide them with any additional support.
  • Making a program website available.
  • Providing webinars on reporting requirements and the reporting process.

For more information on how to comply with the EWRB Regulation see:

Q. How did the Ministry consult on this initiative?

The Ministry of Energy’s consultations for its Large Building EWRB initiative took place over a six month period from January to June 2015 and through Environmental and Regulatory Registry proposals posted on February 25, 2016 for 50 days.

Throughout its consultation process, the Ministry met with over 160 stakeholder organizations to seek their feedback.

The Ministry also received 38 submissions on its proposal from the multi-unit residential, commercial, industrial, agriculture, utility, non-profit, municipality, building professionals and academic sectors.

Stakeholder comments received through the consultation process helped inform Ontario’s EWRB initiative.

For Building Owners and Managers Required to Report Under the Large Building EWRB Regulation

Q. When am I required to comply with the Large Building EWRB regulation?

The reporting requirement will be phased-in over three years according to the following schedule:

Reporting Deadlines
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

For more information on how to comply with the EWRB Regulation see:

Q. What Information do I need to report?

The types of data elements building owners are required to report on an annual basis include:

  • Monthly energy and water consumption and performance data, e.g. energy and water use intensity, ENERGY STAR score (where available);
  • GHG emissions and intensity; and
  • Building characteristic information, such as gross floor area.

For more information on how to comply with the EWRB Regulation see:

Q. How do I report information to the Ministry of Energy?

Building owners and managers are required to report their building’s data to the Ministry of Energy using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (Portfolio Manager).

Portfolio Manager is a free, secure, web-based building rating tool created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The tool compares energy and water consumption, as well as GHG emissions, across a single building or a portfolio of buildings.

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), in collaboration with the U.S. EPA, launched a major update of the tool for Canada in August 2013 that included Canadian source energy, GHG emissions factors, and weather data. The “Canadianized” version is managed by NRCan.

For more information on how to comply with the EWRB Regulation see:

Q. How can building owners access whole building aggregated electricity, natural gas and water consumption information?

Building owners can access their energy consumption and water usage information by contacting their utility.

Electricity, natural gas and water utilities are required to provide building owners or their agents with aggregated information on how much electricity, natural gas or water was consumed or used at their property broken down on a monthly basis

For more information on how to obtain utility data to comply with the EWRB Regulation see:

Q. Will reported information be publicly disclosed?

The Ministry of Energy will publicly disclose a subset of the data reported by building owners on Ontario’s Open Data website on an annual basis. Public disclosure of building performance information can motivate building owners to compete with one another and strive to improve their building performance year over year. It can also allow property and financial markets to compare building performance and value efficient buildings, enabling the market to further drive efficiency investments.

Data elements that the Ministry of Energy will publicly disclose on a building by building basis include property identification and building performance information such as ENERGY STAR score, energy, water and greenhouse gas intensity, building age and confirmation of whether data was verified by an accredited or certified professional.

Data elements that the Ministry will not publicly disclose on a building by building basis include total energy and water use, GHG emissions and gross floor area.

The Ministry will also not publicly disclose the first year of reported data for each of the three roll-out phases to provide an opportunity for building owners to gain experience with reporting before their data is made publicly available.

For more information on information disclosure, see:

Q. Some of the information I report to the Ministry won’t be disclosed. How is that information protected?

The Ministry of Energy consulted extensively with stakeholders on what information would be collected and disclosed when developing its Large Building EWRB proposal.

The Ministry is only proposing to collect information from building owners that is required to achieve the outcomes of its EWRB policy.

The information that the Ministry of Energy is proposing to collect is not considered private information, as confirmed by the Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.

In order to help building owners protect information that they believe is commercially sensitive, the Ministry would deem information that is not made publicly available to be considered to have been supplied in confidence to the Minister for the purposes of section 17 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

With respect to data that is inputted into Portfolio Manager, Canadian user data is under NRCan’s control and management. The data collected in Portfolio Manager is stored on a secure server located in the United States and is therefore subject to the Canadian federal Privacy Act and Access to Information Act in addition to the U.S. Privacy Act.

NRCan has gone through an extensive process to assess and vet the security and privacy protocols used by the United States EPA. As of August 2016, approximately 5,800 buildings in Ontario were already using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool to benchmark their performance.

Q. What are the costs associated with reporting under the regulation EWRB?

Reporting and benchmarking is a low cost initiative that helps reduce energy and water consumption and GHG emissions in Ontario’s building sector by providing actionable information to key decision makers.

Potential costs to building owners and managers would result from the time and effort required to report energy and water consumption as well as other building characteristic information to the Ministry of Energy on an annual basis. Some building owners would also need to verify their data. Building owners can verify their data using in-house verifiers such as engineers and energy managers already on staff, or by hiring a third party professional to review their information.

Experience in the US has shown that entering data into Portfolio Manager could take as little as one hour if building owners have their building characteristic and consumption data readily available.

Significant benefits are also expected from implementing the proposed Large Building EWRB initiative if building owners decide to take action to reduce their consumption through behavioural and operational improvements. It is expected that cost savings from these improvements would far exceed the costs to comply with the regulation.

For more information on how to comply with the EWRB Regulation see:

Q. Will the Ministry of Energy provide training resources to building owners and managers?

The Ministry plans to engage and provide support to building owners and managers who are required to comply with the regulation. This includes providing access to education and training materials so that compliance with the regulation is simple and straightforward.

The Ministry will make available more information on education and training materials and opportunities later in 2017. Information will be posted to the Large Building EWRB webpage.