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Governments urged to implement emissions reporting for buildings

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All levels of government are being called upon to implement building data disclosure regulations and requirements to help drive down building emissions.

The United Nations says buildings account for nearly one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. In Vancouver and Toronto, buildings contribute to approximately 50 per cent of each city’s current total emissions, reports the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).

“Canada clearly needs to catch up quickly when it comes to benchmarking, reporting, and disclosing data. Access to building performance data has enabled owners in other jurisdictions to make more informed choices about investing in retrofits,” said Thomas Mueller, CEO and president of CaGBC. “Canadian markets require data transparency to drive investment in efficiency programs and create demand for higher-performing buildings.”

The Council has launched an initiative designed to highlight energy benchmarking and data transparency in the Canadian commercial real estate market.

CaGBC, QuadReal, Vancouver, B.C., Triovest Realty Advisors Inc., Toronto, Ont., Concert Properties Ltd., Vancouver, Ont., Colliers International, Toronto, Ont., and the Minto Group, Ottawa, Ont., have come together to call on federal and provincial governments to implement the collection of building performance data.

Energy benchmarking and data transparency programs are already being implemented by owners and operators. The CaGBC launched the Disclosure Challenge back in March 2019. Since then, industry participants have disclosed building information including energy use, GHG emissions, and water use data from over 700 buildings. Energy benchmarking regulations are in effect in Ontario.

“Without government mandates to drive the disclosure of data across the country from buildings of outcomes for their portfolios and to help see the full picture required to achieve the best outcomes for their portfolios and to help Canada reach its emission targets,” reports CaGBC.

The Disclosure Challenge shows that, in comparison with NRCan average site energy-use intensity values, overall participant office buildings performed approximately 10 per cent better than the average office in Canada while participant multi-residential buildings were about even with the average.

The average energy-use intensity for office and multi-residential buildings in the challenge were 286 kWh/m2 and 256 kWh/m2 respectively, and GHG emissions intensity varied across the country and was generally correlated with the electricity supply grid intensity.

“When utility data is not available in a standardized digital format, customers cannot easily access and analyze valuable energy and water consumption information,” said Philippe Bernier, vice president of innovation and sustainability at Triovest Realty Advisors Inc. Until a standard is adopted, individual Canadians, governments and organizations like Triovest will continue to be hampered in their benchmarking initiatives and efficiency pursuits due to the difficulties associated with accessing a digital view on performance.”

For more information, visit the CaGBC website at www.cagbc.org/cagbcdocs/advocacy/Disclosure_Report.pdf.

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