Energy benchmarking for large buildings

Apartments in downtown Vancouver

Energy benchmarking tracks and records a building's energy use and compares it with that of other buildings similar in function. This process is a key component of the City’s Retrofit Strategy for Existing Buildings.

Did you know that building operations and industrial processes creates 55 per cent of Vancouver's greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs)?

That is why energy retrofits to buildings are key to achieving our goal to reduce citywide GHGs by 33 per cent from 2007 levels by 2020. 

Energy Benchmarking Program

Through this program, the City will collect benchmarking data from:

  • Its own buildings
  • Voluntary participants, primarily large public sector/institutional, commercial, and residential buildings

This data will help the City develop programs and policy to support energy retrofits and measure the performance of our building code.

Recent developments with this program

Energy Benchmarking Resolution endorsed at UBCM

September 25, 2014 – Resolution B94 "Benchmarking Tools for Building Energy Use" was endorsed at the 2014 UBCM Convention in Whistler BC.

Read Resolution B94 (on page 158 of the 2014 UBCM Resolutions publication) and the 2014 Resolutions Disposition on the UBCM resolutions and responses webpage.

Energy Retrofit Strategy for Existing Buildings approved by City Council

June 25, 2014 – The Energy Retrofit Strategy for Existing Buildings (which includes the Energy Benchmarking for Buildings Program) was accepted by City Council.

March 11, 2014 – Council resolved to:

  • Request provincial amendments to the Vancouver Charter, Local Government Act, and the Community Charter:
    • To empower local governments to require annual reporting of building energy use data for the purpose of benchmarking energy performance
    • The authority to enable public disclosure/transparency
  • Forward the resolution to the Lower Mainland Local Government Association Annual General Meeting and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Annual Convention for consideration and adoption

Read the Council minutes (page 27-28)  (88 KB)

Project actions

The initial actions of the project are:

  • Energy benchmarking of large City-owned buildings
  • Stakeholder engagement 
  • Voluntary benchmarking by public sector/institutional, commercial, and multi-unit residential buildings, with a focus on large buildings
  • Education, awareness, and training to support energy benchmarking activities

What data we will collect

By benchmarking buildings, building owners and managers will be able to compare the energy performance of their building with similar buildings and monitor their own building’s performance over time. This information will help building owners and managers identify which of their buildings are the least efficient and take action to increase their building's efficiency.

How the data will be used

The City will use the benchmarking data to:

  • Inform bylaw policy and program design and assessment
  • Work with partners to prioritize what is needed to improve the least efficient buildings

Some of the data collected will include monthly consumption of electricity, natural gas, steam, district energy, and water. The data will be adjusted to account for differences in weather and building size, occupancy, operating hours, and common equipment use (such as computers).

Work leading up to this program

The Greenest City Action Plan sets a green building target of a 20 per cent reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings by 2020 over 2007 levels. Energy retrofits to buildings are fundamental to the City achieving this goal.

Energy retrofits are expected to reduce nearly a quarter of city-wide greenhouse gas emissions, or 160,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.  (See pie chart.)

Get project updates


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Give us your feedback on potential designs of the Benchmarking Support Program

If you are an owner or manager of a large building, a service provider, or an industry association, send us your contact information and we’ll invite you to an upcoming workshop for this winter.