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Frequently Asked Questions

Energy Efficient Buildings

What is energy benchmarking?

In order to manage your energy consumption, you must first understand it. Energy benchmarking is the ongoing review of your building’s energy consumption, which provides the data to encourage building operators to strive for continuous improvement and reductions in the use of energy. By engaging in ongoing energy benchmarking, you can:

  • Identify poorly performing buildings
  • Establish a baseline for measuring improvement in energy consumption
  • Enhance and create competition through comparison with similar buildings
  • Earn a rating or gain recognition for having a high-performance building
  • Make a business case for efficiency investments
  • Track how current projects are expected to save energy, money, etc.
  • See how a certain building compares to a portfolio or peer group.
  • Assess a building’s performance before you buy/lease it
  • Present building performance to a potential buyer or lender
  • Set targets for improved performance
  • Facilitate assessment of property value and marketing rental properties

The ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager tool helps you measure and track the energy and water use of your buildings, all in a secure online environment. You can use the results to compare your building with other similar Canadian buildings, identify under-performing buildings, set investment priorities, verify efficiency improvements, and receive recognition for being a high-performance building. Visit ENERGY STAR® to get started with energy benchmarking.

Check out our ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager FAQ for more information.

Learn more with the Natural Resources Canada Energy Benchmarking Primer.

What are the benefits of energy efficient buildings?

Canada’s commercial building sector is a significant energy user and producer of carbon emissions. It includes a range of building types, including offices, hospitals, schools, and more. Buildings retrofitted to higher energy-efficiency standards provide multiple benefits to those who own and occupy them, including:

  • Long-term energy and cost savings: an energy efficient building will have the advantage of lower energy, water, and maintenance costs.
  • Lower emissions and overall environmental impact: energy efficient buildings have lower greenhouse gas emissions due to their reduced reliance on fossil fuels. Buildings that use primarily clean energy such as hydroelectricity have the lowest emissions.
  • Better thermal comfort: well-designed mechanical systems and building components work together to manage comfortable indoor temperatures.
  • Improved comfort and health: continuous ventilation and fresh air throughout the building can lead to better well-being with occupants and as a result, a more productive workforce.
  • Higher Value: businesses and consumers see the value in energy efficient buildings, and as a result there is a premium associated with buying or leasing space in well-built, energy efficient buildings.

Check out our resources for commercial buildings for more information.

See FortisBC’s Energy-Saving Tips for Business.


Resources for Commercial Buildings

Find selected resources for benchmarking, case studies, and best practices below. These resources are intended mostly for building managers and other decision-making stakeholders to aid in the development of business cases and first steps towards renovations.


General Resources – Commercial Renovations and New Commercial Construction


General Resources – New Commercial Construction

  • Energy Efficiency in New Buildings – A collection of resources and best practices from Natural Resources Canada for maximizing energy efficiency, including guidance on Benchmarking.


Reports – Commercial Renovations and New Commercial Construction

  • Geared for Change: Energy Efficiency in Canada’s Commercial Building Sector – A report by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and Sustainable Development Technology Canada focusing on a sectoral approach addressing technology adoption barrier and the feasibility of applying and achieving specific emission reduction targets.
  • Building Momentum: 2018 BOMA BEST National Green Building Report – A report by the Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada summarizing energy efficiency trends, certifications, and successes across Canada.
  • Improving Energy Efficiency in Alberta’s Buildings – A report by the Alberta Real Estate Foundation and the Pembina Institute analyzing building energy consumption in both residential and commercial sectors with a list of best practices for decision makers and a power map illustrating how various stakeholders interact.
  • Energy Benchmarking, Reporting & Disclosure in Canada: A Guide to a Common Framework – A report by Canada Green Building Council assessing the principles, administration and delivery requirements, and data management for benchmarking in Canada.
  • Green Building in Canada: Assessing the Market Impacts & Opportunities – An analysis by Canada Green Building Council of the current activities in Canada’s green building sector, size and scope of the green building sector with the intent to support accelerated market transformation to high-performing, healthy green buildings.
  • Green Commercial Real Estate: Office Assets – A report by the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business analyzing best practices for Commercial Real Estate, including case studies, market analysis, and recommendations.


Reports – New Commercial Construction


Case Studies & Reviews

General Incentives and Upgrades

What incentives are available?

There are many incentive programs available for improving the energy efficiency of commercial, institutional, and multi-unit residential buildings in BC, and each program is different. Visit our incentive search tool to find the right program(s) for you.

Take the time to read thoroughly about the incentives you’re interested in. Find out which incentives you are eligible for based on:

  • The building’s location
  • Your utility provider
  • Your fuel consumption rate
  • Whether you need an Energy Assessment or Benchmarking Study before starting
  • What kinds of documentation are needed
  • What the incentive deadlines are

If you have any questions, you can also contact us.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.