The Real Property Association of Canada, whose members are property investors representing more than $150 billion in real-estate assets, has formally adopted an energy-consumption target for office buildings equal to 20 kilowatt-hours of energy use per square foot of rentable area per year, and they’ve pledged to reach that target by 2015. “The target represents a reduction of up to one half of today’s energy use in Canadian office buildings,” according to a just-released report. “Achieving the target will lead to an estimated energy cost savings in the order of $18.5 billion a year, and greenhouse gas emissions savings of 7.5 megatonnes per year contributing to 5 per cent of Canada’s national 2020 goal.”
The target was derived from large pilot projects conducted last year by the Canada Green Building Council, which created a large, detailed database of office building energy use performance. ” Audits were conducted of top-performing buildings to document their building system characteristics, leading to identification of best practice design standards,” according to the report. The audits found that there was a large range of energy use per square foot, with some buildings using more than twice as much energy. Surprisingly, results showed no co-relation to building age. In fact, some of the oldest buildings — as much as 40 years old — were among the most energy efficient. Getting to the efficiency target by 2015 will be a challenge, the association concedes. “The good news is that operating cost savings should generally be greater and Capex less than had previously been expected, with higher rates of return on investments,” it states. “The more challenging conclusion is that high levels of performance cannot be achieved and sustained without significant organizational change to align policy, management, leasing, procurement, and HR programs with the demands of consistent energy efficient practice.”
Kudos to RealPAC for doing more than our government is prepared to do by tightening building-code rules.