It’s even better than we could have hoped. After two years of working with the City and key stakeholders to develop and secure city council support for an Energy Reporting and Benchmarking (ERB) by-law, Ontario just announced energy efficiency amendments to the Green Energy Act (GEA) intended to extend this important policy across the whole province.  Potential impacts in Toronto are estimated at cumulative total of 3.3 million tonnes CO2eq over twenty years, and the province wide impact will be even greater.

Today, the government introduced amendments to the GEA to enable the implementation of the Ministry of Energy’s proposed large building energy and water reporting and benchmarking initiative, which will help Ontario’s large building owners manage their energy and water consumption and save money on their utility bills.

Homes and buildings are responsible for for 26% of Ontario’s emissions, and represent a significant opportunity for massive GHG reductions. While energy and water efficiency are the cheapest, simplest solutions for those reductions, barriers have included lack of data and transparency for large building owners and managers. All of that is about to change.

The proposed amendments would enable the government to:

  • Require large building/property owners, which would be specified in a subsequent regulation, to:
    • Report their energy and water consumption, as well as other building information such as greenhouse gas emissions and  square footage to the Ministry of Energy
    • Verify reported data through a licenced professional to ensure accuracy and fairness
    • Develop and publish Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plans
  • Publicly disclose reported energy and water consumption information, as well as other building characteristics
  • Require electricity, natural gas and water utilities to make energy and water consumption data available to building owners so they are able to comply with the requirement

The Ministry of Energy is planning to post a revised policy proposal, incorporating stakeholder feedback obtained during consultations held from January 2015 to June 2015, to the Environmental Registry and Regulatory Registry in late Fall 2015 to provide stakeholders with another opportunity to provide feedback. This feedback would be considered in the development of a subsequent regulation, pending passage of the proposed legislation.

The Ministry of Energy is considering phasing in the requirement, with Ontario’s largest buildings being required to report for the first time in Fall 2016/Winter 2017.

TAF is proud to have contributed to this work over the last two years by:

  • Developing a white paper which established this policy as a priority for the City of Toronto
  • Convening the 2014 Dan leckie forum on this policy, which brought together representatives from the City, the Province of Ontario, the Federal government, utilities and the real estate industry and revealed surprisingly strong support.
  • Providing a $192K grant to the City of Toronto to support the implementation of the policy and related programming.
  • reporting on our progress in this area for Corporate Knights, and via these blog posts.