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B.C. local governments calling for building energy use to be reported

A group of local governments in the Lower Mainland of B.C., including the City of Vancouver, has approved a motion, "Benchmarking Tools for Building Energy Use." The resolution supports requiring large building owners to report their...


A group of local governments in the Lower Mainland of B.C., including the City of Vancouver, has approved a motion, “Benchmarking Tools for Building Energy Use.” The resolution supports requiring large building owners to report their facilities’ energy consumption, likely on an annual basis. The information would be published on a website for public consumption and comparison.

The Lower Mainland Local Government Association (LMLGA), which represents 33 local governments and 59% of B.C.’s population, or 2.6 million people, endorsed the motion in June. The motion was put forward by the City of Vancouver.

Now the idea will be tabled for consideration by the larger Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) at its September conference. If approved then UBCM will ask the province to give the municipalities authority to put benchmarking rules in place.

In the United States, nine municipalities already require energy benchmarking for larger buildings (typically those more than 50,000 sq. ft.).

The proposal approved by the LMLGA points out that the U.S. municipalities all use ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager as the reporting platform, and that this software is available for free from Natural Resources Canada.

The LMLGA motion also pointed out that a study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency showed that energy benchmarking reduced the energy use of participating buildings by an average 7% over three years.

The system is a low cost practice “that enables building owners to identify savings opportunities,” and identifies buildings that need support.

The resolution also supporting asking the province to grant local authorities the authority to publicly release the results of the energy benchmark information two years following the submission of the data “and following an accuracy review by owners.”

The LMLGA represents 59% of B.C.’s population, or 2.6 million people.