UBC Undergraduate Research

Greening Vancouver through Energy Benchmarking : a brief overview of the City’s Benchmarking initiative Herrera, Yann; Lee, Sujin; Van, Rei 2016-04-28

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Prepared for: City of VancouverBy: Yann Herrera, Sujin Lee & Rei VanTara IvanochkoApril 28, 2016ENVR 400: Community Project in Environmental ScienceUniversity of British ColumbiaGreening Vancouver through Energy Benchmarking: a brief overview of the City’s Benchmarking initiative  1Contents21. Executive Summary……………………………………………….32. Introduction………………………………………………………...43. Sample Benchmarking products………………………………...63.1 Individual building analysis3.2 Extrapolating to Communities3.3 Estimating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions3.4 Setting water standards4. Understanding heat loss through Thermal Imaging……….…105. Assessing the Benchmarking guide: feedback on the data collection process………………………..………..………..……115.1 BC Hydro: Electricity data5.2 City of Vancouver: Water data5.3 Fortis BC: Gas data6. Conclusion ……………...………………..………..……….……217. Appendix…………………………………..………..……….……22This study uses multi-unit residential buildings’ (MURBs) utility data collected from False Creek South residents to evaluate the initial steps of the City of Vancouver’s energy benchmarking initiative. The aim of this report is to highlight some of the benefits of benchmarking, initiate an example of preliminary utility analysis on MURBs and provide feedback on the data collection process outlined by the City’s draft benchmarking guide. Aggregated electricity-use and water consumption data from 18 buildings was obtained through BC Hydro and City of Vancouver. Through benchmarking, we were able to visualize and calculate total electricity and water consumption for entire buildings and building complexes, as well as identify yearly and seasonal trends in electricity and water use respectively. Only a four-month natural gas dataset (Fortis BC) was available to us for a single building. This was used to propose an estimate of greenhouse gas emissions during summer/fall months and compare the emissions of two buildings with different heating systems. In addition, we were able to provide a preliminary analysis of heat loss in MURBs using thermal imaging. This could be incorporated in the City’s benchmarking initiative as a visual reference to understanding heat loss, as well as encourage building retrofits for improved efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.Eventually, all of the preliminary analysis of energy, water and gas consumption along with heat loss information would be beneficial as a stepping stone in updating energy policies and creating new energy efficient incentives in the City’s target of reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in existing buildings by 20% over 2007 levels.For improving the benchmarking data collection and process, we recommend: ● Clarifying utility terminology● Re-organizing the data collection steps● Modifying data request forms ● Advising utility companies on the City’s benchmarking initiative to facilitate the data collection process for building managers/owners● Offering an Energy Star Portfolio Manager tutorial● Incorporating thermal imaging to observe and keep track of building performances through heat loss  Executive Summary3The City of Vancouver wants to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in buildings by 20% from 2007 levels (from 1,145,000 tonnes CO2e to 920 000 tonnes of CO2e)Action plan: Implement an energy benchmarking plan to target multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs)What is benchmarking?Benchmarking tracks a building’s total use of electricity, water, natural gas and other utilities. Introduction4The City’s benchmarking initiative will:● Offer building managers a free tool to assess their buildings’ energy, water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions● Create a ranking system to compare energy consumption in different buildings● Serve as a platform to report data to the City ● Develop policies and incentives to encourage retrofitting in low-energy efficient buildings● Help building managers and residents reduce their utility expensesStrategic approach1. Encourage building managers to benchmark their buildings’ utility consumption.2. Create a city-wide database for evaluating and monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water consumption in residential buildings.3. Improve retrofit incentives and energy policies to reach the least energy efficient buildings.4. Help building managers reduce their expenses on utilities.5Opportunities for successA functional benchmarking plan can help the City become a leader in urban sustainability. Other major cities have already benefitted from benchmarking, with results extending to cleaner air, better quality of life and a greater inclusion of public participation in city planning. With a proper design, benchmarking can improve customer relationships with utility companies, such as BC Hydro and Fortis BC and become a role model for other cities in the world.Initiating the benchmarking processThis study provides examples of benchmarking products and analysis using utility data gathered from BC Hydro and City of Vancouver. We were unable to obtain natural gas data from Fortis BC, however, we used four-months worth of gas data which was available for this project. Energy and water data from 18 buildings was gathered using samples from distinct housing complexes in the False Creek South neighbourhood. We followed the steps outlined in the City’s draft benchmarking guide, and simulated the data collection process for a MURB manager. In addition, we provide a preliminary analysis of thermal imaging to demonstrate its use in understanding heat loss. We believe this can be useful for improving the benchmarking process and make it ‘user-friendly’ to building managers. This way, we hope to encourage building managers to benchmark their buildings.Street view of these complexes overlooking  windows northward (FLIR tool images)Normalized data for better building-to-building comparisonsSample Benchmarking products* EUI: Energy use intensity, calculated as electricity consumed per gross floor area (kWh/m2)An understanding of electricity demand in individual buildings Visual representation of temporal trendsConsumption variability for in-depth analysis3.1 Individual building analysis 6Complex A Complex B Complex C5 buildings, 4 storeys, 98 units 11 buildings, 2 storeys, 170 units 1 building, 6 storeys, 55 unitsHeating system: GasHeating system: GasHeating system: ElectricityCo-op housing Co-op housing CondominiumAverage electricity consumption:46 017 kWh/yrAverage electricity consumption:254 322 kWh/yrAverage electricity consumption:968 861 kWh/yrAverage EUI:4.7 kWh/m2Average EUI:6.2 kWh/m2Average EUI:78.6 kWh/m2Average electricity use per household:470 kWhAverage electricity use per household:1496 kWhAverage electricity use per household:17 616 kWh3.2 Extrapolating to communitiesFor managers responsible for more than 1 building, benchmarking can be useful for assessing entire building complexes, such as a condominium or a housing co-op. This enables a more thorough analysis of how different factors affect energy consumption, such as:● building size ● tenure type ● heating systems● others One particular advantage is that the City can effectively understand the consumption patterns in different neighbourhoods and create more personalized incentive opportunities and reduction strategies.73.3 Estimating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissionsAs a part of the City’s plan to implement a program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the benchmarking process will be useful in terms of:● Calculating and creating greenhouse gas emission standards● Comparing emissions between MURBs The advantage of tracking electricity and gas consumption is that both variables are able to calculate current greenhouse gas emissions with the help of  conversion rates from BC Hydro (for electricity) and Fortis BC (for gas). Assumptions made in the Preliminary Analysis:GHG emissions from Electricity (tCO2)● Complex B: electricity consumption from a single building represents the building complex● Complex C: 1 building, 6 storeys, 55 units represents the building complexGHG emissions from Gas (billions  tCO2)● Complex B: gas consumption from a single building represents the building complex*Note: four months of data were analyzed due to lack of gas data8Complex B Complex CHeating system: GasHeating system: ElectricityCo-op housing CondominiumAverage GHG (electricity):0.02 tCO2Average GHG (Electricity):2.04 tCO2Average GHG (Gas):18 billion tCO2Average GHG (Gas):0 tCO2Total GHG (electricity and gas):72.2 billion tCO2Total GHG (electricity and gas):2.04 tCO2Preliminary Analysis:● The average water consumption of three complexes from June 2009 to November 2015 is calculated to be 322.3 L/day/household.● The seasonal pattern of water consumption is similar in three different MURBs● Buildings have highest water consumption during summer seasons. ● An unusual consumption pattern in 2015 is shown with decreased water consumption from August to September which was the period of water restriction stage 3 in Vancouver. ● For better representation of the graph, each complex has different billing cycles, and so, billing dates that are close to 20 days apart are presented in the same date format* Note: Missing data points in billing date are due to different billing cycles for each building.City of Vancouver currently lacks a standard for the average water consumption in multi-unit residential buildings. Benchmarking can:● Capture residents’ water usage patterns● Create a standard for comparing different buildings, complexes and neighbourhoods ● Keep track of overall water consumption in different areas of the city3.4 Setting water standards9Street views of Complex B overlooking  windows northward (FLIR tool images) 10Understanding heat loss through Thermal ImagingAs the City plans to implement the benchmarking program to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, thermal imaging will be beneficial in both social and political aspects. At a social scale, these visual representations followed by information of heat loss of buildings will gain interest from the public and building managers/owners to participate and support the benchmarking process. On a political platform, detecting, tracking and calculating heat loss through MURBs will help the City and the public in gaining a better understanding of building performances. This can further lead to improving and creating new incentives and policies for retrofitting such as the City’s building By-law to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.Thermal Imaging will be useful in terms of:● Calculating and tracking current heat loss from MURBs ● Tracking heat loss of MURBs for ongoing years● Comparing heat loss emissions between buildings ● Information pertaining to help update retrofit requirementsPreliminary Analysis: (January 26, 2016)● Temperature is calculated based on distance from the building● Outdoor temperature: 100C● Assuming Indoor temperature: 200CCurrent building performances of Complex B● Average heat loss temperature: 3.60C● Heat loss coming from windows: approx. ~20%The draft benchmarking guide provides two options for obtaining aggregated electricity-use data from residentials with multiple units (see A.1). However, the instructions could benefit from some revision.Option 1 (directed to non-key account customers):● It might be useful here to include who a non-key account customer is. BC Hydro first refers to key-accounts as “residential and business customers”. However, it later describes them as “an assortment of B.C.'s largest companies, including large institutions such as hospitals and universities, large commercial companies such as big retailers and restaurant chains, and industrial facilities.”● Despite residentials being included in the broad definition, they are not included in the specifics. This can be misleading when considering whether or not non-key account holders apply to multi-unit residentials. The instruction says to either call BC Hydro or mail a Business Account Information Request Form (BAIR).● Calling BC Hydro: There were various attempts at communicating with BC Hydro via telephone. For all cases, the calling process was tedious and did not produce any results. Once one is able to get across the automated answering machine, the attendants are not able to provide any information on the process for collecting aggregated electricity-use data. There were several instances in which the caller had to be re-directed to a different attendant, who again was either unfamiliar of the benchmarking process or unable to disclose any information. ● Mailing a Business Account Information Request Form (BAIR): This method was successful in providing aggregated electricity-use data. However, the original form had to be modified in order to transmit the type of information being requested (see A.2 for a comparison of the original and modified forms)Assessing the Benchmarking guide: feedback on the data collection process5.1 BC Hydro: Electricity data11Option 2 (directed to non-BC Hydro account holders)It would be beneficial to provide further steps here as to how to access account histories as a property owner/manager listed as “℅”, even if it is similar to account holders. Otherwise one is required to fill out a CAIR (we weren’t able to access data as a property manager/owner so we followed the latter). However, this process can also be misleading due to the following:● Under the instructions of aggregating data for 3rd parties it is mentioned that MURB’s with less than 20 units must have all account holders fill out the CAIR form, and for those with more than 20 units an approval of the strata council is required instead of the CAIR form. However, later on there is a tip that states that the easiest way to obtain energy-use data for residential buildings over 20 units is actually to fill out the CAIR form (see A.3 for a copy of the CAIR form partially filled by us).● For the first page of the form, in the “Details of requested information”, it is unclear who the account holder should be and exactly what information to provide to represent more than 20 units from a single building. The major complaints and worries when asking the residents helping us fill out the forms were 1) that they did not want to spend time having every unit fill out a form and 2) that their private information would be disclosed to the public.Using Portfolio ManagerThe steps outlined in the draft benchmarking guide are quite clear with regards to the portfolio manager usage. These are the comments we have:● The easiest way to upload data to the portfolio manager is by using the provided templates. In order to successfully upload the data, the exact start and end dates for every monthly input (for at least 12 months) are required. This is not provided with the raw data, so we had to assume that each reading started and ended on the first and last day of each month (See A.4 for an example entry).Our recommendationIn order to make the steps easier for building owners/managers to follow, we would suggest the following:● Define who would fall under a non-key holder account category● Arrange a closer connection with BC Hydro employees so that they are aware of the benchmarking process and people calling to ask information on requesting aggregated energy-use● Provide a single form that is specific to the purpose of requesting aggregated energy-use data, as well as an example of a filled-out form. 12Extra comments and notesRequesting raw data and processing● In our case, we were successful in obtaining energy-use data because we had guidance from the City, and we had a specific BC Hydro liaison who was able to process our request personally. Many building owners/managers would not have access to these resources.● It took 8 weeks (43 business days) for us to obtain the aggregated electricity-use data from the day we requested it to the day we received it. A shorter wait-time period may encourage the process of benchmarking.● The data received does not include units and had to be processed in order to function on a spreadsheet and for analysis purposes (see A.5 for an example of the BC Hydro raw data) ● There is also an option for uploading ‘bulk’ data. We attempted to use this option to upload data for multiple properties, using the building coop/strata as the owner and the various buildings as different properties. This process requires the use of a template, which is provided by Portfolio Manager. However, the template only allows for basic building information to be submitted and it is not entirely clear how to upload consumption data for several buildings at the same time. Green power● There is an option to register energy source as “green power” on Portfolio Manager but the benchmarking guide only mentions this option and is not completely explained. Given that most of the energy provided by BC Hydro comes from hydroelectric dams, there might be an inclination for building owners/managers to click this option. ● When clicking the “green power” option, a dialogue box appears which requires the person inputting the data to provide information on the quantity of energy supplied as renewable, the percentage of renewable it belongs to and the location of the energy source (see A.6 for a screenshot). It might be beneficial here to provide a bit more context to hydroelectric energy in BC and how to fill out the details requested when checking the box. 135.2 City of Vancouver: Water dataThe step by step procedures are shown in the draft benchmarking guide to retrieve water data from the City of Vancouver. It would be much instructive to revise steps in detail with screenshots for option A (Obtain data online using “Property Services” account) as A.7.1)  Log in > Click on account number or register a new one > Go to ‘readings’ tab on the top > Collect     the consumption data from each reading meter 2) Log in > Click on account number or register a new account > Go to ‘readings’ tab on the top >    Collect the consumption data from each reading meter 143) Log in > Click on account number or register a new one > Go to ‘readings’ tab on the top > Collect          the consumption data from each reading meter4) Log in > Click on account number or register a new one > Go to ‘readings’ tab on the top > Collect     the consumption data from each reading meter15Our recommendationIn order to make the steps easier for building owners/managers to follow, we would suggest the following:● Arrange a closer connection with other departments in the City of Vancouver so that they are aware of the benchmarking process and people calling to ask information could easily obtain the information● Indicate utilities@vancouver.ca in the benchmarking guide so that one would know where to make a request Extra comments and notesRequesting raw data and processing● Since there is no instruction for a third party in the benchmarking guide, we had to proceed in different routes. ○ We had to first call 3-1-1 → explain the situation → email utilities@vancouver.ca with all the addresses of the interested buildings and the time frame that we are interested in. ○ Due to privacy issues, the Utilities Billing department requested an approval of our community partner, the City of Vancouver. With this approval, the Utilities Billing department provided us with water consumption data and the billing costs according to the requested account numbers. The privacy issue was resolved well in this case because we had access to a specific community partner in the City of Vancouver to help us gain water consumption history. ● Privacy issue would not be a barrier if the Utilities Billing department is aware of the energy benchmarking process16There is an indirect link provided from the draft benchmarking guide (See A.7 screenshot) that mentions detailed steps in obtaining gas data. However, the following steps could be incorporated into the benchmarking guide to facilitate instructions with clear visuals in creating accounts and gaining access to past gas consumption data. As a first step, an online account will need to be created in order to gain access to past gas consumption data.1)  Access the following link, which would direct to the registration page if the account holder      doesn’t have an online account.    https://accounts.fortisbc.com/hcl-axon.com~iem~cssweb/login.xhtml2) During the registration process, an account number will be required. This can be obtained from the      current bill’s left hand corner indicated “account number”. 5.3 Fortis BC: Gas data173) This is a verification process where either a balance from the last statement, or a phone     number linked to the account holder can proceed with this.4) Both sections require additional information to gain access to the online account.5) Once an account has been created, the summary page will show gas consumption for the past    3 months along with the past year’s consumption month with all in units of GJ. 186) With this, under the “billing” tab, one will be able to export billing information as an excel file.7) There will be an option of either choosing 6 months, 1 year, 2 years and custom settings for the      duration of the consumption data.8) With this information, values can be inputted into the online Portfolio Manager to calculate GHG emissions.19Our recommendationIn order to make the steps easier for building owners/managers to follow, we would suggest the following:● Arrange a closer connection with Fortis BC employees so that they are aware of the benchmarking process and people calling to ask information on requested past gas consumption data would be readily available● The data received should include units, labelled months, and billing cycles● Direct steps with visuals should be showcased onto the benchmarking guide rather than a screenshot of an indirect link to the Fortis BC website on benchmarkingExtra comments and notes● In our case, when creating an online account as a third party, the Fortis BC website identification required a recent bill to gain access to past billing data. However, the bill that we had obtained from our community partner was outdated for more than 4 months ago. ● Fortis BC did not respond to any phone calls nor email communication so we were not able to obtain gas consumption data for this project2021ConclusionThe City’s benchmarking initiative is promising and will hopefully enable part of the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from 2007 levels. Aside from being a useful monitoring tool, benchmarking allows building managers to see how much energy and water their buildings are consuming, while at the same time providing useful information to the City for the purpose of creating better energy policies and emission-reduction incentives. Our preliminary analysis of electricity, water and gas consumption along with heat loss information will be a useful stepping stone in developing and launching zero-emission building strategies, Green building re-zoning policies, introducing new mandatory GHG emissions targets and further incentives and regulations to meet the City’s Green building initiative. With proper implementation, City of Vancouver can utilize benchmarking and become a role model in urban sustainability and public engagement in city planning. Our recommendation is to make the data collection process more accessible to third parties. One way to do this is by advising utility companies on the benchmarking initiative in order to facilitate data requests from building managers. Another idea could be to produce a tutorial for uploading data onto Energy Star Portfolio Manager to facilitate the process for third parties. Additionally, the use of thermal imaging as part of the benchmarking process could increase the public’s understanding of heat loss in buildings and act as a visual reference to attract the public’s interest. We believe gaining support from the public along with active participation is important for the future of benchmarking.We hope this document can be of use to the City and can improve benchmarking for implementation at a city-wide scale. Acknowledgements: T. Ivanochko (UBC), S. Harris (UBC), R. Stull Lab (UBC) (R. Howard, T. Chui, M. Campbell), M. Lang (City of Vancouver), P.D. Krause (False Creek South Neighbourhood Association), False Creek Residents, J. Morton (City Studio)AppendixA.1 Excerpt from City of Vancouver Draft Benchmarking Guide displaying steps to obtain aggregated     energy-use data from BC Hydro for MURB’s.Option 1Option 222A.2 Comparison of the original BAIR form (left) and the modified form submitted (right)23Smith Kim(604)123-4567A.3 CAIR form, partially filled.A.4 Sample Portfolio Manager electricity-data entryHypothetical start and end dates24A.5 BC Hydro raw dataA.6 Green power input boxNo unitsImproper spreadsheet formatting25A.7  Instructions on obtaining gas data  from the City’s Draft Benchmarking Guide26


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