UBC Graduate Research

Building energy benchmarking for UBC Neighbourhood MURBs Power, Joshua


To support the energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions laid out in UBC’s Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP)1 for residential neighbourhoods on campus, the University is developing a building energy benchmarking strategy. One of the first initiatives in the strategy is the implementation of a benchmarking pilot project that focuses on six multi-family rental buildings in UBC’s residential neighbourhood; five low-rise (four storey) and one high-rise (fourteen storey) building. The pilot was carried out with funding support from BC Hydro and in coordination with three municipalities: City of New Westminster, City of Surrey, and City of Victoria that are working on benchmarking their own building portfolios. Energy benchmarking is the process of comparatively assessing a building’s energy performance relative to other similar buildings. Many organizations, especially governing bodies, have turned towards benchmarking as a policy tool to overcome informational gaps that act as barriers to energy efficiency investment.2 For UBC’s multi-family buildings, energy benchmarking serves as a precursor for informed decision making around energy efficiency improvements. The main objectives of this study are to benchmark the six rental buildings in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (ESPM)3, an online energy management tool that allows for self-serve utility consumption tracking, and to identify an appropriate strategy for communicating the benchmarking results to building owners. Through the completion of the study, it was determined that benchmarking UBC’s multi-family buildings using ESPM is a straightforward process once utility data are acquired. The software is suitable for UBC since it is free and non-proprietary and has multiple connections to other UBC initiatives, such as the Residential Environmental Assessment Program (REAP)4 and SMARTTool5 reporting requirements. To communicate the results, a custom UBC-specific statement of energy performance was produced for each of the buildings in the study. The one-page report, intended for building owners, provides an overview of the building that includes: performance history, a breakdown of GHG emissions by source and an estimated breakdown of the building’s energy end-uses. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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