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CaGBC gets commercial real estate owners to disclose energy consumption data


September 30, 2019
By Peter Saunders
Peter Saunders
DisclosureImage courtesy CaGBC

As commercial real estate is a highly competitive business, you might expect property owners to keep their cards close to their chests. A new initiative, however, has encouraged three major players with buildings across Canada—QuadReal Property Group, Triovest and Concert Properties—to publicly share their portfolios’ energy and water consumption data, using the Canadian Green Building Council’s (CaGBC’s) new Disclosure data visualization tool.

They volunteered, in fact, to participate in CaGBC’s Disclosure Challenge earlier this year. Now they are starting to reap the benefits by gaining insight into their buildings’ operations in comparison to others. Having tracked nearly 500 buildings, comprising some 75 million square feet, they can now better pinpoint where to invest in energy-efficiency retrofits.

“By making their data public, these participants are providing intelligence that will help improve the efficiency of the whole industry,” says Akua Schatz, CaGBC’s vice-president (VP) of market engagement and advocacy.

Based on the Energy Star Portfolio Manager interactive energy management tool, Disclosure itself is a recent development, just released earlier this year.

“We started to develop the challenge late last year and brought on key participants, who had to be willing to disclose all of their information,” Schatz explains. “In two cases, they were already using Energy Star Portfolio Manager, but we have further customized Disclosure to help them visualize the performance of their buildings.”

For CaGBC’s purposes, the project is intended to help pave the way for national energy-consumption benchmarking.

“The challenge has created healthy competition with respect to energy data collection,” says Schatz. “We will share some of the findings this fall and then get more participants on board next year. Our overall goal is to get the Disclosure Challenge to track one billion square feet of commercial real estate.”