“I like seeing clear and tangible data from a measure we implemented that show a reduction in energy consumption and, ultimately, results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions.”
By Anthony Capkun
September 07, 2021 – “For large organizations, a dedicated energy manager is one of the best hires you can make,” says the IESO’s Carrie Aloussis, Senior Manager, Business Strategy and Content, adding that its Energy Manager program is the largest of its kind in North America, helping to save energy and drive Ontario’s competitiveness.
One of those dedicated energy managers is Benjamin Ratcliffe of the Peel District School Board, one of five 2019 Energy Manager award recipients.
Working with the IESO’s Save on Energy team, Energy Manager Canada interviewed Benjamin to learn how he became an energy manager in the first place, to discuss his successes, and to understand the importance of energy managers and proactive energy management to any organization.
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Benjamin Ratcliffe, Save on Energy Institutional Sector Energy Manager of the Year
Meet Benjamin, who invited the students of the Peel District School Board to become mini-energy managers, sharing with them school energy data so the students could see their impact on energy use and how they can make a difference.
Energy Manager Canada: How did you get into the field of energy management and/or how did you become an energy manager in your organization?
BENJAMIN: I attended the Sustainable Energy & Building Technology program—a 3-year course at Humber College—where I learned the fundamentals of energy management, energy efficiency and conservation, and sustainable energy generation. This program gave me the knowledge to be hired as a utility data analyst with the Peel District School Board in July 2015, where I have held progressively more responsible positions as our energy management program evolved.
Energy Manager Canada: What excites you the most about the work you do in your organization?
BENJAMIN: I like seeing clear and tangible data from a measure we implemented that show a reduction in energy consumption and, ultimately, results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions. I like to say: “In my job, I get to save the world”.
Energy Manager Canada: What is a “win” (or some “wins”) of which you are really proud?
BENJAMIN: In truth, it is very difficult to select just one or two measures as we have undertaken many individual projects and tasks across a large portfolio of buildings [over 270 facilities].
One of the initiatives I am really proud of is the Energy Revealed program. Even though it has been hindered by the pandemic and students working remotely over the past year, this pilot program explores ways to make energy visible in schools. We built this program over the course of two years, bringing energy management to the attention of the school board and integrating energy management practices into more aspects of our overall operations.
Overall, we have saved over $3 million in energy costs on an annual basis, which we have invested in in-class staff and resources.
Some more information about Energy Revealed from the IESO:
Benjamin had a vision: “That every end user could see the effect of their energy use choices”. His supervisor agreed, with both noting it wasn’t possible to manage energy performance at so many buildings without involving more people.
Energy Revealed puts meters in the hands of students and aims to provide them with an understanding of the importance of energy efficiency to inspire them to take action to reduce energy use. Benjamin’s vision was that his schools “will have mini-energy managers, who will bring this home and influence their families with what they learn about energy use”.
In 2019, the successful Energy Revealed pilot garnered support from the local MPP and three participating municipalities and was celebrated by the Peel District School Board as well as partner organization Green Learning.
Energy Manager Canada: How did Energy Manager Support Services provided by Save on Energy help you to succeed at your organization?
BENJAMIN: As part of the support services, an EMSS advisor/account representative helped by providing useful and relevant training sessions—both in-person and webinars—which provide opportunities to consider new energy savings measures, to take a deep dive on a particular EM topic, and to hear what other energy managers are doing to save energy. My advisor was always available to offer support or an alternative perspective, or to bounce ideas off of.
Energy Manager Canada: Why is it important for organizations to have people like you?
BENJAMIN: Energy management is a win-win-win-win prospect for any organization.
The organization wins by reducing energy costs, which improves the bottom line. The people in the organization win through improved comfort and working conditions, which enhance productivity. The planet wins through reduced emissions because less energy is consumed by operations. And, of course, the energy manager wins with a well-paying job that helps save the world!
Energy managers = project success
“Energy managers have the strategic and technical expertise to recommend the energy-saving equipment and technologies that are right for your business,” added Carrie Aloussis. “They also have the skills to implement an energy management strategy for your business that supports project success and benefits a company’s bottom line.”
Learn more about the other 2019 Energy Manager award recipients:
• Jana Jamnicky of Cameco
• Olga Horolskaya of Canadian Tire Corp.
• Rod Michalko of Dunn Paper
• Cristina Guido of the Town of Caledon