It is frequently said that what gets measured gets managed, but we also often hear the saying that what is truly important cannot be measured. So which is true? Well, both – life is full of contradictions. Deal with it!
Many jurisdictions, both nationally and sub-nationally, have been advancing efforts to increase energy reporting requirements. Here in Ontario, O.Reg 397/11 was created in 2009, requiring municipalities, schools and hospitals to report annually on their energy use and to develop an energy conservation plan outlining how they will advance their energy saving opportunities. Millions of dollars in energy savings have been realized as a result.
The Province then extended these efforts to the private sector. O.Reg 506/18 (Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking or EWRB) was enacted requiring private buildings to report on their energy use, allowing us to determine where the greatest energy saving opportunities exist in the commercial sector.
It was therefore disheartening to see the Province propose changes to the EWRB regulation removing reporting requirements for buildings below 100,000 ft2. That would reduce over half of the buildings required to report through the program. It also means that utilities would not be required to provide those buildings with their aggregated energy use data, making it more difficult for those buildings to manage their energy use and identify opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The rationale for this change? To save those businesses about $300, the estimated cost of compiling this energy use data. Experiences in Europe and in the United States has shown a positive correlation between EWRB and energy conservation. In addition to the energy conservation and greenhouse gas reduction reductions, the EWRB also contributes to local economic development.
The Clean Air Council has provided a submission to the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, asking them to reconsider the proposed amendment to O.Reg 506/18 and keep existing EWRB requirements in place. A saving of $300 to expend more energy dollars and emit more greenhouse gases is not a strategy that will enable us to rise to the challenge and opportunity that climate change presents. To weaken the policies and regulations supporting energy conservation and climate action does nothing to truly help Ontario residents and businesses.
More information on the EWRB submission is available here.
By Gabriella Kalapos, Executive Director, Clean Air Partnership.