Measuring Energy Efficiency of Buildings - Saving Money and Our Environment

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Measuring the energy efficiency of buildings is becoming increasingly necessary as we discover that the annual commercial building sector in Canada accounts for 50 to 60 per cent of greenhouse gas production. This is an extremely high number; however there is something that can be done to reduce this impact and there are tools available to help building managers and owners tackle the task of measurement.
You Can't Manage what you Don't Measure
As a building owner, operator or manager, the first step is to accept that you need to see improvements in the energy efficiency and performance of your buildings. This may be driven by the desire to save money, free up resources, attract top tenants or talent, expand operations or invest in new technologies. Green work environments and offices can boost productivity, satisfy employees, reduce sick leave and absenteeism and become a great recruitment tool.  Green buildings can draw top tenants who are looking for the perfect place to set up shop.
When you do your research to find out what your options are, you'll find LEED® at the top of the list. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the international benchmark and mark of excellence for green buildings. Businesses and organizations  around the world use LEED to increase the efficiency of their buildings.  With LEED, building owners can get the tools they need to have an immediate impact on  building performance and ultimately reap financial benefits from their wise investment in green buildings design.
LEED's rating systems include new buildings, commercial interiors and existing buildings. Ongoing  performance measurement and reporting of energy and water use is an integral part of LEED Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (EB: O&M) which helps owners and operators measure and ultimately maximize operational efficiency while reducing any environmental impacts. 
In addition to LEED, Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) has a super tool called ENERGY STAR®. This is a free, interactive energy management tool that lets users track and assess energy and water consumption across entire portfolios. In a secure online environment it can generate normalized energy use intensity values, GHG emission metrics and a percentile energy performance score.
So as you can see, technology can play a very important role in getting your buildings up to a greener standard. Implementing the use of these tools can save you more than your initial investment in a very short period of time, and it will continue to deliver energy and cost savings over time. Measuring your building's energy efficiency can be as easy as entering data and making changes to the way you operate. We all want a greener way to live, work and play.                        
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