Canada’s political reality is oriented toward energy and carbon reduction to address environmental challenges. The introduction of carbon taxes, green incentives and social license has stimulated a range of energy efficiency initiatives. At the same time, the economy continues to struggle in a post-recession atmosphere. The challenge is to sift through the array of energy efficiency solutions to find those that align to provide the best return on investment.
In general, Canadians consume 40% of their energy in buildings, 30% in transportation and 30% in industry. Almost 50% of the GHG’s are created in the industry, commercial and institutional (ICI) buildings. As buildings are stationary assets that often have a 75-year life span, there is a clear need energy efficiency solutions for the places where we live work and play.
As the energy and sustainability industry matures, ICI building owners are presented with a plethora of alternatives with no cohesive strategy. An Energy and Sustainability (E&S) strategy needs to incorporate information from their existing facilities, financing options, implementation programs, make changes to operational processes and include verification that the solutions are delivering on expectations.
The first step for any significant energy efficiency initiative is an Energy Study to identify the right solutions for a specific facility. These studies can range from a simple online survey to a more detailed feasibility assessment to a full energy audit, and will provide the building owner/operator with an understanding of their energy consumption and the analyses required to build a business case to support the projects.
Energy efficiency initiatives break down into two major categories, energy reduction and energy production.
An E&S strategy and business cases need to take into account both sides of this story. Developing an energy model is expensive and often does not match reality. A detailed energy audit can involve significant effort to inventory and assess all energy consuming equipment.
Simulation is the bridge between facility benchmarking (which tells us how the facility is performing, but not what to do about it) and an expensive energy audit. By leveraging the historical energy consumption data, we can simulate the facility and assess the impact of introducing energy efficiency initiatives.
Simulation is a low-cost technique to develop the supporting materials to support a business case for energy efficiency initiatives.
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