Hotter summers; less-predicable weather; fuel cost increases; new technology; a confusing array of incentive programs: what to make of it all? What can co-ops do to help the environment and help members save money? There’s not a single solution, but CHF BC believes understanding energy use and preparing for change is the first step.
CHF BC’s Planning & Renewal team is doing its part by helping housing co-ops track energy use using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Reach out to email@example.com to get started!
Why track and compare your co-op's energy use? This information helps you understand how your co-op is doing -- so you can make better decisions and a case for change, whether you’re looking at potentially upgrading how you operate or wanting to show off the successes you’ve already had.
Benchmarking can help with your capital and asset management planning, offer data to support applications for government support, and assist with meeting internal and external reporting goals (e.g. action plans under the Federal Community Housing Initiative).
From time to time, there are also incentives available to co-ops that pursue benchmarking!
ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a free, interactive tool, widely used across Canada and the United States to track energy use.
ENERGY STAR is a US government-backed program run by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy. It focuses on energy efficiency and strives to provide information that consumers and businesses can use to make informed decisions. It’s probably best known for its voluntary labelling program for consumer goods, but it also operates Portfolio Manager, an online energy tracking and benchmarking tool for businesses, commercial and industrial buildings, and multi-family housing.
The Energy Star Score is a measure of how well a property is performing relative to similar properties. Scores are based on data from national surveys on building energy use and range from 1 to 100, with 100 representing the best performers and 50 indicating the national median. Scores account for difference in size, location, and operational conditions.
Learn more about ENERGY STAR Star Portfolio Manager
CHF BC helps co-ops set up an ENERGY STAR profile and link utility accounts to the tracking platform. It's voluntary and it’s easy. Even better, it's FREE!
CHF BC can work together with your co-op to complete a couple of utility company forms and enter property information into the system (e.g. gross floor area, type of parking structure, common buildings, whether there’s on-site daycare, etc.). Once the basics are in place, utilities (BC Hydro or FortisBC) can automatically upload aggregated property data to Portfolio Manager.
Since all the information is blended, data from individual homes remains anonymous.
In most cases, we only need co-op authorization and a few recent utility bills to get started.
Reach out to our Energy Benchmarking Program by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
It will depend a little on how ambitious your co-op is. The basic information relates to energy use, but users can also manually enter other information related to water use and waste tracking.
Once setup is complete, Portfolio Manager can provide the following*:
* This is a general list of information available through Portfolio Manager. Actual data and performance of the platform may vary based on provided and available information.
Note: CHF BC is not currently able to help with manual entry of utility, water or waste data.
Is your housing co-op eligible? Most co-ops will be!
Interested housing co-ops should meet these requirements:
Additional restrictions may apply based on a co-op’s utility company and/or municipality. CHF BC can only assist co-ops that are members of the federation.
Data for individual households remains anonymous because consumption for the whole property is grouped (or aggregated) together. CHF BC, ENERGY STAR®, and co-op organizations cannot see see or access individuals’ energy use (consumption) data.
Here are some additional resources: