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Regulation Proposal Notice:   EBR Registry Number:   012-6904
Large Building Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking
Ministry of Energy
Date Proposal loaded to the Registry:
February 25, 2016
Keyword(s):   Electricity  |  Water  |  Conservation
Related Act(s):   Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998
The comment period for this proposal is now over.
Description of Regulation:

The Ministry of Energy (ENERGY) is proposing to implement an Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking (EWRB) regulatory requirement for large buildings. The proposed regulation would proceed pending passage of proposed legislative amendments to the Green Energy Act, 2009 (Bill 135) introduced by the government on October 28, 2015 to enable the implementation of an EWRB initiative.

EWRB involves the ongoing review of a building’s energy and water consumption to determine how the building’s energy and water use performance is changing over time in comparison to itself and to other similar buildings.

Ontario’s government owned facilities and broader public sector organizations are already showing leadership by annually reporting their energy consumption and GHG emissions.

Similar reporting and benchmarking requirements have been in place across the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Asia for several years.

ENERGY is proposing to implement an EWRB initiative for commercial, multi-unit residential and some industrial buildings 50,000 square feet and above.

  • Building/property owners would be required to report energy, water, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as well as other building characteristic information to ENERGY on an annual basis.
  • ENERGY would disclose some of this information publicly and develop reports summarizing key findings.

ENERGY is proposing the following to address each policy element:

Building Types: Commercial, multi-unit residential buildings ≥50K sq ft to be included. Most industrial buildings, i.e. manufacturing facilities, and all agricultural facilities would not be included.

Annual Reporting: ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to be used to report building data on an annual basis, including monthly energy and water consumption (and performance data where available), GHG emissions, building characteristic information such as gross floor area. Phased-in over three years, starting with the largest buildings. First reporting deadline would be July 1, 2017 (pending passage of legislative amendments and regulation). Require electricity, natural gas and water utilities to make whole building, aggregated, consumption data available to building owners so they are able to comply with the requirement.

Annual Disclosure: Public disclosure (on Ontario’s Open Data website) one year after initial reporting year for each of the three phases. Some data will not be disclosed publicly (e.g. site/source energy use, total GHG emissions and gross floor area on a building by building basis).

Data Verification: Building owners would be required to confirm in Portfolio Manager that the reported data is accurate. Verification by a third party would not be required under the proposed regulation.

Reports: ENERGY to publish reports summarizing key data findings.

CDM Plans: No requirement for Conservation and Demand Management (CDM) Plans in initial years of reporting. ENERGY will consider requiring CDM Plans on a targeted basis in future years based on results.

Purpose of Regulation:

Large building owners can play an important role in helping Ontario meet its conservation and GHG reduction objectives through EWRB.

  • Buildings accounted for 19% of Ontario’s total GHG emissions in 2013.

Codes and standards regulate the energy consumption of new buildings, however, measures are needed to improve the efficiency of existing buildings.

The largest barrier to making existing buildings more efficient is that many building owners/managers do not measure and track energy performance.

Building owners/managers must first understand how much energy and water is being used in order to identify where improvements can be made.

Lack of publicly available building performance information prevents property and financial markets from comparing building performance and valuing efficient buildings, limiting market forces that can drive efficiency investments.

Reporting and disclosure is a low-cost market-based policy tool to help overcome these barriers.

This information can also reveal new insights about energy and water use patterns in the province to inform future policies and programs.

An EWRB initiative can have several benefits, including for:

Building Owners 
A large building EWRB initiative can help building owners: 

  • Better manage energy and water use and costs; 
  • Identify best practices and energy and water-saving opportunities; 
  • Set goals by providing a benchmark; 
  • Evaluate results by comparing to similar facilities across the province; 
  • Measure improvement over time; and 
  • Value energy efficient and water efficient buildings.

A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that buildings that continuously benchmarked as part of the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Program achieved a 7% improvement in energy consumption savings over a three year period. 

CivicAction's Race to Reduce, a voluntary challenge for the commercial office sector in the GTA, achieved a collective 12.1% energy reduction from 2010-2014 across 119 buildings.

Disclosure of building data allows the market to value efficiency in purchasing, leasing and lending decisions.

Government / Non-Government Organizations
ENERGY and other organizations would benefit from access to building energy consumption and water use information which could be used to inform future energy conservation, climate change, and water conservation initiatives.

Other Information:

Building Types
ENERGY is proposing to require commercial, multi-unit residential and some industrial buildings/properties (i.e., warehouses, industrial condominiums/malls and truck terminals) as defined by Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) codes that are 50,000 square feet and above to report to ENERGY on an annual basis (see appendix for building/property reporting and Gross Floor Area definitions).

  • MPAC is an independent, not-for-profit corporation that assesses and classifies all properties in Ontario according to the Assessment Act and regulations established by the Ontario Government

ENERGY is also proposing that the following buildings not be required to report (see Appendix 1 and Appendix 2 for a breakdown of proposed building types that ENERGY is proposing would be subject to the requirement and those that would not be subject to the requirement by MPAC code and PM building type):

  • Manufacturing, farm and agriculture facilities 
    Rationale: Cannot effectively benchmark building performance using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
  • Multi-unit residential buildings with fewer than 10 residential units 
    Rationale: An individual’s personal information could be identified through aggregate consumption information for buildings with fewer than 10 residential units.
  • Data centers and communication towers 
    Rationale: Cannot effectively benchmark building performance using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
  • Buildings currently reporting their energy and/or GHG emissions to the government under O.Reg 397/11, Ontario Facilities Energy Reporting Directive and O.Reg 452/09. 
    Rationale: Building owners are already required to report the same / significantly similar information to the Ontario Government.
  • Buildings that do not have a water meter (for reporting water only) 
    Rationale: Building owners cannot report water data if the required information cannot be collected through existing infrastructure.

It is also proposed that building owners can be eligible to receive temporary exemptions from reporting under the following circumstances:

  • The building is experiencing financial hardship (e.g. subject of a tax lien sale or foreclosure auction due to property tax arrearages, the building is controlled by a court appointed receiver, or the building has been acquired by a deed in lieu of foreclosure) 
    Rationale: Consumption would not accurately reflect the building’s efficiency, for example occupancy levels could be low and therefore misrepresent a buildings’ performance. 
  • Building has low occupancy, i.e., an average occupancy rate of less than 50% throughout the calendar year for which the reporting requirement was in place. 
    Rationale: Consumption would not accurately reflect the building’s efficiency.
  • Building is a new construction and the building’s certificate of occupancy was issued during the calendar year for which reporting was required. 
    Rationale: Consumption would not accurately reflect the building’s efficiency.

Annual Reporting and Disclosure

ENERY STAR Portfolio Manager
ENERGY is proposing that ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (PM) be used by building owners to report data to ENERGY. 

PM is a free, secure, web-based building rating tool created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that compares energy and water consumption, as well as GHG emissions, across a single building or a portfolio of buildings.

In August 2013, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) in collaboration with the U.S. EPA launched a major update of the tool for Canada that included Canadian source energy, GHG emissions factors, and weather data. The “Canadianized” version is managed by NRCan. 

PM is the tool of choice among U.S jurisdictions that have already passed benchmarking laws – 40% of U.S. commercial building space is already benchmarking using PM.

Data Elements
ENERGY is proposing that building owners report the data elements listed in Appendix 3 to ENERGY on an annual basis.

Data collected by ENERGY would be used to benchmark buildings in two ways: 

  • Some data can be disclosed publicly on Ontario’s Open Data website on a building-by-building basis so that building owners can compare their performance to other similar buildings. 
  • Some data can be aggregated, analyzed and published in reports so building owners can understand their building’s performance in the overall Ontario context.

ENERGY is planning to collect certain information from building owners, such as total energy consumption, that it does not plan to publicly disclose but is necessary to collect in order to conduct robust analysis on Ontario’s building stock.

To help building owners protect information they believe could harm their business if it were released publicly, ENERGY would deem for the purposes of section 17 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act that information that is not made publicly available is considered to have been supplied in confidence to the Minister.

Multi-Year Phase In
ENERGY is proposing that the requirement to report will be phased in over a three-year period according to the schedule below.

First reporting date of July 1, 2017 to allow building owners time to prepare for the requirement.

Building owners to report 1 year of data ending 6 months prior to the required reporting date:

  • Year 1: January 2016 – December 2016
  • Year 2: January 2017 - December 2017
  • Year 3: January 2018 - December 2018

Data would be publicly disclosed one year after the initial year of reporting for each of the three phases of reporting.

  • Year 1: Commercial /Institutional / Special /Industrial Buildings ≥ 250,000 square feet
  • Year 2: Commercial /Institutional / Special /Industrial Buildings, multi-unit residential buildings ≥ 100,000 square feet
  • Year 3: Commercial /Institutional / Special /Industrial Buildings, multi-unit residential buildings ≥ 50,000 square feet

Information Provided by Distributors

  • Electricity, natural gas and water utilities would be required to provide whole building, aggregated consumption information to building owners upon request so they can comply with reporting requirements.

Data Verification

  • Building owners would be required to confirm that the data has been accurately reported but would not be required to subject the data to third party verification.
  • Guidance materials would provide building owners with recommended approaches to verification, which could include using in-house expertise or third parties. 
  • Working with building owners, the government could undertake random audits of data to help ensure accuracy.


  • It is proposed that ENERGY will produce and make public reports that summarize key findings from the energy, water and GHG usage and performance data it collects. 
  • Other jurisdictions typically produce reports on an annual basis and best practices from jurisdictions such as New York, Chicago and Boston show that such reports help building owners, the government and organizations involved in improving building efficiency understand the building stock’s condition. 
  • Other jurisdictions and organizations such as the Institute for Market Transformation use this information to develop policies and programs that focus on building types that are the source for the most significant efficiency gains.

Public Consultation:

This proposal was posted for a 50 day public review and comment period starting February 25, 2016. Comments were to be received by April 15, 2016.

All comments received during the comment period are being considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry.

Please Note: All comments and submissions received have become part of the public record.

Other Public Consultation Opportunities:

ENERGY sought initial stakeholder feedback during consultations held from January 2015 to June 2015 on its Large Building Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking initiative. Stakeholder feedback has been incorporated into a revised proposal presented in this posting.

ENERGY is not planning any additional opportunities for comment outside of this posting.


Rebecca Teare
Policy Advisor
Ministry of Energy
Conservation and Renewable Energy Division
Conservation and Energy Efficiency Branch
Energy Conservation Policy
77 Grenville Street
5th Floor
Toronto Ontario
M7A 2C1
Phone: (416) 325-8628

Additional Information:

The documents linked below are provided for the purposes of enhancing public consultation.
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