New environmental targets for commercial buildings

Vancouver ? Close to 17,000 commercial buildings in British Columbia could soon be energy efficient thanks to a recently signed agreement between the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, BC Hydro and the Building Owners and Managers Association of BC (BOMA).

The agreement sets out targets and outlines a strategy to support BOMA BC in driving members and non-members to make commercial buildings more sustainable and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

?This agreement will not only reduce emissions from commercial buildings, which account for about five per cent of B.C.?s total annual greenhouse gas emissions, but will also create new jobs and economic growth for British Columbians,? said Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Blair Lekstrom. ?This is just one example of how we are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one-third by 2020 and helping to make our province electricity self sufficient by 2016.?

As a first step, BC Hydro is funding an energy manager for BOMA to help building operators identify and implement conservation solutions.

?The electricity consumption of the commercial building sector is estimated at just over 4,100 gigawatt hours a year,? said Bob Elton, BC Hydro President and CEO. ?BOMA has taken the lead in helping its members increase energy efficiency. We hope to build on the work BOMA has already done and increase annual savings in this sector from 20 gigawatt hours to 55.?

The agreement sets out a six-year plan, which focuses on developing a simple process for building owners and managers to access funding from the federal government, Power Smart and other utilities, along with creating a tracking tool that allows commercial buildings to measure energy savings and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan also outlines educational initiatives to raise conservation awareness amongst building operators and tenants and calls for BC Hydro and government support of alternative energy projects that reward tenants for achieving best practices in energy efficiency and emission reductions.

?This agreement aligns perfectly with what we currently offer through our national environmental certification program BOMA BESt,? said Paul LaBranche, BOMA BC Executive Vice President. ?More than 200 buildings in B.C. are a part of this program and we look forward to working with both members and non-members to help improve the environmental performance of buildings throughout the province.?

BC Hydro Power Smart provides numerous programs to help businesses realize the benefits of energy efficiency.

The Product Incentive Program offers financial incentives for the replacement of inefficient technologies with new energy efficient products.

The Power Smart Partner Program provides large customers with tools and financial resources to implement a sustainable energy conservation management approach.

In May 2008, the Province released the Energy Efficient Buildings Strategy: More Action, Less Energy. The strategy aims to transform the market to achieve an energy-efficiency target for commercial and institutional buildings to reduce energy demand by 9% per square meter by 2020, thereby significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. British Columbians will benefit from net energy savings of approximately $3.4 billion over and above capital costs between now and 2020.

Founded in 1911, BOMA BC represents the commercial buildings industry at both the provincial and civic level. BOMA?s 450 members own or manage over 80 million square feet of downtown and suburban commercial properties and facilities with an approximate value over $8 billion. BOMA BC is affiliated with both BOMA Canada and BOMA International.