Commercial and large residential buildings in Toronto, and perhaps Ontario, could become more energy efficient in the near future.  On July 7, 2015, the City Council of Toronto approved a mandate for large building owners to publicly report and benchmark the energy consumption of their buildings.  The requirement is expected to drive down the City’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which can help bring them closer to their goal to reduce GHG emissions by 80 per cent from 1990 levels by 2050.

It is understood that improving the energy efficiency of large buildings is an effective way of addressing climate change, since the energy used to heat, cool, and run buildings contributes to approximately half of a city’s GHG emissions.  By requiring building owners to track and record the energy consumption of their buildings, this mandate has the potential to motivate owners to assess a building’s energy performance and undergo energy efficiency retrofits.  Public-wide access to this data can also help in the design of better conservation programs and motivate market transformation.

Based on roughly 3,000 buildings covering 540 million square feet (50 million square metres), the mandate has the potential to save $1.9 billion in utility costs, lower energy use by 21 million eMWh, and reduce CO2e emissions by 3.3 million tonnes by 2035.

Prior to adoption, Toronto had been consulting with the Province of Ontario on a potential Energy Reporting and Benchmarking requirement.  Therefore the City will wait until December 31, 2015 to see if it will be adopted province-wide before developing a by-law.