Helping a crown corporation track GHG emissions at over 400 housing sites to honour its environmental commitments to future generations

BC Housing is a crown corporation working with a range of partners to increase affordable housing options for British Columbians in greatest need. Whether through emergency shelters, assisted living units, independent social housing or other housing solutions, BC Housing serves more than 85,000 units and households throughout the province.

 

"Handling an MT&R project of this size, with over 8,000 meters to monitor, really tested the work we have done in developing our database--and getting the data from the utilities in a standard electronic format was not easy. But in the end, our work is allowing BC Housing to dig down and mine the data for clues on where to focus their energy efficiency efforts. We have allowed them to really take the data to another level."

--Patricia Baker, Prism Engineering

Challenge

In addition to extensive energy auditing and energy upgrade work done for BC Housing, Prism has been helping them since 2008 with an ambitious environmental initiative--participation in the BC government's plan to reduce its greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions by 33% by 2020. In order to track GHG emissions and meet its obligations, BC Housing required a system to consolidate energy use histories and calculate emissions from energy consumption for over 8,000 fuel and electrical meters in the BC Housing portfolio across the province.

Solutions

Prism's monitoring, targeting and reporting (MT&R) database program helped consolidate the energy use at over 400 BC Housing sites across the province (containing approximately 1,300 fuel and 7,000 electrical meters). Prism's "Utility Accounting" tool allows BC Housing to:

  • compare energy performance between sites and identify locations of high energy use that require investigation
  • access easy-to-read consumption and cost summaries with comparisons to previous periods using innovative monitoring and targeting tools, such as cumulative sum (CUSUM) analysis
  • create flexible reports, including both individual and consolidated energy performance, as well as customized reports grouped by specific criteria
  • calculate energy savings achieved from prior energy retrofits, adjusted for the impact of weather
  • compare actual energy use against a target consumption rate
  • receive summary reports for budgeting and management purposes
  • report on GHG emissions
  • provide feedback on energy use to operations personnel

Results

Although utility accounting does not directly lead to energy savings (just as meters themselves don't save energy), the costs of MT&R can usually be justified by the energy saved by operational changes. Industry experience has shown typical energy savings of between 4% and 6% for companies that actively manage energy use through an MT&R system. In the case of BC Housing, information gathered from this utility accounting system provides valuable feedback to operational managers on the relative operational performance of each site. This helps them to identify the areas of greatest potential improvement. The information also gives staff direct feedback on which initiatives actually led to energy efficiencies, which encourages the ongoing conservation effort.