Energy Star Portfolio Manager

The benefits of ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

Thursday, May 28, 2015

More municipalities have begun to track and assess energy and water use in commercial buildings. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is one interactive tool that has been helping building owners and managers save money across their entire portfolio.

TD is the first financial institution to fully implement the program in Canada and the United States. Here, Roger Johnson, senior vice-president of enterprise real estate at TD, explains how the program has allowed the Bank to compare itself to the industry as a whole, while attaining individual benchmarks and overall building performance.

Why did you choose Energy Star Portfolio Manager?

When Energy Star Portfolio Manager (ESPM) became available in Canada, we made the strategic decision to adopt this platform for our entire North American real estate portfolio. At the time, ESPM had already been very successful in the United States, with over 300,000 buildings—nearly 40 per cent of U.S. commercial building space in the system. Today, it has more. As the only international standardized energy benchmarking platform endorsed by both Canadian and U.S. governments, it was the clear choice for benchmarking our North American enterprise.

Once you have acquired the information from Energy Star Portfolio Manager, how do you use it to your advantage?

With 2,600 locations in Energy Star, there is an incredible diversity and history to our building stock. We use ESPM to identify whether a building is performing as it is expected to by comparing it to similar buildings in our portfolio. In addition to identifying outliers, we use ESPM to determine if our new building designs, and recent retrofits, are having the meaningful and intended impact on our energy use.

But what really stands out is that ESPM also allows us to compare our performance to the industry at large and hundreds of thousands of buildings through our Energy Star scores. This allows us to compete against a dynamic baseline. As our industry improves, so does the baseline.

Does managing and tracking the efficiency of older buildings pose any challenges compared to newer branches?

In terms of using Energy Star, there is no difference between tracking an old or new building. Energy Star includes building age, but on a fundamental level, new and old buildings both use the same utilities and have the same inputs.

There is a difference in how “easy” it is to identify the cause of an underperformance. Newly constructed buildings are easier to diagnose simply because you have the full set of drawings and the building has been completed to your design specifications. It can still be challenging, but we have a good foundation to work from. Older or acquired buildings may not come with the same information, and it often takes additional effort to identify root causes for poor performance. But once the cause (or causes) are identified, it is possible that an old underperforming location could outperform some more contemporary buildings after it is retrofitted.

How did you build your team to fix inefficiencies in all your buildings?

We built our team by becoming a vested organization, aligning our facility management partner with our own team to create shared desired outcomes, which includes environmental leadership. This has allowed us to bring together our best ideas, identify new opportunities and work in partnership towards driving environmental efficiencies. In our vested model, we are jointly accountable to reduce energy, water and waste. Energy Use Intensity is one of our key metrics we use to determine if we are successful or not.

How has your overall building performance improved?

TD is committed to being an environmental leader. We were the first North American bank to go carbon neutral, and now the first financial institution to track all owned corporate and retail buildings in Canada and the U.S. using Energy Star Portfolio Manager. Through Energy Star Portfolio Manager, TD is advancing our building intelligence from an overall portfolio view to create specific performance targets for each individual building based on the location’s age, design and use. There is a long way to go, but we believe this focus on building intelligence will help us further identify and undertake energy efficiency projects.

A great example of how this approach has achieved results is our Mount Laurel campus and U.S. headquarters. By working in partnership with our facility management team, we were able to drastically improve our energy performance through building retrofits, and then maintain those savings through the ongoing monitoring of the campus. All three buildings experienced energy savings, with TD University cutting energy consumption by 37.2 per cent and making the top 10 most improved buildings in Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Battle of the Buildings National Building Competition.

While we don’t expect to see that magnitude of energy savings at all of our locations, we do expect that through use of Energy Star and collaborating with our FM partners, we will see our performance improve year upon year.

Roger Johnson, senior vice-president of enterprise real estate for TD Bank, oversees the bank’s global portfolio of 25MM square feet of space. This includes more than 2,200 branches in Canada and the U.S. and more than 10MM square feet of corporate office space. Roger and his team are responsible for retail branch distribution strategy as well as the optimization of the corporate space. 

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