U.S. and Canada Renew Building Emissions Agreement

The Environmental Protection Agency and Natural Resources Canada signed a new agreement to address building energy efficiency and emissions, the EPA announced in a press release Tuesday. The Cooperative Research and Development Agreement recommits the two agencies to enhancing the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool, a free, online energy, water, waste and emissions measurement and tracking platform for commercial, institutional and multifamily buildings. 

“‘Improving energy efficiency in buildings is essential to achieving our ambitious climate targets,’” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in the press release. “‘Today’s agreement with Natural Resources Canada will continue a 10-year research partnership between our agencies, empowering American and Canadian building owners to reduce energy use, save on costs and cut climate pollution.’” 

According to the press release, the tool has been used to measure and track energy use in more than 26,000 Canadian buildings, which is equivalent to one-third of the country’s commercial space. In the U.S., more than 275,000 buildings, equal to one-quarter of commercial buildings, use Portfolio Manager, making it the industry-leading benchmarking tool. Commercial buildings account for almost half of all energy consumption in the U.S., costing more than any other sector of the economy at $300 billion per year. Buildings that have their energy use benchmarked on a regular basis reduce their energy consumption by 2.4 percent a year, an EPA study shows. 

The new agreement includes 1-100 Energy Star scores for common building types in Canada, a new greenhouse gas emission comparison feature, and updated Canadian metrics and French content, the press release stated. Energy Star scores allow users to compare their buildings’ energy use with similar buildings nationwide. According to the Energy Star website, a score of 50 represents median energy performance and a score of 75 or higher indicates top energy performance, making the building eligible for Energy Star certification.

‘“Canada and the United States are doubling down on climate action,’” said Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, in the EPA press release. “This agreement is another step we’re taking together towards a net-zero future.”