Canada takes ambitious steps towards energy efficiency

Renovation, investments, energy efficiency, energy performanceEcoEnergy is an incentive programme launched in 2011 by the Canadian government, aiming at optimizing energy consumption in different sectors of the economy. It plans investments of 195 billion dollars from 2011 to 2016, with a view to drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving significant energy savings.

A five-pillar agenda for limiting energy use

The first pillar concerns the energy efficiency of buildings. By providing training opportunities and organizing awareness programmes, it aims at developing buildings running on “clean” energy and improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings. To that end, the RNCan (Natural Resources Canada, ministry responsible for environmental and energy policies) wishes to encourage the implementation of the 2011 National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB), in particular its minimum energy efficiency requirements. RNCan also designed a national energy benchmarking tool for buildings so as to enable building owners to assess and compare their building’s energy performance with that of similar buildings.

The second pillar aims at increasing housing energy efficiency. Under this programme, the government puts the stress on renovation works. The rating system EnerGuide makes it possible for households to assess their home’s energy efficiency as well as the benefits associated with renovation.  The EcoEnergy Retrofit – Homes Programme then makes building owners eligible for a government grant up to 5,000€ for the undertaking of renovation works. Other initiatives are worth noting, such as the ENERGY STAR® for New Homes label or the creation of the corresponding R-2000 standard.

The EcoENERGY Efficiency for Equipment Standards and Labelling program makes up the third pillar. The government hopes to eliminate the most energy-intensive products from the market and promote energy efficient equipment.

The fourth pillar is devoted to the industrial sector. RNCan carries out training sessions, awareness programmes as well as support actions in order to help manufacturers achieve energy savings.

The fifth and last pillar concerns passenger and business cars. Again, through training and awareness programmes, RNCan helps private individuals choose less polluting cars and freight companies renew their fleet.

Example: the 3M Canada plant, beneficiary of the programme

The adhesive tape manufacturing plant 3M Canada received a 155,000-dollar-grant to support its energy management efforts. This 2009 pilot project is part of a US-Canada negotiation process aimed at supporting cooperation on energy efficiency issues. Over the past three years the plant improved its energy performance by over 15% and was therefore granted an ISO (International Standard Organization) 50001 certification for energy management systems.  It also reached a level of excellence awarded by the RNCan“At 3M Canada, energy efficiency and energy management is a major priority in our offices, research laboratories, and especially in our manufacturing facilities. We are sincerely thankful to Natural Resources Canada for all their support.”, said Paul Madden, CEO of 3M Canada. An good example energy consumption optimization, presented by the government as the model to which most consumer companies should strive to achieve the ecoENERGY program.

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