In recent years a number of major U.S. cities have followed in the footsteps of many European countries in implementing energy reporting requirements (ERRs) which require owners and managers of large commercial and/or multi-residential buildings to track and report energy and water consumption. Recently, Toronto City Council pledged its support for further design and implementation research on the feasibility of an ERR initiative for large buildings in Toronto following a staff report issued in July, 2014. The staff report proposed that by benchmarking energy usage and publicly disclosing results, ERRs can promote more efficient use of resources, unearth energy savings and facilitate targeted energy conservation initiatives. Based on the research outcomes and the results of the stakeholder engagement process that will follow, Toronto City Council will be presented with a proposed by-law and implementation plan in 2015.
ERRs have faced opposition from critics on the basis that complying with ERRs is a time consuming and duplicative process and further, that the data collected is not often analyzed effectively or presented fairly. When designing ERRs, a balance must be struck between effective and consistent electronic data collection that also takes into account privacy law obligations of owners and managers. Moreover, the ultimate value of any ERR initiative will depend largely on accurately collecting the relevant data as well as fairly analyzing and cross-comparing such data.
More information on how ERRs work and examples of ERRs in action in the U.S. and other countries can be found in this background report prepared by the Toronto Atmospheric Fund. Continue to check back for updates on any further developments on ERR initiatives that may be coming to Toronto.