Lighting, Computers, HVAC Promise Most Energy Savings in Canadian Commercial Sector

Credit: Ian Muttoo, Flickr Creative Commons

Canada could reduce stationary energy consumption by up to 15% by 2035, driven in part by changes to lighting, computer and HVAC equipment in the commercial sector, a new report finds. Doing More with Less: Energy Efficiency Potential in Canada, was recently published by the Conference Board of Canada, an independent, not-for-profit research organization focused on economics, public policy, and organizational performance.

The CBoC’s report looked at recent studies that attempt to quantify Canada’s energy potential, and used that information to determine what energy-intensity improvements would mean for future energy consumption. One of the findings was that lighting, computer and HVAC equipment “hold the most promise” for energy savings in the commercial sector. This means that companies willing to focus on these areas should be able to significantly reduce energy consumption.

The report also suggests that electricity and natural gas utilities in the country will likely play a significant role in improving energy efficiency, especially through incentive programs to install energy-efficient equipment, conducting energy audits, and performing retrofits.

Looking at planned utility spending, the CBoC report says that the utilities referenced in the studies they used expect to invest approximately $2.24 billion on demand side management programming between 2017 and 2024 — with the caveat that the actual investment will probably be much higher. Time will tell how Canadian utilities respond, and whether businesses in the country can expect increased energy improvement assistance.

Canada ranks as one of the most energy-intensive OECD countries, the think tank points out. However, electricity in the country currently comes from sources that are approximately 80% renewable or very low emissions, according to the CBoC. Those sources could be close to 100% renewable by 2035, their analysis says. The CBoC doesn’t anticipate energy demand lowering in absolute terms in the future, but sees potential for energy demand growth to be inhibited through improvements to efficiency across the board.

Earlier this summer, a Canadian manufacturing plant received more than $140,000 for energy conservation efforts from a community-owned utility services provider, and the country’s largest communications company began offering energy management as a service.

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