Development of Energy Benchmarks Using Mandatory Energy and Emissions Reporting Data: Ontario Post-Secondary Residences
Governments are playing an increasingly active role in reducing carbon emissions, and a key strategy has been the introduction of mandatory energy disclosure policies. These policies have resulted in a significant amount of publicly available data, providing researchers with a unique opportunity to develop location-specific energy and carbon emission benchmarks from this data set, which can then be used to develop building archetypes and used to inform urban energy models. This study presents the development of such a benchmark using the public reporting data. The data from Ontario’s Ministry of Energy for Post-Secondary Educational Institutions are being used to develop a series of building archetype dynamic building loads and energy benchmarks to fill a gap in the currently available building database. This paper presents the development of a benchmark for college and university residences within ASHRAE climate zone 6 areas in Ontario using the mandatory disclosure energy and greenhouse gas emissions data. The methodology presented includes data cleaning, statistical analysis, and benchmark development, and lessons learned from this investigation are presented and discussed to inform the development of future energy benchmarks from this larger data set. The key findings from this initial benchmarking study are: (1) the importance of careful data screening and outlier identification to develop a valid dataset; (2) the key features used to develop a model of the data are building age, size, and occupancy schedules and these can be used to estimate energy consumption; and (3) policy changes affecting the primary energy generation significantly affected greenhouse gas emissions, and consideration of these factors was critical to evaluate the validity of the reported data.