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Office of Energy Efficiency


Improving Energy Performance in Canada – Report to Parliament Under the Energy Efficiency Act For the Fiscal Year 2008-2009

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Chapter 6: Co-operation


This chapter describes Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan’s) co-operation with provincial and territorial governments and internationally on efficiency and alternative energy (EAE) during the reporting period. Examples of program co-operation on specific EAE initiatives are in the “Key Achievements” sections in earlier chapters.

Municipal governments and agencies participate in NRCan’s EAE measures as clients (for training workshops, as recipients of financial incentives, etc.) and as partners (e.g. in idle-free projects).

At the same time, NRCan participates in ventures led by municipal organizations, such as the Green Municipal Fund (see accompanying textbox), and by provincially and territorially regulated electricity utilities and provincially regulated natural gas utilities.

Several institutions in Canada address energy efficiency issues in broad terms, including the three data and analysis centres established by NRCan, the host universities and other partners. These centres are also sponsored by other federal departments, provincial government agencies, and various associations and energy supply utilities. Their main objectives are to facilitate access to data on energy use in the industry, transportation and building sectors; monitor the quality of data; and investigate methods of improving data collection and analysis.

There are two national consultative bodies in the area of energy efficiency: the Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee on Energy Efficiency (ASCEE), established under the Council of Energy Ministers; and the Office of Energy Efficiency’s (OEE’s) National Advisory Council on Energy Efficiency (NACEE).

Green Municipal Fund

The Government of Canada endowed the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), a non-profit organization, with $550 million to establish the Green Municipal Fund (GMF) for the purpose of providing a long-term, sustainable source of funding for municipal governments and their partners. The GMF invests in plans, studies and projects that offer the best examples of municipal leadership in sustainable development and that can be replicated in other Canadian communities.

Under the GMF agreement, the Government of Canada (represented by NRCan and Environment Canada) participates in governance of this revolving fund, along with representatives from the public and private sectors, including municipal officials and technical experts, through a peer review committee and an advisory council.

The FCM board of directors approves projects in light of the council’s recommendations. As of March 31, 2009, the GMF had approved more than $402 million for 735 plans, studies and projects with a total project value of $2.6 billion.

Assistant Deputy Minister Steering Committee on Energy Efficiency

In 2004, federal, provincial and territorial energy ministers established the ASCEE and tasked it with establishing a coordinated, complementary agenda for energy efficiency in the built environment, industry and transportation sectors. The ASCEE held three meetings in the 2008–2009 fiscal year, with members representing the federal, provincial and territorial governments.

There are three working groups under the auspices of the ASCEE. In 2007, these groups contributed to the development of the Council of Energy Ministers’ document Moving Forward on Energy Efficiency in Canada: A Foundation for Action.

Responding to Ministers’ direction, the three ASCEE working groups are undertaking actions to develop concrete energy efficiency initiatives based on the themes and ideas in Moving Forward on Energy Efficiency in Canada. These may be delivered by multiple jurisdictions and in conjunction with key stakeholders.

  • Formed in 2003, the Demand Side Management Working Group (DSMWG) has members representing NRCan, industry and all provinces and territories. DSMWG has subcommittees performing collaborative tasks in the following areas:

    • National Energy Code for Buildings
    • building energy benchmarking
    • commissioning and recommissioning of buildings
    • energy-efficient equipment
    • integrated community energy solutions
    • lower-income-household energy efficiency options
    • accelerated penetration of energy-efficient home retrofits

  • The ASCEE sponsored the formation of the Transportation Working Group on Energy Efficiency (TWGEE) in 2005. Its mandate is to assess the status and enhance the alignment of transportation energy efficiency activities across federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions and to investigate opportunities for further collaboration and new initiatives. The TWGEE comprises government officials from federal, provincial and territorial energy and transportation departments and ministries. In the 2008–2009 fiscal year, TWGEE members worked to identify four technology areas affecting heavy-duty intercity transport trucks that have the potential to improve fuel efficiency and thereby reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These areas are aerodynamics, idle reduction, low-rolling resistance tires and long-combination vehicles. Work is underway to develop collaborative actions that may be undertaken by federal, provincial and territorial governments in the first three technology areas.

  • The Industry Working Group on Energy Efficiency was formed in 2006. It promotes information exchange among industrial energy end-users and authorities, agencies, utilities and jurisdictions involved in the design, development and delivery of industrial energy efficiency programming in Canada.

National Advisory Council on Energy Efficiency

NACEE was created in April 1998 to assist the OEE as an innovative government organization by

  • assessing and advising on the OEE’s strategic approach to meeting federal policy objectives

  • advising the OEE on its performance and business planning and reporting on progress

  • considering issues related to accelerating growth in energy efficiency in the Canadian economy

NACEE membership is drawn from across Canada. It includes representatives from various levels of government, academia, economic sectors, energy utilities and advocacy groups. NACEE met three times during the 2008–2009 fiscal year.

Federal-Provincial and Federal-Territorial Co-operation

Interest continues to grow in energy efficiency as a means of maximizing services based on the existing energy supply capacity in the country. In addition to general co-operation on energy efficiency, provincial and territorial governments helped to deliver tools, or employed tools provided by federal EAE programs, to reduce energy costs, address climate change, increase competitiveness, improve air quality and create economic opportunities. Coordination between the federal and provincial/territorial levels avoids duplication and ensures efficient program delivery.

All provinces and territories engage in energy efficiency activities and/or deliver energy efficiency programs in their jurisdictions. In some provinces and territories, specific organizations are mandated to promote energy efficiency.

For example, one of the objectives of Alberta’s Climate Change Central is to focus on information and action on energy efficiency and conservation in the province.

The Office of the Fire Commissioner of Manitoba is engaging stakeholders in a review of the Energy Code Advisory Committee recommendations, the introduction of water efficiency in the plumbing code and the identification of barriers in the Manitoba Building Code to energy and water efficiency in buildings.

The Ontario Power Authority’s Conservation Bureau provides leadership in planning and coordinating measures for electricity conservation and load management.

The Canada–Yukon Energy Solutions Centre is a service and program delivery agency for federal and Yukon government programs on energy efficiency and green power.

Recently, there has been a greater focus on energy efficiency in the Maritime provinces, as evidenced by the creation of three agencies: Efficiency NB, Conserve Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island’s (P.E.I.’s) Office of Energy Efficiency.

Efficiency NB’s mandate is to promote efficient energy use, help control energy expenses and lessen the impact of energy use on the environment, while P.E.I.’s Office of Energy Efficiency provides advice and programs to promote sustainable energy use.

Other regional organizations of note are the Arctic Energy Alliance in the Northwest Territories, the Nunavut Energy Centre and the Agence de l’efficacité énergétique du Québec.

Use of Federal EAE Program Tools by Utilities, Provinces and Territories

Provincial and territorial governments and utilities use federal EAE program tools to complement their own energy efficiency programs. Here are some examples:

  • Homeowners in all regions of Canada, except one province and one territory, can access both provincial/territorial and federal home retrofit programs through a single energy evaluation offered under ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes. The ecoENERGY evaluation and its criteria are also used by these jurisdictions to determine eligibility for incentives.

  • Canadians in most provinces and territories can benefit from rebates and sales tax exemptions on selected ENERGY STAR® products. The ENERGY STAR program is administered by the OEE and is used by a number of provinces and utilities as a qualifying criterion.

  • NRCan’s R-2000 Standard is used by utilities in Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia as a qualifying criterion for incentives and rebates designed to encourage the construction of energy-efficient new homes.

  • All the provincial and territorial bodies (with the exception of Nunavut) responsible for driver education use the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit, developed by the OEE, to educate young drivers on fuel efficiency. For example, Manitoba Public Insurance has recently incorporated an Auto$mart component into its curriculum, and many provinces display the OEE’s publications in their licensing bureaus.

  • The OEE works in co-operation with many provincial organizations, such as Conserve Nova Scotia, to fund and implement actions to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from personal vehicles by improving the buying, driving and maintenance practices of Canadians.

The Building Energy Codes Collaborative

The Building Energy Codes Collaborative (BECC) is a provincial-territorial-federal committee supported by the Council of Energy Ministers, ASCEE and NRCan. BECC is made up of representatives from provincial/territorial code and energy ministries, departments and agencies; NRCan; and the Canadian Codes Centre. The objectives of the BECC are as follows:

  • provide a forum for provinces, territories and the federal government to support the update, regulatory adoption and implementation of the Model National Energy Code for Buildings (MNECB), which is now called the National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB), by responsible authorities

  • work in co-operation with the provinces and territories and the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes toward a national consensus on establishing energy efficiency in the code process

  • explore other regulatory and/or program instruments for increasing energy efficiency in new housing, including updating the MNECB

  • seek support from the federal government and the energy and building code ministries in the provinces and territories and engage their representatives in the process

NRCan and BECC prepared a business plan for updating the 1997 MNECB and presented it to the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes. Commission members unanimously approved the following motion at its annual meeting in Calgary in February 2007: “... that the updating of the MNECB as a progeny document based on the BECC Business Plan be approved.”

NRCan then prepared and signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Research Council (NRC). NRCan is contributing up to $5 million over four years to support the technical development of the new code and is providing technical expertise to the NRC team tasked with developing national codes. The NRC launched the project, and the Standing Committee on Energy Efficiency in Buildings held its first meeting on updating the code in Ottawa in December 2007.

The updated MNECB will be published by 2011 in an objective-based format. It will complement objective-based model national construction codes published in 2005.

Co-operation Agreements

NRCan’s memorandum of agreement (MOA) on EAE with the Agence de l’efficacité énergétique du Québec provides for consultation and sharing of information between the two governments, the coordination of EAE activities in Quebec and the creation of opportunities for joint projects. Further, the management committee established under the MOA reviews policy and program developments, progress on joint program initiatives and areas for further co-operation. NRCan is working with the Agence de l’efficacité énergétique to deliver services under the ecoENERGY programs.

The MOA played a role in facilitating three activities in particular:

  • management of the licensing agreement for local delivery of ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes

  • NRCan’s Buildings Division’s continued processing of payments for the former EnerGuide for Existing Buildings and Commercial Building Incentive programs under a letter of co-operation (LOC) with the Agence de l’efficacité énergétique that covers the 2007–2008 fiscal year and the 2008–2009 fiscal year. Though the two programs are closed, payments, which can be made only when the client proves to NRCan that work has been completed, are still being processed.

  • management of an agreement on the Programme d’intervention en réfrigération dans les arénas du Québec, under which NRCan has provided technical support for the implementation of innovative refrigeration systems in Quebec ice rinks

NRCan’s LOC on energy efficiency and renewable energy with the Government of Yukon facilitates information sharing and the creation of opportunities for joint projects in Yukon.

These projects include the Canada–Yukon Energy Solutions Centre in Whitehorse. The Centre provides access to technical services and programs for the Yukon population and undertakes outreach and public education activities.

NRCan works with the Office of the Fire Commissioner of Manitoba, a special operating agency of Manitoba Labour and Immigration, to engage Manitoba stakeholders in a review of the Energy Code Advisory Committee recommendations.

Manitoba is also consulting stakeholders on introducing water efficiency in the plumbing code and identifying barriers in the Manitoba Building Code to energy and water efficiency in buildings. The result will be a stakeholder consultation report provided to Manitoba’s Minister of Labour and Immigration and Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mines.

NRCan works with Ontario’s Ministry of Small Business and Consumer Services, the Independent Electricity System Operator and local distribution companies to provide energy management training to companies across Ontario through Dollars to $ense workshops.

The Government of Canada promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy in Alberta by working with Climate Change Central, a non-profit corporation funded by several stakeholders, including the Government of Alberta.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada – NextGen Biofuels FundTM

The NextGen Biofuels FundTM is a $500-million program scheduled to run from 2008 to 2017. Responsibility for the program is held jointly by NRCan and Environment Canada. The fund is managed under the auspices of Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).

The NextGen Biofuels FundTM aims to facilitate the establishment of first-of-a-kind, large, demonstration-scale facilities for the production of next-generation biofuels and co-products in Canada; improve the sustainable development impacts arising from the production and use of biofuels; and encourage retention and growth of technology expertise and innovation capacity for the production of next-generation biofuels.

Next-generation renewable fuels are derived from non-traditional renewable feedstocks – such as forest biomass, fast-growing grasses and agricultural residues – and are produced with non-conventional conversion technologies. An eligible project must use feedstocks that are or could be representative of Canadian biomass, and the technology must have been demonstrated at the pre-commercial pilot scale. SDTC will support up to 40 percent of eligible project costs.

International Co-operation

NRCan co-operates with several international organizations and foreign governments in EAE program areas. Canada benefits from this co-operation by

  • learning about improved ways of designing and delivering EAE programs to meet policy objectives

  • working with others on the harmonization of energy efficiency tests and performance standards to reduce barriers to trade in energy-using products (in this regard, NRCan provides input, as requested, to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada on prospective free trade agreements and on technical barriers to trade)

  • participating, along with other international partners, including the U.S. Department of Energy, in the development of an ISO8 50001, an Energy Management Standard that will help guide industry on best management practices and technical practices to reduce energy waste. Work on the standard started in the fall of 2008, and the expected release date is 2010.

International Energy Agency

The International Energy Agency (IEA), based in Paris, France, is an autonomous agency of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The IEA runs a comprehensive program of energy co-operation among its 26 member countries, including Canada. IEA member governments have committed to sharing energy information, coordinating energy policies and co-operating on the development of rational energy programs incorporating energy security, economic development and environmental protection. The IEA and its governing board are assisted in their work by several standing groups and special committees, which bring together energy specialists from member countries.

The Standing Group on Long-Term Co-operation (SLT) is the key committee on the policy side. The Group analyses policies to promote conservation and the efficient use of energy, the increased use of alternatives to oil, and other measures to increase long-term energy security while protecting the environment. The SLT monitors energy developments in member countries and makes recommendations on energy policy through a regular series of individual country reviews. The SLT’s Energy Efficiency Working Party (EEWP) provides advice on and direction to the IEA’s work on specific energy efficiency issues. The OEE represents Canada on the EEWP.

Canada’s international energy research and development (R&D) objectives are mainly advanced through the IEA’s working parties, implementing agreements and the Committee for Energy Research and Technology. Canada participates in 11 of the IEA’s 40 implementing agreements on R&D collaboration programs. NRCan spent $738,000 on IEA implementing agreements in 2008–2009, in addition to personnel and travel expenditures. In many programs, this work has helped to accelerate technology development in Canada, generating benefits that far outweigh the direct costs of collaboration.

Canada also co-operates with research centres in member countries on several R&D and technology agreements and programs. NRCan facilitates R&D and commercial business ventures abroad by Canadian firms by undertaking a wide variety of activities. These activities include participating in various IEA tasks and supporting technical and trade-oriented workshops and conferences.

Group of Eight

At the Group of Eight (G8) summit in 2007 in Heiligendamm, Germany, the leaders of the G8 countries and Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa agreed to initiate a topic-driven dialogue under the “Heiligendamm Process.” The Process has four pillars, and working groups have been formed around each one.

Energy, with a special focus on energy efficiency, is one of the pillars. The Energy Working Group has explored the common ground available for building international support for new ideas and approaches for increasing energy efficiency. It has focused on energy security, development of a sustainable buildings network, energy efficiency in existing power plants, and alternative sources of energy and renewable energy. Canada, represented by the OEE, is co-chair with India. The Working Group met twice in 2008–2009.

NRCan facilitated the development of the agreement for an International Partnership on Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC), which was initiated by the European Union in June 2007, during the Heiligendamm Summit and finalized in 2008, during the Japanese G8 presidency. The partnership will support the on-going energy efficiency work of the participating countries and relevant international organizations. The IPEEC members will also develop public-private partnerships for improving energy efficiency.

Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation

At the 2007 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting, leaders highlighted the importance of improving energy efficiency in the Sydney APEC Leaders’ Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development. The declaration endorsed an APEC-wide regional aspirational goal of a reduction in energy intensity of at least 25 percent by 2030 (with 2005 as the base year).

The OEE is a member of the APEC Expert Group on Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EGEE&C), which reports to APEC’s Energy Working Group. One of the tasks of the EGEE&C is updating and maintaining the APEC Energy Standards Information System (ESIS). ESIS provides public, up-to-date information on appliance and equipment energy standards and regulations. It also provides links to experts and information related to standards and regulations used by APEC and other economies. NRCan contributes regularly to the database by providing updated information on Canadian equipment standards and labelling and new initiatives, such as the phase-out of incandescent lamps.

The OEE also participates through the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development on a Task Force on Standby Power data in order to internationally coordinate its efforts to reduce standby power consumption.

Asia Pacific Partnership

CanmetENERGY participates in the Asia Pacific Partnership (APP) on four Task Forces: the Buildings and Appliances Task Force (BATF), the Renewable Energy and Distributed Power Generation Task Force (REDGTF), the Cleaner Fossil Energy Task Force and the Power Generation and Distribution Task Force.

Within the BATF and REDGTF, CanmetENERGY proposed the Net Zero Energy Homes (NZEH) initiative. Under this initiative, Canadian delegates will initiate a collaborative dialogue with BATF and REDGTF partners to establish a formal international partnership that will map the path to achieving NZEH.

Through a series of workshops and design charettes, Canada will offer APP member countries an opportunity to set a precedent for housing performance optimization by bringing together the fragmented supply chain to discuss issues facing the sector. Participation from the project leaders of the existing BATF and REDGTF projects will ensure synergies. The workshops will prominently feature the Canadian industry, case studies, R&D and demonstrations, potentially leading to commercial and technology transfer opportunities for Canadian firms.

United Nations

RETScreen® International is managed under the leadership of NRCan’s CanmetENERGY Varennes (QC) Research Centre. RETScreen is managed through cost- and task-shared collaborative ventures with other governments and multilateral organizations, and with technical support from more than 300 experts representing industry, government and academia.

Key partners are NASA’s Langley Research Center and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership. Other key international partners include the Energy Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UNEP Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment, which is sponsored by the Global Environment Facility.


NRCan signed an MOU on EAE co-operation with the Mexican Energy Secretariat in June 1996. Its objective is to contribute to the EAE objectives of Canada and Mexico by improving the design and delivery of EAE programs and by fostering trade, investment, technical and other exchanges related to energy-efficient products, energy management services, and alternative energy goods and services. In October 2008, NRCan organized an energy management workshop in Mexico City, in co-operation with Mexico’s National Commission for Energy Savings (CONAE).

In anticipation of future legislation in Canada and abroad that is targeted at the reduction of emissions, NRCan’s Office of Energy Research and Development funded R&D efforts to evaluate methodologies to identify opportunities for energy efficiency increases and fugitive emissions reduction.

In 2008–2009, CanmetENERGY, in collaboration with university researchers, engaged in Mexico-based activities with the national oil and gas company PEMEX, which were jointly supported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), the International Methane to Markets (M2M) Partnership, and the government of Mexico. The outcome of these ongoing collaborative activities resulted in the Mexican government announcing an annual reduction of 13 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), which was based on the previous research.

United States

In September 2005, NRCan’s OEE signed an MOU with the U.S. EPA to share in the common goal of achieving greater energy efficiency and reducing CO2, particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen emissions through the work of their respective programs: ecoENERGY for Fleets (FleetSmart) and the SmartWay Transport Partnership.

These two programs use a voluntary approach with the on-road freight sector to increase energy efficiency through training, education and reporting initiatives. They are working together to harmonize program efforts in Canada and the United States.

North America

NRCan continues to participate with the United States and Mexico in the Energy Efficiency Experts Group of the North American Energy Working Group (NAEWG) to promote the harmonization of energy efficiency standards and co-operation on energy efficiency labelling programs. In 2008–2009, work under NAEWG primarily involved coordinating the energy sector commitment to the North American Security and Prosperity Initiative.

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