Natural Resources Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Office of Energy Efficiency Links


Business: Residential


Procurement - Purchasing Toolkit

How to Use This Guide

The purchasing process involves many different players from numerous offices within an organization. Each organization is unique, but all of them often undertake similar practices and activities. In many organizations, people determine what product they want and write specifications for it. They often either make a direct purchase or send their request to a central purchasing office. The direct purchase can involve an immediate credit card transaction or a search for at least three prices. A central purchasing office may need to set up contracts with businesses first, send out a Request for Proposals (RFP) or directly purchase from existing vendors. In all cases, the purchasers and specifiers must adhere to requirements, which will differ depending upon the organization.

What's Inside

The guide is designed to help your organization or government purchase energy-efficient products, working within your own framework and rules. The guide has three major sections.

1. Purchasing guidelines
This section provides four separate sets of materials for each product.

a) Definitions

b) Criteria for each product – what specifications does this product meet to achieve a designation of "energy efficient"?

c) Sample procurement language – to ensure that your vendors provide products that meet energy efficiency guidelines and/or adhere to ENERGY STAR® specifications, we recommend using this language in your upcoming bids or RFPs.

d) Information resources – for products that meet energy efficiency guidelines, as well as Web site addresses and contact information for easy reference.

2. Simple savings calculator
NRCan, in partnership with the Environmental Projection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) in the United States, has developed a Canadian version of an interactive software tool to compare the costs of purchasing energy-efficient products with those of conventional equipment. Using your local utility rates, you can calculate your projected savings from reduced energy consumption and maintenance costs.

3. Additional resources
This section directs you to Web sites, hotlines and organizations where you can request newsletters, software, brochures, fact sheets and other tools related to energy efficiency and purchasing.

Featured Products
The Purchasing Tool Kit features numerous ENERGY STAR qualified products with efficiency levels that offer significant energy savings. The ENERGY STAR label was created to help consumers to identify products that save them money and protect the environment by reducing energy waste. Manufacturers and retailers sign voluntary administrative agreements to place the ENERGY STAR label on products that meet or exceed energy efficiency guidelines. They can also use the symbol in product packaging, promotions and advertising for qualified products. The most updated ENERGY STAR qualified product and manufacturer information. ENERGY STAR qualified products featured in this guide are identified with the ENERGY STAR label shown here:


Communications Tools
To help your employees and others become more aware of the advantages ENERGY STAR has to offer, you can download fact sheets on the different categories of products and see a list of participating organizations and the types of activities they are undertaking. Check our Web site from time to time and read the success stories so you can learn what has worked well for others in promoting the purchase of ENERGY STAR qualified equipment.

Top of Page

Discovering the Benefits of Energy-Efficient Purchasing

Why buy energy-efficient products? For the following reasons:

  • to save money
  • to reduce electricity demand
  • to help your organization reduce its impact on the environment

Governments and other organizations could save millions of dollars annually by reducing energy waste and purchasing and using more energy-efficient products.

When we use energy inefficiently, we inflate energy bills and harm the environment. That's because much of the energy we use in our homes and offices is generated by the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal or oil. When these fuels are burned, they release air pollution and particles that contribute to smog, acid rain and global climate change. Fortunately, all levels of government and other organizations across the country can save money and help the environment simply by adopting strategies for purchasing energy-efficient products. For example

  • Energy-efficient products on the market today can reduce energy costs by 25 to 50 percent, or even more, without compromising quality or performance.
  • Energy-efficient products improve air quality because fewer fossil fuels are burned. In addition to reducing air pollution, cutting energy waste helps utilities to offset their peak loads and avoid the need to construct new power plants.
  • Investments in energy-efficient products can quickly pay for themselves and provide a significant return, making funds available for investment in your community.
  • Energy-efficient products have an extended life and offer decreased maintenance.

An energy-efficient product initiative is an excellent way to reduce overhead spending while maintaining programs and services that taxpayers and your customers need. Take advantage of these economic and environmental benefits by using the comprehensive tools and information in this guide for specifying products that meet energy efficiency criteria.

Top of Page

Overcoming Barriers to Purchasing Energy-Efficient Products

This guide was developed to make it easier for you to purchase energy-efficient products. Tools in this guide help address common purchasing barriers, including lack of information, first-cost bias and life-cycle cost-analysis requirements. Often, confusion arises due to a perception that change requires a reduction in quality or performance or to not knowing where and how to find what you need. This guide provides clear answers to questions about energy efficiency specifications, product performance and costs and how to find products. With this information, it becomes easy to recognize and communicate the benefits of choosing energyefficient products.

Address Common Barriers
Using this guide and the savings calculator, you can address the following common barriers before they even arise:

  • Lack of Tools – This guide gives you the tools you need to make informed decisions about purchasing energy-efficient products. The information provided will help you answer questions about how to specify energy-efficient products, where to find them and how to determine potential cost savings. Refer to the guide's drop-in procurement language and source references for product listings. Use the calculator's life-cycle cost analyses and the communications tools available on the Web site.

  • First-Cost Bias – By using the savings calculator, you can tailor a real-life example of a major purchase and compare the first cost of an energy-efficient product with that of a standard product. Often, there is no added initial cost for the energy-efficient product, but the lifetime savings benefits are significant.

  • Life-Cycle Cost-Analysis Requirements – The savings calculator provides a life-cycle cost analysis for the actual lifetime use of a product. The calculation considers purchase price, energy consumption and maintenance costs; provides input for fuel costs; and converts savings into carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reductions. You can tailor this detailed analysis for your upcoming purchases, to demonstrate the economic and environmental impacts and benefits of energy-efficient products.

This guide provides a step-by-step approach to successful identification, specification and procurement of energy-efficient products.

Top of Page

List of Abbreviations and Acronyms Used in This Purchasing Tool Kit

AFUE Annual fuel utilization efficiency
ARI Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute
Btu British thermal unit
Btu/h Btu per hour; a measure of energy input or output
CEC California Energy Commission
CFL Compact fluorescent lamp
cfm Cubic feet per minute
COP Coefficent of performance, a measure of heating efficiency
CSA Canadian Standards Association
DOE U.S. Department of Energy
EPA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EER Energy efficiency ratio
HID High-intensity discharge
HRAI Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada
HSPF Heating seasonal performance factor
HVAC Heating, ventilating and air conditioning
Hz Hertz
ipm Images per minute
kVA Kilovolt ampere (1000-volt amperes)
kWh Kilowatt hour
LBNL Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
NRCan Natural Resources Canada
OEE Office of Energy Efficiency
ppm Pages per minute
PTAC Packaged terminal air conditioner
SEER Seasonal energy efficiency ratio
V Volts
W Watt

< Contents >