Building Magazine


New study confirms a growing understanding: that certification helps

The B.C. Building Performance Study has found that green building certification systems are helping existing buildings reduce their energy use by up to 25 per cent in just three years. The study, which was released today, looked at energy, water, and waste performance for hundreds of certified green buildings and non-certified buildings across British Columbia.

“Buildings account for two-thirds of all energy consumed in B.C. and 41 per cent of the Province’s total GHG emissions,” explains Curtis Dorosh, senior project manager at Light House and one of the study’s authors. “It’s important to know how buildings are performing so we can target efficiency efforts. Plus, building owners want to know how their buildings compare within their own portfolios and to their neighbours.”

In addition to obtaining green building certification for new buildings, an increasing number of owners are seeking to certify the operations of existing buildings. The study found that adopting certification systems appears to set buildings on a path for continuous improvement and operational savings, regardless of building age or current performance. “This study validates what we suspected internally. It’s worth certifying not only our new buildings, but we are now considering all our existing buildings,” says Jonathan Meads, sustainability manager of Concert Properties.

The study also found that bringing the bottom quarter of buildings up to the median energy use intensity would reduce total energy consumption in British Columbia by as much as five per cent, a fact that will be of particular interest to municipal governments, which are starting to focus their greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts on existing buildings after years of targeting new construction.

In total, the B.C. Building Performance Study examined 281 buildings from across B.C., including 147 BOMA BESt certified buildings and 134 non-certified buildings. It was completed by Light House in partnership with BOMA BC, Metro Vancouver and the City of Vancouver, with support from the City of Surrey and Capital Regional District, and is available as a free download from

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