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Regulations for the disclosure and rating of greenhouse gas emissions of large buildings. Are you ready?

Wednesday June 14 2023

Regulations for the disclosure and rating of greenhouse gas emissions of large buildings. Are you ready?

A new regulation has been added to the workload of Condominium Corporation and Managers, and while the goal is laudable (Montreal aims to become carbon neutral by 2050), it brings a new set of challenges for compliance, with a first deadline of June 30 for buildings with more than 50 units.

This by-law applies only to the City of Montreal and its boroughs. The other cities making up the agglomeration are not subject to it.

 

WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?

To become carbon neutral by 2050, the City of Montreal, on September 27, 2021, adopted the By-law concerning greenhouse gas emission disclosures and ratings of large buildings (21-042). Its aim is to identify the use of fossil fuels within buildings in order to reduce their consumption.

It therefore gradually requires owners of large buildings to disclose the sources and quantities of energy their buildings use and has introduced a mandatory procedure for disclosing data regarding GHG emissions generated by building energy consumption.

This applies to multi-unit buildings, including co-ownerships.

On June 30, 2023, buildings from 5,000 m2 to 14,999 m2 and 50 or more dwellings must disclose their 2022 data.

(On June 30, 2024, its buildings from 2,000 m2 to 5,000 m2 and 25 to 49 dwelling that will be added and need to disclose their 2023 data).

The owner of a building subject to this By-law must, no later than June 30 of each year (and for the first time in June 2023 or June 2024), disclose to the City of Montreal information regarding its energy data for the period from January 1 to December 31 of the previous year. The data to be disclosed for buildings are monthly energy quantities by source (electricity, gas, other) and certain building characterization data, including surface areas in m2 and use.

 

DISCLOSURE OBLIGATIONS

Article 4 of this new mandatory disclosure regulation stipulates that: “The owner of a building subject to this by-law must, no later than June 30 of each year, disclose to the authority having jurisdiction the information set out in schedule A to this By-law relating to the building’s GHG emissions resulting from the building’s energy consumption during the period from January 1 to December 31 of the preceding year.”

Every year, owners will have to complete an online declaration, in which they will be required to disclose information on their building such as type and quantities of energy used and the surface area of the building.

The objective of this approach is to allow the City of Montreal, firstly, to evaluate the quantity of greenhouse gases (GHG) produced by these large buildings, and eventually to give them a “GHG rating”, for information purposes only, to be displayed at the buildings’ entrances.

 

THE CONDOMINIUM CORPORATION OWNS NOTHING: DOES IT HAVE TO COMPLY?

The answer to this question is YES. Article 2 of the By-law explicitly defines the notion of owner as follows: “any natural or legal person, partnership or, in the case of a divided co-ownership, any Condominium Corporation of co-owners that holds all or part of the property rights in a building”.

The City was careful to specify Co-ownerships in its by-laws, because in divided Co-ownership the co-owners own their private portions exclusively, and jointly on their shares of common portions. The Condominium Corporation, on the other hand, owns nothing. It is created at the beginning of the Co-ownership to see to its administration and smooth running as a whole, through the decision-making bodies of the Condominium Corporation and the Co-owners’ assembly.

However, it is not easy for a third party such as a Condominium Corporation to obtain the information requested by the City, as a Condominium Corporation has no coercive powers to obtain energy consumption data from co-owners.

According to Condolégal, ” Even if a Condominium Corporation had such information, the Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector prohibits it from disclosing the personal information of co-owners without their consent”. It also specifies that “The City of Montreal has also recognized in its By-law Application Guide that the transmission of energy consumption data involves confidentiality issues. It is specified in particular as follows: « Agreements between landlords and tenants, or between condominiums, can be signed so that the aggregate consumption of the building can be transmitted directly and easily to the landlord (or the condominium corporation) by the energy supplier. The City of Montreal is currently in discussions with energy providers to develop a simple solution with no data privacy issues in the event that this type of agreement requires too much monitoring by the owners.”

It is therefore probably in view of the context of Condominium Corporation that the City is trying with Hydro-Québec and Énergir to create a gateway so that the information can more easily be communicated to the City. It seems that the gateways have been operational since the end of May 2023.

 

WHAT INFORMATION MUST BE DISCLOSED ABOUT BUILDINGS?

The information to be disclosed is specified in Schedule A of the City of Montreal By-law, and is as follows:

  1. Identification and contact information of the owner and, in the case of a legal person, partnership or co-ownership, of the natural person responsible for the disclosure;
  2. Building identification:
  3. building information: street address, year of construction, building floor area in square meters;
  4. the number of dwelling units, if it is a residential or mixed-use building;
  5. identification of each building use type from the list provided in this schedule (Section II) and the area, in square meters, occupied by each use type.
  6. Sources of energy consumed from among the following and in the units below, by billing period and their cost for that period:
    1. electricity purchased from a grid (kWh);
    2. natural gas (m3);
    3. steam supplied by a district heating network (klb);
    4. hot water supplied by a district heating network (klb);
    5. chilled water supplied by a district heating network (metric tons);
      * the billing period, the quantity received and the cost must be indicated even if the billing is before or after the year covered by the disclosure, as long as the quantity received was used during the year covered by the disclosure.
  7. Date of delivery, quantity received of the following energy sources in the units below and the cost for each delivery:
    1. kerosene (Liters);
    2. fuel oil (Liters) (specify for each type of fuel oil among those listed in article 18 of the Petroleum Products Regulation, c. P-30.01, r. 2 );
    3. diesel (Liters);
    4. propane (Liters);
    5. coal (metric tons);
    6. coke (metric tons);
    7. wood (metric tons).
      * the date of delivery, the quantity received and the costs must be indicated even if the delivery is prior to the year covered by the disclosure, as long as the quantity received was used during the year covered by the disclosure.
  8. The electrical power demand per billing period, which is the highest rate of electrical consumption in each billing cycle and measured in kilowatts (kW).
  9. Where energy consumed at the site is supplied by a district heating network, the name of the district heating network supplier.

 

HOW TO COMPLY?

To comply with By-law 21-042, the City of Montreal explains in its website that there are two ways to provide building data:

1 – You can use the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® portal tool (recommended by the City)

  • Create your account for free;
  • Follow the training on use of ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager in the context of City of Montreal By-law 21-042 on the mandatory disclosure of energy consumption data;
  • Enter the information required by the By-law (address, type of building use, surface area associated with the type of use and billing data from your energy suppliers, etc.) using the ESPM Guide;

2 – or use the data entry tool of the City.

To do so, you must have a Google account to use the City’s data entry tool: Complete the form (2022)

 

TRANSMISSION OF DATA OF PRIVATE PORTIONS OF BUILDINGS

Transmission with Hydro-Québec

The city of Montreal (Bureau de la transition écologique et de la résilience) has confirmed that the device mentioned for providing data anonymously was put in place by Hydro-Québec at the end of May:

“Automatic transfer and aggregation code of Hydro-Québec’s energy consumption to the Energy Star Portfolio Manager (ESPM) platform has been operational since May 25.” Here’s the page Hydro-Québec has posted to explain the process.

To allow Hydro-Québec to automatically communicate consumption data to the Energy Star Portfolio Manager (ESPM) tool, Co-owners must give their authorization and create an ESPM account.

Here’s how:

  1. Access your Hydro-Québec Customer Space and authorize Hydro-Québec to share your data to ESPM.
    You will receive the login and password required to activate the service. Log in.
    (If the co-owner does not have a Customer Space, he must create one : Create my Customer Space, see also more information on creating a Customer Space)
  2. Create an ESPM account and profile of your buildings:
    Go on the Energy Star Portfolio Manager website and create an account.
    Enter the information on the property(ies) and meters for which you are responsible.
  3. Connect your ESPM account to the Hydro-Québec web services:
    “From your ESPM account, under Contact, access Hydro-Québec web services.”
    “Select the properties you wish to share and enter the identification for each meter to enable data communication.

Precision from Hydro-Québec in case you are not entirely responsible for the electricity service:

If you are the owner of a building with rental spaces, or a Co-owner and co-responsible for the electricity service, or if you own a building with individual meters for which you are responsible for the electricity costs*, you must follow these instructions:

  • From your Customer Space, obtain an aggregation code. This code allows you to provide electricity consumption data in aggregated form for all occupants of a building for which you do not receive the invoice*.
  • You must enter this aggregation code in your ESPM account. Thereafter, data from all units will be communicated in aggregated form.

* This service is offered if the building has at least 10 meters associated with the same type of use (residential or commercial).

If you encounter any technical issues with the Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool, you can write at [email protected].

To summarize, here are the steps you need to follow to set up the automated transfer of your consumption data to ESPM:

Step 1 

Authorize Hydro-Québec to communicate your data with ESPM

Step 2 

Create a profile for properties and meters in ESPM

Step 3 

Connect your ESPM account to Hydro-Québec web service

Step 4 

Activate the automated communication of your data to ESPM

Step 5 

Check if your requests are accepted

 

Transmission with Énergir

Énergir also offers automatic data transfer to Energy Star Portfolio Manager (ESPM). Here’s the link to access all information on their site.

To activate the transfer of your consumption data (m3) between your ESPM account and your Énergir account automatically each month, you must complete the request to link your accounts directly from the Energy Star Portfolio Manager (ESPM) platform. Make sure you have your latest Énergir invoice.

If you wish to add your billing information ($) in your ESPM account, you must complete it manually. Log in to your Énergir Customer Space to access your invoices and find all your account information.

A user’s guide has just been published, and can be access in the customer area: https://energir.com/files/energir_common/import/Fichiers/Affaires/Tarif/Guide-creation-compte-ESPM_080623.pdf

 

GOOD TO KNOW: INSPECTION AND VERIFICATION OF INFORMATION

The City may visit, examine, measure and photograph any building subject to this By-law. It may also require, by written notice, any documentation that will enable it to validate the accuracy of the information. These must be kept for five years. And as a reminder, any breach to the By-law is punishable by a fine.

It specifies in its guide that “Inspections are a way for the City to validate the information submitted by Co-owners; they will also be carried out, but not limited to, following the receipt of contradictory or erroneous data, or following the filing of a complaint” and that “For at least the first year that a building is subject to the By-law, the City will place greater emphasis on accompanying owners or their representatives, to support them in complying with the By-law”.

 

INFORMATION ON BY-LAW 21-042

If you have any questions, we’ve compiled a few sources of information for you to consult:

Understanding the By-law:

    • Webinar on the By-law on the disclosure and rating of GHG emissions;
    • Visual support of the webinar or the application of the By-law on the disclosure and rating of GHG emissions
    • Application Guide of By-law 21-042 on the disclosure and rating of GHG of big buildings.

Using the tool:

    • Webinar on using the Energy Star Portfolio Manager;
    • Visual support of the webinar on using the Energy Star Portfolio Manager;
    • User’s Guide of the Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool.

 

If any questions are not covered by the guides, owners or their representatives are invited to contact the City of Montreal using this email address: [email protected].

 

 

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