January 18 marked the kick-off of Manitoba’s Race to Reduce – an energy reduction challenge that involves collaboration between commercial building landlords and tenants to encourage smart energy use. The program provides a plan of action, an ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager account log-in to track and monitor the building’s energy consumption, a tool-kit of technical advice and relevant case study intelligence to help organizations increase awareness of their energy use; measure and monitor their energy use; and change the way they operate equipment to increase energy efficiency. The objective is to reduce participants’ energy consumption by 10% over four years. Any commercial office building in Manitoba that has at least 30,000 square feet is welcome to join in the competition. Some that are already in the race include Artis REIT, Investors Group, Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Public Insurance buildings, and City of Winnipeg buildings, among others.
The Manitoba Race to Reduce website states that every year in Manitoba office buildings use the equivalent of 20,000 cars on the road, or burning 40 million liters of gasoline, or harvesting ten million trees. If the buildings involved in the challenge meet the goal of saving at least 10% over the next four years, that would be equivalent to taking 1,000 cars off the road for a year, or not burning two million liters of gasoline, or not harvesting 500,000 trees, not to mention there would be about two million dollars saved in energy bills. The website also offers tips for reducing consumption and costs with regards to lighting, heating and cooling, equipment, and landscaping.
Each year, Manitoba Race to Reduce will publicly recognize remarkable efforts and outcomes by participants including participation, action and innovation, and building performance at an annual awards event. The awards will celebrate leaders in the commercial building sector, the unique partnerships upon which they embark, and the results of their collaborative efforts to date.