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Policies and actions regarding after-hours lighting of federal government office buildings

Petition: 279

Issue(s): Climate change, and other

Petitioner(s): Marc-André Roy

Date Received: 8 June 2009

Status: Completed

Summary: The petitioner is concerned about the wasted energy and greenhouse gas emissions related to the lighting of federal office buildings after general business work hours. He asks the federal government what policies and actions it has in place for the efficient use of lighting in its buildings, and about the potential cost this has on taxpayers and the environment.

Petition

Office of the Auditor General of Canada
Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development
Attention: Petitions
240 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G6

June 6, 2009

Marc-André Roy
280 Bay St. Unit 22
Ottawa, ON
K1R, 5Z6
Tel: 613 262 0451
Email: mroy02@schulich.yorku.ca

Environmental Petition

Subject: Policy and Action to Address Use of Lights in Federal Government Offices

1. Background

The federal government has one of the largest real estate portfolios in the country. It owns approximately 25 million square metres of floor space — and leases another 6 million... The government consumes significant energy to heat, cool, light and power its facilities. In addition, federal buildings contributed 81% of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Government of Canada operations in 2002-2003.1

Over the course of the last few years, it has been observed that a number of Federal Government offices leave lights on after hours. For example, the following photograph, taken at 3:00am on the morning of Saturday June 6th, 2009, reveals that almost every office on every floor is illuminated in two Ottawa buildings housing federal offices.

Figure 1: Photograph of Federal Offices, 3:00am on June 6th, 2009

photo1
Source: Marc-André Roy

Figure 2: Late Night at DND

photo2

Source: Matt Jardine, date unknown

Similar occurrences in these and several other federal offices buildings have frequently been observed, at all hours of the night, when it can be expected that no one is in lit offices or building floors (including cleaning crews). Indeed, inquiries with building security have typically confirmed this.

This raises questions about the federal government’s policies and actions with respect to lighting of federal offices after hours and when not in use, and, to energy conservation in federal offices more generally.

The regular occurrence of lighting in buildings used by the federal government when not in use is in directly contrast to the Government of Canada’s commitment to sustainable development:

[Information withheld]2

Further, Chapter 7 of the September 2005 Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD) highlights Building Energy as one of three priorities for “Greening Government Operations”. The related goal is as follows:

To be a leader in the reduction of greenhouse gas and other air emissions through the optimization of energy efficiency and conservation, and the implementation of renewable energy technologies.3

It is surprising, then, that the issue of lighting in offices after hours when not in use continues to occur regularly, close to four years since the noted CESD Report.

Use of lights in offices or office building floors when no one is present is perhaps the most visible evidence of energy waste. It is also arguably one of the easiest conservation issues to address (often referred to as “low hanging fruit” in the parlance of sustainable development).

It is recognized that many federal office facilities are leased and that they are managed by private contractors, via arrangements with Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). As such, this environmental petition is addressed first to PWGSC, as well as other government departments that might manage or directly contract the management of their respective office facilities and matters relating to lighting of same.

2. Issues

The illumination of federal offices after hours, and when no one is present, is concerning for a number of reasons:

  1. It is a clear waste of energy, to no productive end.
  2. It leads to greater emissions of green house gases (GHG) from the production of energy used to light empty offices.
  3. It creates light pollution which may have adverse effects on the ecosystem around the building(s) in question.
  4. It sends a negative signal to Canadians about the importance of energy conservation. It is also in direct contrast to government sustainable development policies, as noted.
  5. It increases energy costs for federal operations, which ultimately must be paid by tax-payers, in one form or another.

Compounding these issues is the number of federal government offices across Canada. Should even a small proportion of government offices across the country waste energy by lighting empty offices in the same way, then the potential environmental and financial costs could be huge indeed.

On a more positive note, a policy to limit lighting in offices to times when offices are actually in use could have a significant impact in the reduction of energy waste, GHG emissions, and represent important steps to meeting government priorities around building energy consumption in government operations.

3. Questions

Pursuant to the above, and by this petition, I would appreciate clarification to the following questions:

  1. Do PWGSC and other relevant government departments have policies in place to limit the use of lighting in federal government offices to specific office hours or others periods when offices are actually in use? If so, what are these policies? How are these policies administered, managed, monitored?
  2. Where offices are leased, do arrangements with lessors and/or building managers explicitly prescribe, or otherwise outline terms of lighting of offices after hours? If so, how are infractions addressed (i.e., where empty offices are nevertheless illuminated after hours?)
  3. Do individual departments pay the full cost of energy use from use of offices (including lighting)? If not, how are the use of this energy and related costs accounted?
  4. An important step in energy conservation is the quantification of energy use. Is the level of energy use from lighting of federal government offices known? If so, what is the approximate related annual energy consumption level for all federal government offices across the country?
  5. Can the total level of energy waste from lighting empty offices be estimated? What is the related level of annual GHG emissions? What is the related financial cost to tax payers?
  6. To what degree do federal offices use energy efficient lighting (e.g., energy efficient light bulbs)?
  7. What plans, if any, are in place to limit the use of energy for lighting government offices (both during the work day, and after hours) in the future?

4. Requests

Plans to reduce the energy waste from lighting of federal government offices are not known to the petitioner. Where plans are not yet in place, the following requests are intended to promote energy conservation in the lighting of government offices. Where plans are already in place, these requests may be useful in improving conservation efforts related to lighting of government offices.

  1. Strict and consistent policies should be developed and put in place across all federal government offices to limit the use of lighting to office hours or others periods when offices are actually in use (lighting for security purposes notwithstanding). These policies should be in place both for government owned offices, as well as leased offices. A related policy to monitor lighting of offices after hours should also be put in place to promote sustained adoption of energy-smart lighting policies.
  2. The use of motion detector-triggered lighting systems should be considered for rooms and office facilities that are not used continuously (e.g., washrooms, meeting rooms, etc.). There are many examples of such applications in public buildings in Europe.
  3. If not already the case, government departments should individually pay full cost of energy use from lighting of offices (and energy use more generally), to promote financial incentives to reduce energy use.
  4. Energy efficient light bulbs should be introduced as and when current light bulbs and lighting systems fail.
  5. Where possible, energy sources for lighting of government offices should favour green energy in order to reduce the related level of GHG emissions.

It is hoped that this petition and related questions and requests will help promote more efficient use of lighting in government offices, and promote the realization of the noted priority to reduce building energy consumption through the optimization of energy efficiency and conservation, and the implementation of renewable energy technologies.4

Many thanks for the opportunity to make this submission.

I hereby submit this petition to the Auditor General of Canada under section 22 of the Auditor General Act

[Original signed by Marc-André Roy]

Marc-André Roy

1 Sustainable Development Strategy 2007-2009 - Coordinating the Fourth Round of Departmental Sustainable Development Strategies, Chapter 3. Greening Government Operations. http://www.sdinfo.gc.ca/reports/en/sd_guide/c3.cfm#s3_3_1

2 http://www.sdinfo.gc.ca/reports/en/sd_guide/c3.cfm#s3_3

3 September 2005 Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, as indicated on the following website: http://www.sdinfo.gc.ca/reports/en/sd_guide/c3.cfm#s3_3

4 September 2005 Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, as indicated on the following website: http://www.sdinfo.gc.ca/reports/en/sd_guide/c3.cfm#s3_3

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Minister's Response: Environment Canada

19 August 2009

Mr. Marc-André Roy
280 Bay Street, Unit 22
Ottawa ON K1R 5Z6

Dear Mr. Roy:

I am writing in response to your environmental petition No. 279, pursuant to section 22 of the Auditor General Act, regarding the use of lights in federal government offices. Your petition was received in Environment Canada on June 23, 2009.

Please be advised that the issues you raise fall outside of my department’s mandate. I will, therefore, not be providing you with a response. I understand that my colleague, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, will be responding to the petition questions.

Sincerely,

[Original signed by Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment]

The Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., Q.C., M.P.

c.c.: The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Lisa Raitt, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Christian Paradis, P.C., M.P.
The Houourable Vic Toews, P.C., M.P.
Mr. Scott Vaughan, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

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Minister's Response: Natural Resources Canada

20 October 2009

Mr. Marc-André Roy
11 Barton Street
Ottawa, ON
K1R 5Z6

Dear Mr. Roy:

I am pleased to respond to your Environmental Petition no. 279 to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, pursuant to section 22of the Auditor General Act, regarding policy and action to address the use of lights in federal government offices. Your petition was received by Natural Resources Canada on July 8, 2009.

I am responding to questions 1 through 7 and to request number 5, as they fall within the mandate of Natural Resources Canada. I understand that my colleague, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, will be responding separately to issues that fall under his portfolio.

I appreciate having this opportunity to respond to your petition and trust that you will find this information helpful. Thank you for raising these important concerns.

Yours sincerely,

[Original signed by Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources Canada]

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, P.C., M.P.

Enclosure: (1)

c.c.: Mr. Scott Vaughan
Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

The Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., M.P.
Minister of the Environment

The Honourable Christian Paradis, P.C., M.P.
Minister Public Works and Government Services Canada

The Honourable Vic Toews, P.C., M.P.
President of the Treasury Board


Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan's) response to the Environmental Petition 279 - Policy & Action to Address Use of Light in Federal Government Offices

The Petition appears to be aimed specifically at federal office buildings. This response to questions deals particularly with NRCan's custodial buildings. These are special purpose buildings, not office buildings. It should be noted that special purpose facilities, particularly laboratories, use more energy than a typical office building due to intensive lighting, ventilation and health and safety requirements.

NRCan has taken action to improve energy and environmental performance in the department and to 'green' its operations. This extends from the development and implementation of NRCan's Environmental Management System (EMS), to establishing a Green Operations Initiative and, under the auspices of the Federal Buildings Initiative of the Office of Energy Efficiency, developing training programs to help employees become more energy wise in their day-to-day work. NRCan developed an internal Train-the-Trainers workshop in December 2008 with the intent to increase awareness of NRCan staff and to encourage them to identify opportunities to improve energy efficiency within facilities. The outcome of this workshop was the creation of an energy efficiency "community of practice" that delivers energy awareness training sessions to NRCan employees. See response to Item #7 for more details. This fiscal year, NRCan is also developing a Strategic Energy Plan that will support the department in managing its portfolio of buildings with a view to the future for improving departmental energy performance, and that will take appropriate advantage of the services offered by the Office of Energy Efficiency's Federal Buildings Initiative.

In response to the specific questions within the Petition:

1. Do PWGSC and other relevant government departments have policies in place to limit the use of lighting in federal government offices to specific office hours or others periods when offices are actually in use? If so, what are these policies? How are these policies administered, managed, monitored?

Although NRCan has no policy instrument to specifically determine the efficiency of lighting in its special purpose, custodial facilities, the department has reduced by more than 4% its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions since 2004-2005. It is estimated that by 2011-2012 a reduction of almost 12% will have been achieved.

2. Where offices are leased, do arrangements with lessons and/or building managers explicitly prescribe, or otherwise outline terms of lighting of offices after hours? If so, how are infractions addressed (i.e., where empty offices are nevertheless illuminated after hours?)

The Minister of Public Works and Government Services will respond to this Question, under a separate cover, as this falls under that department’s mandate.

3. Do individual departments pay the full cost of energy use from use of offices (including lighting)? If not, how are the use of this energy and related costs accounted?

Custodial holdings, NRcan owned and managed space; represent 71% (231,637 m2 of rentable space) of the total space the department occupies. NRCan pays the cost of all energy used.

Space supplied by PWGSC represents 20% (63,983 m2 of rentable space) of the total space the department occupies. PWGSC pays the cost of energy used in the space it provides.

Space supplied directly to NRCan by other government departments, private landlords and other organizations represents 9% (29,319 m2 of rentable space) of the total space that the department occupies. The specific agreement with each owner determines who pays for the energy used in each building. In the majority of cases NRCan pays for the energy use.

4. An important step in energy conservation is the quantification of energy use. Is the level of energy use from lighting of federal government offices known? If so, what is the approximate related annual energy consumption level for all federal government offices across the country?

One of the key environmental aspects in NRCan's Environmental Management System for its custodial space is building energy usage, which includes conducting energy audits. To date, energy audits have been performed at 7 major custodial sites and it was found that lighting accounts for approximately 14% of total electrical energy use. These 7 sites represent 22% of NRCan's custodial inventory.

New energy audits are undertaken by NRCan each year and will extend to all large custodial holdings. By 2011 approximately 184,000 square meters, or 61% of monitored custodial space will have been audited. These audited sites represent 64% of NRCan's GHGs at monitored custodial buildings (based on 2007-08 energy data). The remaining sites, although not specifically audited, are all included in energy efficiency initiatives.

5. Can the total level of energy waste from lighting empty offices be estimated? What is the related level of annual GHG emissions? What is the related financial cost to taxpayers?

The Minister of Public Works and Government Services will respond to this Question, under a separate cover, as this falls under that department’s mandate.

6. To what degree do federal offices use energy efficient lighting (e.g., energy efficient light bulbs)?

As the federal government retrofits its offices, energy efficient lighting such as T-8 fluorescent lamps is installed. This work has been going on for some time now under the auspices of a number of federal government programs and initiatives including the Federal Buildings Initiative of Natural Resources Canada. The FBI was developed to help federal departments retrofit their facilities through the use of special mechanism whereby the energy savings are used to pay for the cost of the work.

7. What plans, if any, are in place to limit the use of energy for lighting government offices (both during the work day, and after hours) in the future?

As part of NRCan's Green Operations Initiative, in 2008-2009 NRCan developed and delivered energy awareness training sessions aimed at its employees. These sessions also focused on use of lighting and encouraging employees to turn off lights in offices, boardrooms, kitchenettes and other spaces when these areas are not in use and at the end of the work day. NRCan's EMS training also includes a module on energy use and GHG emissions at NRCan, which encourages its employees to be energy-wise at work, to turn off lights, computers, and other equipment and to use natural lighting whenever possible.

The following methods are used to limit office lighting in NRCan custodial facilities:

  • Occupancy sensing lighting in boardrooms, common areas and in low traffic areas to reduce lighting energy use during normal working hours;
  • Any newly constructed facilities must meet the energy efficient lighting standards set by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Response to Requests in Petition # 279

1. Strict and consistent policies should be developed and put in place across all federal government offices to limit the use of lighting to office hours or other periods when offices are actually in us (lighting for security purposes not withstanding). These policies should be in place both for government owned offices, as well as leased offices. A related policy to monitor lighting of offices after hours should also be put in place to promote sustained adoption of energy-smart lighting policies.

The Minister of Public Works and Government Services will respond to this Request, under separate cover, as the request falls under that department’s mandate.

2. The use of motion detector-triggered lighting systems should be considered for rooms and office facilities that are not used continuously (e.g., washrooms, meeting rooms, etc.). There are many examples of such application in public buildings in Europe.

The Minister of Public Works and Government Services will respond to this Request, under separate cover, as the request falls under that department’s mandate.

3. If not already the case, government departments should individually pay full cost of energy use from lighting offices (and energy use more generally), to promote financial incentives to reduce energy use.

The Minister of Public Works and Government Services will respond to this Request, under separate cover, as the request falls under that department’s mandate.

4. Energy efficient light bulbs should be introduced as and when current light bulbs and lighting systems fail.

The Minister of Public Works and Government Services will respond to this Request, under separate cover, as the request falls under that department’s mandate.

5. Where possible, energy sources for lighting of government offices should favour green energy in order to reduce the related level of GHG emissions.

Energy for lighting purposes is provided by the electric grid, which combines fossil fuel production as well as hydroelectric production. It is not possible to separate the electricity source that will supply federal buildings.

The government recognizes the need to support green electricity production. In 2007, ecoENERGY for Renewable Power announced an investment of $1.48 billion to increase Canada's supply of clean electricity from renewable sources such as wind, biomass, low-impact hydro, geothermal, solar photovoltaic and ocean energy. It will encourage the production of 14.3 terawatt hours of new electricity from renewable energy sources, enough electricity to power about one million homes. This will equally benefit federal buildings, private dwellings and commercial buildings.

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Minister's Response: Public Works and Government Services Canada

22 October 2009

Mr. Marc-André Roy
11 Barton Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5M6

Dear Mr. Roy:

I am pleased to respond to your petition concerning “Policy and Action to Address Use of Lights in Federal Government Offices.” This petition was received by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development on June 8, 2009 and forwarded to my Department on June 23, 2009.

In addition to my Department, the Commissioner has asked the Ministers of Environment and Natural Resources, as well as the President of the Treasury Board to respond.

Your petition raises some important questions with respect to the lighting of federal government office buildings. The Department uses design standards, operating guidelines and best practices to minimize the use of lighting in federal office buildings. In addition, my Department has undertaken a number of activities to improve the energy efficiency of lighting systems in government-owned facilities. By lowering ambient light levels we have reduced the amount of electricity used in office buildings from an average of 4 watts per square foot to 1.3 watts per square foot. Finally, the Department has introduced motion detector-triggered lighting systems as new building fit-ups and retro-fits are completed within government-owned office facilities.

Additional details on initiatives taken by my Department to further improve lighting efficiencies in office buildings are provided in the enclosed responses to your individual questions and first four requests (Annex A). I understand my colleague, the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources will be responding to the fifth request.

Thank you for writing and for providing me the opportunity to respond to you on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

[Original signed by Christian Paradis, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada]

The Honourable Christian Paradis, P.C., M.P. (Mégantic-L’Érable)

c.c. Mr. Scott Vaughan
Commissioner of the Environment and
Sustainable Development

The Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., M.P.
Minister of the Environment

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Natural Resources

The Honourable Vic Toews, P.C., M.P.
President of the Treasury Board


ANNEX A

RESPONSE OF PUBLIC WORKS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES CANADA TO
ENVIRONMENTAL PETITION 279: POLICY AND ACTION TO ADDRESS USE OF LIGHTS IN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OFFICES

QUESTIONS:

  1. Do PWGSC and other relevant government departments have policies in place to limit the use of lighting in federal government offices to specific office hours or other periods when offices are actually in use? If so, what are these policies? How are these policies administered, managed, monitored?

Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) uses design standards, operating guidelines and best practices to optimize the use of lighting in federal government offices by limiting the use of lighting as much as possible. These standards, guidelines, practices govern the use of lighting in Crown-owned office facilities and are designed to take into account the diverse tenants and the varied operations these tenants conduct within Crown-owned facilities across Canada. Further, they are based on legal and other responsibilities that the Crown must discharge.

PWGSC provides accommodation to federal departments and agencies, many of which have specific operational requirements beyond the standard hours of operation. For example, certain departments have secure facilities, data centres, and buildings with multiple shifts that require extended lighting hours. Some departments provide services to taxpayers in six Canadian time zones, while others have a requirement to communicate with staff abroad. Therefore, the lighting hours in each building are based on the operational requirements of the client department.

In addition, minimum lighting levels are specified by the Canada Labour Code Part II and the National Building Code, supported by the National Fire Code. These codes dictate that emergency/egress lighting be provided in all buildings in Canada, both for security and in the event that the building must be vacated in an emergency. To meet this requirement, PWGSC has been directed by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada to provide continuous lighting with lower light level requirements, connected to emergency lighting circuits. For this reason, some lights are always left on in Crown-owned buildings.

PWGSC is continuously adopting industry best practices in reducing energy consumed by lighting, for example:

    • Using motion detector-triggered lighting in boardrooms, common areas, and in low traffic areas;
    • Harvesting perimeter daylight that allows for perimeter office lighting to be turned off when natural daylight provides sufficient lighting;
    • Reducing light levels by retro-fitting fluorescent lighting and controls
    • Piloting personalized lighting controls in individual work spaces; and
    • Upgrading lighting controls to enable occupants to turn on lighting when they enter office spaces each morning, to replace lighting controls that are activated automatically;

PWGSC continues to monitor and introduce ongoing advances in new lighting technology as it becomes commercially available. Moreover any newly constructed office buildings must meet the energy efficient lighting standards set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and be LEED Gold Certified. PWGSC is continually looking for new opportunities for energy savings, including from building lighting, and exploits emerging technologies that will reduce off-hour lighting requirements to a minimum whenever feasible.

PWGSC energy experts have reviewed the electrical demand curve for the Department of National Defence Headquarters, presented as figure two in your letter to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. Their review of the past ten months has determined that the lighting control system is functioning properly. The review also concluded that there have been instances when the lighting hours were extended for operational requirements.

  1. Where offices are leased, do arrangements with lessors and/or building managers explicitly prescribe, or otherwise outline terms of lighting of offices after hours? If so, how are infractions addressed (i.e., where empty offices are nevertheless illuminated after hours?)

Leases administered by PWGSC do not include a clause on lighting of offices outside standard hours of operation due to the varied operational requirements of government departments. In addition, many of the buildings leased by PWGSC are for mixed use and may contain commercial, public and/or private sector tenants and do not necessarily have independent lighting systems for each tenant. As PWGSC continues the process of greening its leases, it will consider how it can use lease clauses to support optimizing the use of lighting.

  1. Do individual departments pay the full cost of energy use from use of offices (including lighting)? If not, how are the use of this energy and related costs accounted?

PWGSC is required to provide standard services and facilities to tenant departments, including lighting, during standard operating hours (Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.), giving due consideration to locally accepted norms, applicable policies and regulations, and the tenant department’s specific operational requirements. These standard services include the full cost of energy and are normally funded by PWGSC through an appropriation received from the Treasury Board. PWGSC and tenant departments may agree to additional building services beyond standard, which are funded by the tenant department.

PWGSC does its best to reduce the electrical consumption in federal or PWGSC administered buildings, and continues to work with clients, building operators and cleaners to minimize off-hour use. Finally, PWGSC uses the various departmental “green” committees to promote awareness among employees on lighting and energy use.

  1. An important step in energy conservation is the quantification of energy use. Is the level of energy use from lighting of federal government offices known? If so, what is the approximate related annual energy consumption level for all federal government offices across the country?

PWGSC monitors energy use in each Crown-owned facility, but does not quantify the energy use from lighting. To do so, dedicated electrical sub metering would be required throughout each building to isolate the lighting load from the other electrical loads, such as Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning loads, vertical transportation loads, and plug loads. Instead of submetering, PWGSC has sought to reduce the electrical demand required by each luminaire and control the lighting to match occupancy.

PWGSC compiles total energy information for Crown-owned buildings. On average these buildings consumed 740 Megajoules per square meter of inside gross area of electricity and 580 Megajoules of energy from natural gas, oil and other sources. This is 5%-10% lower than industry averages, published by the Real Property Association of Canada.

  1. Can the total level of energy waste from lighting empty offices be estimated? What is the related level of annual GHG emissions? What is the related financial cost to taxpayers?

As previously noted in the answer to Question 4, PWGSC does not quantify the energy use from lighting.

  1. To what degree do federal offices use energy efficient lighting (e.g., energy efficient light bulbs)?

Over 93 % of the PWGSC Crown-owned building portfolio has been converted from T12 fluorescent lighting to energy efficient T8 fluorescent lighting. This initiative will continue until all T12 lighting has been replaced in the next few years.

The lighting load in Crown-owned office facilities has been reduced from a previous average of 4 watts per square foot to an average of 1.3 watts per square foot with the intention of achieving 1.0 in the next 10 years through the introduction of second-generation T8 lighting. PWGSC has also replaced incandescent exit sign illumination with LED (light emitting diode) alternatives in most buildings. Pot lights and incandescent lighting, not under dimmer control, have been converted to compact fluorescent alternatives.

PWGSC manages a number of designated heritage buildings. In these buildings, aesthetic considerations and period appearance dictate the lighting used to retain the historical nature of the buildings. PWGSC has utilized energy efficient technology where possible to lower the overall lighting energy use in these designated buildings.

  1. What plans, if any, are in place to limit the use of energy for lighting government offices (both during the work day, and after hours) in the future?

Please refer to the response to question 1.

REQUESTS:

  1. Strict and consistent policies should be developed and put in place across all federal government offices to limit the use of lighting to office hours or other periods when offices are actually in use (lighting for security purposes not withstanding). These policies should be in place both for government owned offices, as well as leased offices. A related policy to monitor lighting of offices after hours should also be put in place to promote sustained adoption of energy-smart lighting policies.

As referenced in the response to question 1, PWGSC uses design standards, operating guidelines, and best practices to minimize the use of lighting based on operational need in Crown-owned buildings. Many of the departments and agencies, for whom PWGSC provides accommodation, have specific operational requirements beyond standard hours of operation. For this reason, the lighting hours in each building are based on the operational requirements of the tenant department.

Newly constructed office buildings must meet the energy efficient lighting standards set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and be LEED Gold Certified. Moreover, PWGSC is updating its build-to-lease documents to reflect the new realities of energy conservation and is now issuing tender calls to LEED Silver as a minimum for leases on large spaces. PWGSC is continually looking for new opportunities for energy savings, including from building lighting. PWGSC will continue to explore possibilities for adopting new technologies that will reduce to a minimum our off-hour lighting requirements.

PWGSC is completing a three-year program of BOMA Go Green Plus assessments in its Crown-owned buildings. BOMA GO Green Plus is a private sector tool for evaluating the environmental performance and management of buildings. These assessments feed into the existing processes such as Energy Audits, building performance reviews and Key Performance Indicators Reporting that PWGSC uses to manage its energy consumption and identify potential building upgrade projects.

  1. The use of motion detector-triggered lighting systems should be considered for rooms and office facilities that are not used continuously (e.g., washrooms, meeting rooms, etc.). There are many examples of such application in public buildings in Europe.

PWGSC is using motion detector-triggered lighting systems in Crown-owned facilities. As new fit-ups occur or retrofit projects are completed, these types of switching/sensors are introduced.

  1. If not already the case, government departments should individually pay full cost of energy use from lighting offices (and energy use more generally), to promote financial incentives to reduce energy use.

As referenced in the response to question 3, PWGSC is required to provide standard services and facilities, including lighting, during standard operating hours (Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.), giving due consideration to locally accepted norms, applicable policies and regulations, and the tenant department’s operational requirements. These standard services include the full cost of energy and are normally funded by PWGSC through an appropriation received from the Treasury Board. PWGSC and tenant departments may agree to additional services beyond standard, which are funded by the tenant department.

PWGSC controls and monitors operational and energy expenses through an annual planning process called the Building Management Plan. Incentives to save are an integral part of the contracts with the utility providers and service providers in federal buildings.

  1. Energy efficient light bulbs should be introduced as and when current light bulbs and lighting systems fail.

PWGSC is converting to energy efficient lighting. Please refer to the response to Question 6, which describes the steps being taken to convert to energy efficient lighting.

  1. Where possible, energy sources for lighting of government offices should favour green energy in order to reduce the related level of GHG emissions.

The Honourable Minister of Natural Resources will respond to this Request, under separate cover, as the request falls under his Department’s mandate.

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Minister's Response: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

28 October 2009

Mr. Marc-Andre Roy
11 Barton Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1S 5M6

Dear Mr. Roy:

I am writing in response to your environmental petition No. 279, which you submitted to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development on June 6, 2009, regarding the use of lights in federal office buildings.

Please be advised that the specific questions you raised in this petition are outside of my department’s mandate.

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) has established an overarching policy on the management of real property; the Policy on Management of Real Property. The policy identifies the accountabilities of Deputy Heads which include ensuring that:

  • real property be managed in an environmentally responsible manner consistent with the principle of sustainable development; and
  • the overall performance of the real property is regularly and systematically assessed for functionality, utilization, and physical and financial performance.

Federal departments are required to adhere to Treasury Board policies, but the operation of real property, including the use of energy, falls out of the scope of the Secretariat’s role.

I am aware that your petition was also sent to my colleagues, the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment, and to the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Public Works and Government Services. I understand that Mr. Paradis will be responding to the petition questions.

Thank you for expressing your concerns and bringing this issue to my attention.

Yours sincerely,

[Original signed by Vic Toews, President of the Treasury Board]

Vic Toews, P.C., Q.C., M.P.

c.c.: The Honourable Christian Paradis, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Jim Prentice, P.C., M.P.
Mr. Scott Vaughan, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development