The Internet-of-Things Promise in Buildings

October 31, 2019

This week, we present a special episode in collaboration with Centrica Business Solutions and GTM Creative Strategies.

For the last decade and a half, we’ve been hearing about how the internet-of-things would completely reshape how our buildings operate — and how people operate within them.

But while the layer of digital tech in buildings is advancing all the time, the IOT revolution is taking longer to play out than some expected.

“In short, a lot of the promise has not been fulfilled,” says Paul Kuehn, a senior sales director for distributed energy at Centrica Business Solutions.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily a measure of the technology at this point. We’ve gotten past the hype of having the devices. It’s the use of the devices and the competency of the operators to be able to figure out how to solve problems with those devices,” explains Kuehn.

By next year, there will be 10 billion IOT devices connected to the cloud globally. In another three years, the number will more than double to 22 billion.

Billions of those devices — sensors, intelligent lighting and HVAC systems, control systems — are being deployed in commercial buildings and industrial facilities. They’re making buildings smarter. But are they making the people who run buildings any smarter?

We brought Paul Kuehn together with Darren Cooper, the president of Renteknik Group, to answer that question and discuss the state of play for IOT in C&I buildings.

This podcast was produced on behalf of Centrica Business Solutions. Centrica is using analytics, market know-how, and distributed technologies to help C&I customers take control of their energy use and improve their environmental performance.

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Financial assistance for energy management projects

Through the implementation of an Energy Management Information System (EMIS) the goal is to engage individuals on all levels of an organization.  Guiding our Clients through the various phases of the EMIS, we are able to provide them with the in depth visibility on energy usage and performance they require to make informed decisions and take effective actions to manage energy use and costs.

With Renteknik’s expertise and knowledge we can implement an Operational Efficiency & Energy Management Plan that is unique to each Client that focuses on their financial planning, project and resource needs.

Throughout the EMIS process there is a deep focus on improvements, integration of efficiency implementations, ongoing communication, optimized performance analysis and reporting on systems on a continuous basis.

An energy management information system (EMIS) is a performance management system that enables individuals and organizations to plan, make decisions and take effective actions to manage energy use and costs.

An EMIS makes energy performance visible to different levels of the organization by converting energy and utility driver data at energy account centres into energy performance information. It does this by using performance equations that are compared with the organization’s energy targets.

Implement an EMIS in your organization

There are three phases to developing an EMIS.

Phase 1: EMIS Audit

An EMIS audit is an in-depth, eight-step process that will help your organization find out how much energy it is using, identify gaps and make recommendations. Critically, it will help you determine whether there is a financial case for implementing EMIS.

Phase 2: Implementation Plan

This phase shows you accurate costs for implementing EMIS and details the scope of the project and the resources your organization needs to manage it. It also gives you a schedule to implement and manage an EMIS

Phase 3: Implementation

The implementation phase allows your organization to make continuous energy efficiency improvements. Once all aspects of your plan are implemented, your EMIS will:

  • Gather information on energy consumption
  • Gather information on the useful outputs that result from the consumption of energy
  • Gather information on any other factors that may affect energy consumption
  • Contain analysis routines that allow you to compare between energy consumption and utility drivers
  • Build and display energy performance reports

For more information, read the guidebook for managers, engineers and operational staff called Energy Management Information Systems: Achieving Improved Energy Efficiency (PDF, 1.14 MB).

Our mandate is to empower our Clients in every area of the
organization, whether with Owners, Managers, Engineers, Finance or Operational Staff to see what is happening within their businesses.  With EMIS in place Improved Energy Efficiency can be achieved, ultimately saving your business money and contributing to overall sustainability.

Contact us today for a FREE Consultation to discuss how we can support your business to receive the NRCan EMIS Program financial assistance, manage your energy and operational efficiency needs and provide you with solutions that will benefit your business and bottom line. 

Contact Us Today 1-855-634-3888 |

To Note: Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) provides cost-shared financial assistance to Canadian industrial companies of up to 50% of eligible costs to a maximum of $40,000. NRCan may adjust its level of funding if combined with other sources of funding, so that the combined level from all public sources (including provincial-territorial-municipal governments and Crown-owned utilities) does not exceed 75% of total eligible project costs.

CLIMATE ACTION INCENTIVE FUND Small and Medium sized Enterprises Project stream


Small and Medium sized Enterprises Project stream

The Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF) SME Project stream provides support to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for retrofit projects in sectors such as Building, Transportation, Industry, Waste, Agriculture, and more.

The CAIF program is available to applicants operating in the provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick.

Application period

90 days starting July 17, 2019, or until funding exhausted.

Eligible recipients

  • Small-sized incorporated enterprises of 1-99 employees
  • Medium-sized incorporated enterprises of 100-499 employees

(Note: Participants in the Output-Based Pricing System are not eligible.)

Eligible rebate amount

  • Up to 25% of project’s total eligible costs
  • No less than $20,000 CAD and no more than $250,000 CAD per project and per recipient
  • A $250,000 CAD funding cap will apply to the group of applicant franchisees who operate under the same franchise trade name in each eligible province

Eligible project categories (non-exhaustive) and sample activities

Agricultural retrofits

  • Changes to agricultural processes to improve energy efficiency
  • Fuel switching to lower emitting energy sources in agricultural operations
  • Other energy efficiency measures in the agricultural sector

Building retrofits

  • Enhancements to building envelope (with direct energy savings), including energy efficient windows/doors/skylights, increased insulation, weatherproofing, and glazing
  • Energy efficient lighting system
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment/systems/controls
  • Water heating retrofits, including high efficiency condensing water heating
  • High-efficiency motors and controls
  • Energy management controls, including building automation systems
  • Fuel switching to lower emitting energy sources in existing buildings

Electricity, energy or fuel production

  • District energy (heating and/or cooling)
  • Combined heat and power for own use
  • Renewable energy systems (e.g. solar photovoltaic, wind energy, micro-hydro, stand-alone storage systems) on-site and for own-use
  • Low-emission fuel production for own-use

Industrial process improvements

  • Retrofitting and upgrading of existing equipment used for industrial processes
  • Fuel switching to lower emitting energy sources
  • Process changes
  • Waste-heat recovery

Transportation retrofits

  • Heavy-duty vehicle retrofits, including energy efficiency and/or fuel switching to lower emitting sources
  • Marine vehicle retrofits, including energy efficiency and/or fuel switching to lower emitting sources


  • Energy efficiency measures in waste management

Apply Now (For instructions on how to apply, please refer to Annex A: how to complete an online application)

Application Guide: Preview the Applicant Guide.

Important: The act of submitting an Application Form and Application Certification does not guarantee selection nor provision of funding under the Climate Action Incentive Fund SMEs Project stream.

Renteknik would welcome the opportunity to provide a Proposal to be your energy consultant. Call us today at (905) 634-3888 or email




Municipalities, Universities, Schools and Hospitals (MUSH) Retrofit stream

The Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF) MUSH Retrofit stream provides funding to municipalities, universities/colleges, schools, and hospitals to help them make energy efficiency improvements and retrofits to reduce energy use, costs, and carbon pollution.

This CAIF program is available in the provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick.

The first round of funding for 2019-2020 is intended to support energy efficiency projects in schools. The Government of Canada will work with each province (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick) to help deliver funding to schools for energy efficient projects that will allow children to have a better environment to learn, study and play. School boards will identify and prioritize projects and provinces will submit eligible projects to the federal government for funding consideration.

Schools and/or school boards interested in participating in the MUSH Retrofit stream are encouraged to contact their provincial governments for more details on how to apply.

Funding for municipalities, universities/colleges and hospitals under the MUSH Retrofit stream will be announced later in 2019-2020.

Renteknik would welcome the opportunity to provide a Proposal to be your energy consultant. Call us today at (905) 634-3888 or email




By Darren Cooper
July 2019 issue of Energy Manager Canada magazine

By now, we have all heard plenty about the rise and upcoming exponential growth of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), a concept that reaches nearly every area of the economy. It entails the connectivity of data and devices, along with the increasing personalization of technology.

The number of connected devices is expected to explode in the future. Forecasts for 2020—i.e. next year—range from 20 billion to more than 200 billion new devices.1

For businesses large and small, the reasons for the high level of interest in IoT technology include reducing operating costs, increasing productivity, responding to changing market conditions and maintaining customer satisfaction. (Above all, though, people are inherently lazy! We want to automate and control everything for convenience. And we want to see data in real time, so we can take action based on it.)

One lesser-known benefit of joining IoT devices with each other and acquiring a wealth of data is the opportunity to improve energy efficiency. The technology can create reporting capabilities on everything from grid performance to where an organization is wasting energy. In turn, such reports can help determine potential savings, without requiring human intervention.

IoT-based ‘smart grids’ allow energy distribution to be managed in real time, as they use real-time data rather than historic patterns of energy consumption. Pairing this information with ‘smart meters’ opens the door to energy services that could significantly reduce costs for Canadian businesses, while also boosting their sustainability credentia

The value of IoT to commercial buildings

The need for buildings to become both more connected and more resource-efficient will become increasingly evident as our current infrastructure continues to mature. Implementing IoT devices allows building managers to collect and analyze data on current conditions, including areas where routine maintenance or urgent improvements are needed.

As codes and incentives make sustainability and efficiency more important in the future, buildings that are already smart and connected will become more desirable to tenants, as they will be positioned to generate significant cost savings.

Rising energy expenses are a challenge for small businesses in particular—and especially those where energy consumption is a major component of their model. They can struggle to retain profit margins if they continue to take traditional approaches to energy management. Any services or applications of IoT technology that can help them further reduce their energy consumption will be of great value to them in terms of controlling their expenditures.

Finding efficiencies with greater control

Energy management systems (EMSs) developed with IoT technology will become the heartbeat of tomorrow’s intelligent buildings. Their capabilities will go beyond traditional building management systems (BMSs), which typically monitor and control power-sourced systems like lighting, HVAC, elevators and office equipment.

IoT sensors will be able to collect, analyze and translate data into information that can be reported back to users, enabling them to make actionable decisions for improving energy efficiency within their facility.

The following are a few examples of such opportunities:

Smart thermostats

Already relatively common in the consumer market, smart thermostats allow users to remotely monitor and control the temperature of a building. They can override scheduled programs to lower or raise the temperature as needed. In addition, these devices can automatically provide energy-consumption analytics and show how much money is being saved each month’s utility bills.


IoT-based sensors can monitor occupancy levels within a building and then, after there has been no movement detected for a specific period, the system can suggest—via app notification—adjusting the heating or cooling to save energy. Further, this same system can track occupants’ preferences over time and begin to make adjustments automatically in response to their needs. And like a smart thermostat, the platform can provide power consumption reports for more in-depth insight.


Similarly, integrated occupancy sensors can be set to turn lights on or off based on the presence of people in each room of a building. Other options include notifying building managers when a light has been left on for a certain period.

Window shades

Based on time of day and/or ambient light levels, light sensors on the outer surfaces of window shades can automatically adjust them throughout the day, so as to take advantage of natural sunlight—thus allowing indoor lights to be turned off, saving electricity—or, with solar-powered motorized thermal shades, to insulate the windows against hot and cold weather and help the building’s climate control system operate more efficiently.

Plug load control

The appliances and electronic devices plugged into a building’s outlets continue to draw ‘phantom’ or ‘standby’ power when they are not in use. This is the case even when they are in ‘sleep’ mode or fully turned off. As such, they can have a significant impact on a facility’s energy efficiency. IoT-enabled smart plugs and wireless submetering systems can monitor their energy consumption and plug load control devices can prevent them from using phantom power.

Defining success

In the next five years, IoT connectivity will be amplified and intensified, transforming how organizations operate, in ways we cannot yet imagine. As capabilities to monitor systems and gather information grow, those organizations that embrace the opportunity to respond to such data by improving their energy efficiency will define a new level of competitive success.


1Amy Collins, et al, “United States: The Internet of Things Part 2: The Old Problem Squared,” Morrison & Foerster LLP, 2014; and Peter Middleton, Peter Kjeldsen, Jim Tully, “Forecast: The Internet of Things, Worldwide, 2013,” Gartner white paper, November 18, 2013.

Darren Cooper is president of Renteknik Group in Burlington, Ont., which provides engineering and project management services relating to energy efficiency, including audits, performance analyses, optimization and system designs. For more information, please visit or call (905) 634-3888.


How does it work?

  • Incentives are provided at four cents per kilowatt hour ($0.04/kWh) of savings each year against the building’s historical baseline performance
  • Contract term is currently through to the end of 2021
  • In addition to the annual performance payments, customers are entitled to receive a Modelling Incentive of $1,500 for each enrolled facility, up to a maximum of $15,000 for 10 approved facilities
  • Customers have choice and flexibility in implementing capital and non-capital energy efficiency measures with no project by project incentive applications required
  • Get rewarded for energy savings at the same rate regardless of the types of projects/activities that have been implemented

What is needed to participate?

  • Be a facility that is not used for industrial or manufacturing business
  • Commit buildings to participate for at least 2 years
  • Plan to realize at least 5% energy savings per building
  • Have hourly interval meter data available for buildings for at least the last 12 months
  • Have a minimum annual consumption of 1,500,000 kWh per building (or group of up to five buildings aggregated into a single baseline energy model are permitted)

All new and existing customers enrolling facilities after July 15, 2019 will fall under the new EPP Agreement with a term ending on December 31, 2021.
Renteknik would welcome the opportunity to provide a Proposal to be your energy consultant. Call us today at (905) 634-3888 or email