City of Saskatoon

About the Home Energy Project

About the Home Energy Map

The City of Saskatoon’s Home Energy Map is a self-service online tool that provides homeowners with a digital energy score for their home plus a customized “retrofit roadmap” to boost the comfort and efficiency of their home.

The core goal of the Map is to educate and engage homeowners to start them on the right path toward deep energy retrofits, and to connect them with resources like the City’s Energy Coaching services to maintain their momentum and access further support and rebate information.

Who developed the Home Energy Map?

OPEN Technologies was contracted to develop the Map for the City of Saskatoon.

OPEN Technologies is a Canadian software company that has developed energy benchmarking maps and analytics tools for approximately 30 jurisdictions across the country. Their team has decades of experience in green building innovation, software development, project management, and business development.

How is this initiative funded?

The City received grant funding of $3,666,600 from FCM for the Home Energy Loan Program (HELP). Of this funding $2,349,600 has been earmarked for program enhancements which have been designed with the goal of helping all homeowners overcome the knowledge and implementation barriers for home retrofits relating to energy efficiency and renewable energy. This tool is one of many enhancements to the program and is available to all residents of Saskatoon, not just those participating in HELP.

Where does the information for the Map come from?

The Home Energy Map was developed by OPEN Technologies and is powered with its AI-driven building and energy modelling tool. This model utilizes home information from publicly available tax assessment records (such as type of home, year built, floorplan, etc.) and was trained using publicly available information from a large dataset of real Saskatoon homes, identifying the mathematical relationship between the attributes of a home and its energy performance before and after an energy saving retrofit project.

Are there privacy concerns with the Map?

The Map does not contain any personal information and the energy scores were created using aggregated publicly available data from Natural Resources Canada.

The City completed a privacy impact assessment during the procurement process for the Map and there was no privacy issues or personal information provided to OPEN from the City.

Similar information about a home including details like the square footage, building style, parcel area and age of home is publicly available on the City’s Property Assessment & Tax Tool.

About the Tool

What is an Energy Score?

An energy score is an estimate of the annual energy consumption of a home under standard conditions, similar to what may be provided by a home energy audit.

But instead of requiring the time and expense of a manual energy audit, the Home Energy Map provides a ‘virtual audit’ based upon OPEN Technologies’ AI-driven modelling engine.

How did you come up with my Energy Score?

The Home Energy Map was developed by OPEN Technologies and is powered by its AI-driven building and energy modelling tool. This model utilizes publicly available home information from tax assessment records (such as type of home, year built, floorplan, etc.) and was trained using publicly available information from a large dataset of real Saskatoon homes that had gone through the EnerGuide for Homes process.

Is this the same as an EnerGuide score?

No. While both the Home Energy Map and the EnerGuide for Homes program provide estimates of the energy consumption of a home under normalized conditions, they are not the same thing. EnerGuide for Homes is an initiative of the Government of Canada that uses an onsite energy audit to collect multiple data points about a home and generate a modelled energy score as a result.

While it uses a similar modelling approach, the Home Energy Map is a purely virtual process that only has access to a limited number of data points about a home, specifically those that are available from tax assessment data.

Our estimated energy scores will become more consistent with EnerGuide scores if we have more information about your home, especially about any energy saving projects that have already been done. Please use the tool to tell us more about your home, and we will rerun the model to give you an updated score and an updated retrofit roadmap.

What assumptions were made about homes? (eg. Why no cooling?)

We base our scores on known and assumed attributes of your home, such as:

  • Age
  • Size
  • Type (detached or semi-detached)
  • Number of stories
  • Location

These known traits are then run through our Saskatoon-specific model to provide an Energy Score based upon a) additional assumed attributes and b) modeled energy performance based upon these attributes.

As noted above, our initial Energy Score is only as accurate as the information we have about your home. For example, we know from publicly available data that approximately half of Saskatoon homes have air conditioning… but we don’t know which half. As a result, since we’ll be wrong about 50% of the time whichever assumption we make about air conditioning, we have elected to assume that no homes have air conditioning in our baseline scores.

Have air conditioning? Great! Just update the tool with this information - plus any other information about updates made to your home in the last 10 years - and we will generate a new Energy Score for you.

Can this energy score be used instead of an EnerGuide Home Assessment to apply for grants and loans from the Canada Greener Homes Program?

No. The Canada Greener Homes program still requires you complete a pre and post project EnerGuide home assessment to access their loan and grant program. The goal of the Home Energy Map is to provide you with a starting point and access to ongoing City supports to help you decide which energy renovations are the best use of your budget depending on your goals such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving the comfort of your home or reducing energy bills.

How are my Estimated Annual Emissions calculated?

The emissions associated with fossil fuel use are calculated using industry standard emissions factors. Electricity emissions are more complex as they are constantly changing and overtime, expected to get to zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. Our approach uses a 10-year average emissions factor based on projections from both the federal government and SaskPower on how the grid in Saskatchewan is expected to evolve over time, both through technology improvements and policy changes.

Why do we ask you about Air Conditioning?

If you’re looking to add air conditioning or your air conditioner is needing replacement soon, you are a perfect candidate for installing a heat pump! A heat pump is just an air conditioner that can also provide heating and has a comparable cost to an air conditioner. Also like an air-conditioner, heat pumps can be connected into your existing or new furnace and provide energy efficient heating for most of the year, with your furnace’s gas-based heating system only having to turn on in the most extreme conditions.

How do I share the results of this tool with others (e.g. the Energy Coach)?

You can share a PDF of the results by printing the Roadmap to PDF (e.g. using the "Print Roadmap" button). Note that only portrait PDFs are functional, and there is a known issue with Safari where you will need to manually resize your window before printing.

Retrofit Quiz Help

Do you have a measured air tightness value from a previous EnerGuide Home Audit?

This would typically be found on page 2 of your Home Owner Information Sheet (HOIS), in a table under "House Details" called "Airtightness". Please enter the Air Leakage Rate at 50 pascals from this page onto the box labelled "ACH Value" (e.g. 1.6 [air changes/hour]).

Helpful Tips for Using the Tool

How do I find my home?

Users can view a particular home in Saskatoon either by clicking on the home in the map view, or by directly inputting an address. If this home belongs to the you, you can “claim your home” to see a more detailed energy score and create a retrofit roadmap to start you on your energy saving journey.

I get my electricity bill in kWh and my gas bill in cubic meters. Why are you giving me energy values in gigajoules (GJ)?

Most energy scores convert to GJ as a common unit of measurement between electricity, gas, and other energy sources. We are aiming to be consistent with that approach.

What are Air Changes per Hour (ACH)?

This is a measure of a home’s air tightness, specifically how many times each hour the air in a home turns over at a constant pressure of 50 pascals. In an EnerGuide audit, this value will be determined by the blower door test. In this virtual energy audit, this is a modelled estimate based upon the known and assumed attributes of the home.

What if I have already done a bunch of energy renovations to my home? Are these captured in the energy score?

The Map allows homeowners to “claim their home” on the map and add additional information to improve the accuracy of their energy score and retrofit roadmap in a secure environment. All it requires to claim a home is to make an account on the map and verify you own the home using your property tax assessment number which can be found on your annual property tax bills from the City.

Once you claim a home and create an account, you can update your home’s energy score by inputting real upgrades made to your home in recent years. This will update your current score, as well as potential energy savings and the pathway to achieve them. For example, there’s no sense in recommending new windows if you just put in brand new triple-pane windows last summer!

Additional Information

How do I contact OPEN Technologies about bringing the Home Energy Map to my community?

If you are interested in seeing the Home Energy Map in your community, send us an email at info@opentech.ecoto request a demo, and visit our website opentech.eco for more information.

How do I get in touch to start my retrofit journey?

To speak to a City of Saskatoon Energy Coach, please reach out here.

I have feedback on the tool, or something is not working as expected. Who do I tell?

Please contact us at YXEHomeEnergyMap@opentech.eco.