Software tools that promote market adoption of high performance buildings and best practices in energy management.

Our Approach

We believe that decisions informed by data and knowledge of industry trends are better decisions, and that regulatory, financial, social, and environmental objectives can be aligned as a result.

To achieve this, OPEN develops low-barrier tools that provide elegant, accessible, and actionable information. We strive to balance competition and sector building in designing our sustainable revenue model. If you would like to co-create a new product with us, please get in touch.


Energy Benchmarking Solutions

Status: In Development

Partners: City of Vancouver, City of Richmond, City of Surrey Metro Vancouver, City of New Westminster, University of British Columbia, BC Hydro, Vancity

What is energy benchmarking?

Energy benchmarking starts with the measurement of a buildings energy use. If energy use is measured, then it can be compared to other similar buildings or expected results, and we can have a conversation about improving the building’s operations.

The end result is that benchmarked building use less energy and become more energy efficient over time. This saves the building owner money and we all feel great about reducing energy and GHG emissions from our cities.

Learn more about the technology:

1. Compliance Management Tool The OPEN Compliance Management Tool (CMT) is a custom built software platform designed for successfully managing a benchmarking compliance program.

2. Map Display The OPEN Building Map Display is a custom built software platform designed to meet the public disclosure requirements of an energy benchmarking program.

3. SEED The Standardized Energy Efficiency Database (SEED) is an open-source web application that offers public agencies and private organizations a standardized yet flexible enterprise data platform.

4. ESPM Energy Star Portfolio Manager (ESPM) is the industry standard for benchmarking commercial building energy efficiency. ESPM enables the easy collection of the data needed for successfully running a benchmarking program.


CAGBC Disclosure Challenge

Status: Launched

Partners: Canada Green Building Council, NRCAN, QuadReal, Real Estate Foundation of BC, Concert Properties, Triovest Realty Advisors Inc.

The CAGBC Disclosure Challenge has been launched to support and champion the importance of data transparency in the Canadian real estate market and encourage broader uptake of benchmarking programs across the country. The owners who are participating in this initiative are showing a commitment to transparency and responsible management, and ultimately to energy and emissions reductions. This program is intended to showcase the true value and opportunity that sharing performance data has to reduce costs and improve asset value.

OPEN has worked with CAGBC and its partners to create the site and map interface that supports the challenge.

Read more and check it out here.


Building Demand

Status: In Development

Partners: Real Estate Foundation of BC, Vancity, BC Housing, City of Vancouver, Vancouver Economic Foundation

Steering Committee: Michael Bousfield (Cascadia Windows), Morgan Beall (Vancity), Christian Cianfrone (Zebx), Susanne Ruhle (CAGBC), George Benson (Vancouver Economic Commission), Sabina Foofat (City of Vancouver), Chris Amy (Government of BC), Cillian Collins (Perkins + Will), Warren Senkowski (Canadian Trade Commissioner Service)

The VEC has developed a “Market Demand Forecasting Tool” that predicts the demand for 6 categories of building products and technologies. These categories are:

  • Fenestration Products
  • Insulation Products
  • Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs)
  • HVAC Equipment (including heat pumps)
  • Domestic Hot Water
  • Drain Water Heat Recovery

The policies that mandate the use of these higher performance building products will create a $3.3 billion market in Metro Vancouver (2019-2032).

OPEN is converting this technical demand forecast model developed by Delphi Group for VEC  into a user friendly, public web application that will accelerate market adoption of high performance building products.  We are aiming to make it more accessible, usable, and searchable as well as mobile-ready. The goal of the tool is to provide as many stakeholders as possible with access to this data so that they can help realize the market potential and environmental benefit of enabling regulatory and technological change in the building sector.

Interested in participating in user testing or being notified once the tools launches? Email jenna@opengb.com.

Learn more about the Green Building Market Forecast.


Smart Surfaces

Status: In Development

Partners: Integral Group, Smart Growth America

Smart Growth America has developed a comprehensive cost-benefit model meant to bring to the attention of municipalities what SGA is calling infrastructural “smart surfaces”: examples include high-albedo roofing and pavements, photovoltaic panels, permeable pavers, green roofs, and urban trees. Transforming urban surfaces have been projected to have benefits of about 3-4 times the cost when three pilot cities were modelled, considering raw cost, reductions in social inequality and mitigations to climate change.

The model is currently implemented as a large Excel spreadsheet. Used correctly it can help produce an optimal mix of the various smart surface interventions for a given urban area. But, applying the model to a new urban area is complicated:

· providing several dozen accurate inputs such as the quantity of high- and low-slope roof area, regional installation costs requires significant ‘data-detective’ work;

· shaping and interpreting the mix result requires an expert’s understanding of how the model is put together.


SGA wants the model to be usable and useful to non-experts: eg. to support urban activists to pressure municipalities to adopt these measures, and municipal staff to validate the analysis and take policy action. The Excel implementation is not currently fit for this purpose.

OPEN is:

  1. using the Excel implementation to guide the development of a new calculation engine suitable for running on servers;
  2. building a web-browser-based user interface to the calculation engine that both eases the data-detective work of filling in the necessary urban-context-specific inputs, either by connecting to available data sources or guiding the user to make educated guesses, and provides clear, actionable, easily-shared results and (as far as is feasible) makes the process by which the inputs produced result legible and non-mysterious.
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