Thought Leadership

COMPASS: Free Energy Benchmarking for Everyone Starts Today

Toronto – In a move aimed at accelerating the understanding and adoption of energy-saving solutions in the design and construction of buildings, a new platform of information exchange launches today – at no cost to the users.

energy benchmarking, for free foreveryone

The tool, or Compass for short, streamlines energy benchmarking and reporting during the design phase of building development projects. Users upload energy models to the tool, which then automatically extracts over 400 variables and completes the submission requirements for six building standards and programs in a matter of seconds. A data visualization platform allows users to benchmark their modelled building against a database, which in turn, informs the design process – pushing buildings to ever-higher levels of performance.

“Previously, data available through energy simulation studies has not been leveraged en masse to analyze performance trends or to benchmark similar buildings to improve energy performance,” said Mike Williams, principal here at RWDI, who developed the program in partnership with the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) and Toronto’s Architecture 2030 District.

Compass represents a next evolution of the award-winning live database called ecoMetrics, initiated by Diamond Schmitt Architects and developed in conjunction with RWDI. Both tools translate the extensive data of building energy simulation models into easily understood graphic presentation. The intention of both tools is to improve energy literacy and inform green building design towards the ultimate goal of net-zero carbon emissions.

Compass has been made freely available, to all members of the Ontario design and construction industry, through generous funding provided by The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) and the Independent Electricity System Operator's (IESO). Prior to the launch of Compass, ownership of the tool and stewardship of the collected data was donovated to the non-profit Sustainable Buildings Canada (SBC). Beyond transition of the ownership of the tool to a non-profit, further measures have been put in place to protect the interests of the Compass users and their data, including the establishment of an advisory committee comprised of representation from the OAA and the International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBSPA) Canada. RWDI will continue supporting further technical development and leading some of the planned adoption and dissemination activities over the next year.

“The design and construction industry is almost exclusively comprised of small companies and we are tasked with trying to solve some of this generation’s biggest problems, such as climate change,” said Williams. “Our thesis with Compass is that if we can find ways to begin to share data, effectively working together, we will be able to develop real solutions faster, and begin to chart a course towards a zero-carbon future.” Compass has officially launched, and is free to use by all members of the design and construction community in Ontario. Visit to register and learn more.