The Project

The Compass project endeavors to create a streamlined energy benchmarking and reporting tool for new construction projects at the design stage. By providing market-wide benchmarking analytics, this tool will enhance the quality of modelled energy performance, improve the energy literacy of the design community, improve conservation program delivery, and ultimately reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from every proposed building development in Ontario.

What Does Compass Do?

Compass automatically extracts up to 400 building and performance characteristics from each project that is uploaded. Users can use this data to generate draft program submission documents, to check models against a database of like-buildings, or just to explore the proposed building stock of Ontario.


Most new buildings in Ontario will need an energy model to prove compliance with one, or several, programs and/or regulations. Once the models are checked for compliance, the data inside of them will never be used again. Compass aims to put that data to use to help inform future building design.

The Team

Compass is owned and operated by Sustainable Buildings Canada, and governed in part by our Advisory Committee. The automated extraction code and database structure was developed by RWDI Inc., with generous support from The Atmospheric Fund and the Independent Electricity System Operator.

Development History
  • 2013 - Diamond Schmitt Architects and RWDI worked collaboratively to develop ecoMetrics, a live interactive database that unpacks building energy simulation models for a growing portfolio of Diamond Schmitt projects. The "architect + engineer" collaborative resulted in many interesting visual representations of building energy use, several of which provided inspiration for the Compass Explore tools.
  • 2016 - The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) in partnership with RWDI was awarded concept development funding from The Atmospheric Fund (TAF). The TAF funding enabled the development of scripts that automate the harvesting of data from energy simulations, one of Compass's key innovations.
  • 2017 - A collaborative led by RWDI with support from the OAA and Toronto's 2030 District were awarded the Independent Electricity System Operator's (IESO) conservation fund. The IESO funding enabled the development of a user interface, governance structure, as well as an adoption campaign.
  • 2018 - Ownership of the tool and stewardship of the collected data was novated to Sustainable Buildings Canada (SBC). Additionally, an Advisory Committee comprised of representation from the OAA, IBPSA and SBC was established with the primary intention of protecting the interests of the end users of Compass.
  • 2018 - Compass goes live! Any member of the design and construction community in Ontario can begin to utilize the tool to benchmark their portfolio.

User Accounts


User accounts are organized into Firm profiles to enable information sharing among users from the same company. All user accounts with email domains that match the Firm will be linked, and will share access to all uploaded Firm projects.

Account Management

Each user account will be tied to a unique email address. At this time, accounts cannot be deleted by a user. The “Forgot Password” function will reset the password of an account, and send an update link by email. This can be used to manage access to a Firm’s projects (e.g. when a user leaves a Firm).

User Agreement

The User Agreement governs access to, and all use of, the Compass website and database, including any downloadable material. In addition, the User Agreement defines what data will be disclosed to the public and what data is kept private. Each user must agree to the terms of the User Agreement to register for an account.

Advisory Committee

Compass has established an Advisory Committee to protect the rights and interests of its users. The Advisory Committee will oversee the implementation of the User Agreement, review any proposed changes to the User Agreement by the Owner, and review and recommend solutions to any user concerns over data privacy and security.

Data FAQ


User privacy is important to us. Data extracted from energy models will only be shared in the database when the “Shared” option is selected on each Project Version page. At that time, only “Shared Data” will be disclosed through the Explore tools and Download option. Users will be able to see all Shared and “Private Data” for their own projects, and any projects belonging to their firm.

Shared Data

Shared data is defined by the User Agreement, and refers to information within the Compass database that is available for download by all users of the tool. Shared data is also used to generate the visualization tools found on the Explore pages. Shared data is limited to anonymized information, normalized data, and building characteristics that cannot be used to identify a project. These limitations include:

  • No project identification is disclosed, e.g. project name, address, user.
  • No absolute energy values are disclosed, only intensities.
  • No specific GFA or modelled floor area is released; projects are grouped by size range.
  • Location is not directly disclosed; projects are grouped by region.

The full list of shared data can be found in the User Agreement.

Private Data

Private data is defined by the User Agreement, and refers to information within the Compass database that is only available to the firm that uploaded the project. Individual users can see the private data from all projects within the firm’s portfolio. All data points that are not identified as “shared data” are considered private data. Private data can include:

  • Project-specific identification, such as project name, address, client, location.
  • Absolute or total energy values.
  • Gross floor area and/or modelled floor area.

The full list of private data can be found in the User Agreement.

Where is the data stored?

All data is stored in a secured data center located in Toronto, Ontario.

Modelled Results vs. Actual Energy Usage

The purpose of energy modelling is not to predict actual built energy cost or energy consumption of a proposed building after construction. Instead, energy modelling is a decision facilitation tool used to evaluate the relative performance of energy conservation measures and facilitate design decisions that improve built energy performance. As such, the data within Compass should not be used to evaluate the actual performance of a building: “actual experience will differ from these calculations due to variations such as occupancy, building operation and maintenance, weather, energy use not covered by this standard, changes in energy rates between design of the building and occupancy, and precision of the calculation tool” (ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013, 11.2 Informative Note).

Metered Data

A long-term goal of Compass is to incorporate metered data with modelled performance metrics, but this comes with some complications. Software already exists to benchmark existing buildings using metered data, so the focus for now is in creating a database of modelled buildings in Ontario.

Data Accuracy

The extracted data from Compass should be reviewed by an energy modelling professional prior to submission of any documentation. Compass is not responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the energy model, extracted data, or database. This tool is meant as a guide only.

Project Pages

Compatible Modelling Software

Compass can extract data from energy models created using the following compatible software versions:

  • DOE2 (eQuest, EE4) - Compatibility has been tested with models created with the DOE2.1 and DOE2.2 simulation program.

  • IES-VE - IES-VE 2017 is required to run VE-Scripts that generate the necessary output.

  • EnergyPlus - Compatibility has been tested with Energyplus 8.7.0+

Upload Requirements
  • DOE2 (eQuest, EE4) - In addition to the default report outputs, hourly reports are required for HPNC reporting. The .sim output file is uploaded to Compass.

  • IES-VE - A custom VE-Script needs to be run in IES-VE with the the model open and the .aps result files available. The generated .json file is uploaded to Compass. A video explaining the process is available here. The VE-Script is available here.

  • EnergyPlus - Specific output settings must be entered into the .idf input files. The generated .html file is uploaded to Compass.

User Inputs

Some building characteristics are not found within an energy model’s files. These will need to be manually inputted by the user.

Model Versions

You can upload multiple iterations of one building’s energy model using the “Add a version” function. Select the version you want to be included in the Explore tools and/or database by selecting “Shared” on the project's Version page. Only one Version of a Project can be shared.

Program Reporting

The documentation for six building-related programs and standards can be generated using Compass:

  • Ontario Building Code SB-10 Compliance - Form A, Form 11

  • Toronto Green Standard v2 - Energy Modelling Report Summary

  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Canada 2009 - LEED Letter Template

  • Savings By Design Incentive - Energy and Demand Summary; Custom Project Worksheet

  • 2030 Challenge - Program Reporting

  • High Performance New Construction (HPNC) - IESO Incentive Worksheet

To generate these forms, navigate to the Detailed Results page of a Project Version. Note that it is the responsibility of the user to review the accuracy of the Compass tool outputs.

Software/Program Updates

In order to maintain the relevance of the Compass tool for users, the standards and programs that are included will be reviewed regularly, and extraction scripts will be developed or modified as required to accommodate changes or updates. Modelling software updates will be similarly added as they become available.


The automated data extraction process cannot adapt to unusual modelling practices or the work-arounds that are sometimes required for complex buildings. It is the responsibility of the user to review the accuracy of Compass outputs and results for each uploaded project.

Explore Pages

Summary of Tools

Three visualization tools have been developed to facilitate exploration of the shared data within Compass. The tools are accessed through the Explore pages.

  1. Energy Breakdown - This tool allows the user to explore how the buildings in the Compass database use their energy, by displaying the energy end-use breakdown or the fuel-type breakdown, for each project. Filters can be applied to enable comparison to like-projects.

  2. Bubble Chart - This tool explores the impact of each project within the context of the whole database. A single analysis metric is selected by the user, and each bubble represents a single project, with bubble size used to demonstrate relative impact. Colours can also be used to group the projects by like characteristics; filters can be applied to enable comparison to like-projects.

  3. Parallel Coordinates - This tool displays the specific building characteristics of each project, to explore how different characteristics impact the total energy performance. Filters can be applied to enable comparison to like-projects.