By Colleen Tang
For owners and property managers of multifamily residential buildings, cutting costs and attracting tenants are paramount. The GREEN UP® program from the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) can help owners achieve those goals-and more.
The program is designed to help owners and property managers measure energy and water use, set goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take steps to improve the operational and environmental performance of their buildings. The CaGBC launched the GREEN UP® as a pilot program in 2007 for K-12 schools and office buildings. It since has expanded to include multifamily residential, long-term healthcare and retail buildings, as well as hotels.
To join, owners and property managers pay an annual fee of $1,590, giving five users access to data for up to four buildings. By enrolling in the program, property managers and building owners can do the following, according to the CaGBC website:
Kirk Johnson, manager of the GREEN UP® program, says one of the main attractions for property managers and owners of multifamily residential buildings is the ability to evaluate how much energy and water they use and identify projects that reduce costs and increase building values.
In addition to obtaining energy and water use information, participating in such a program can be a marketing tool for attracting tenants, according to Carly Ludwar, member service manager for the Rental Owners & Managers Society of BC. She says landlords of multifamily residential buildings will be attracted to the program "to gain more information to help improve energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of their buildings, as well as using enrollment as a marketing tool."
In addition to analyzing how their buildings compare to similar properties in the same region, users of GREEN UP® can:
Johnson hopes the program will make it easier for users to plan how they can participate in energy- and water-efficiency programs and take steps to improve energy and water conservation.
"The goal of the program is to drive more retrofits [and] drive more operational improvements and commissioning and engagement projects across Canada," Johnson says.
The other main objective is to have a user–friendly tool that presents energy performance data in a visually appealing manner so all managers can work together to measure, compare and improve building portfolios. The program provides a consistent format to draw comparisons, minimizing the need for building professionals to create time-consuming reports in varying software programs.
"We recognize we need to bring in the technical, financial and operational groups in a cross-functional basis, and GREEN UP® is designed with that intention," Johnson says. "Regardless whether you're a sustainability manager, property or asset manager, you can look for the right interactive GREEN UP® dashboard and pull the information you need."
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