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Hazelview earns green certifications for multifamily portfolio

Earns certifications under Canadian Certified Rental Building Program and BOMA BEST

Hazelview's Story of Brampton Central was certified under the Canadian Certified Rental Building Program as part of the company's effort to certify all of its multifamily Canadian portfolio with green certifications. (Courtesy Hazelview Properties)

Hazelview Properties, a Toronto-based real estate company, says it has met its goal to earn green certifications for its entire $7.2-billion Canadian multifamily portfolio.

The investor, owner, manager and developer qualified its multifamily buildings under the Canadian Certified Rental Building Program (CRBP) and its Living Green Together certification, or BOMA BEST’s Sustainable Buildings certification.

Hazelview put special attention on its Canadian multifamily portfolio, as it comprises a significant portion of the firm's $12 billion in assets under management, Colleen Krempulec, Hazelview’s head of sustainability, told Sustainable Biz Canada.

With more of its residents placing value on sustainable places to live, Hazelview is also responding to rising customer demand. Seventy-seven per cent of its prospective residents said sustainability is an important factor in a rental decision, Krempulec said.

“Organizationally, we’re committed to continuous improvement and this is an area where we saw an opportunity to enhance our certifications.”

Meeting CRBP and BOMA BEST standards

Hazelview holds 250 multifamily properties across Canada totalling approximately 23,000 suites. The company set a goal that, by end the of 2023, it wanted green certifications for all properties not already certified, Krempulec said.

CRBP and BOMA BEST were chosen because the two certification processes would allow it to achieve total coverage across its portfolio and “would help us learn more and identify more opportunities,” Krempulec said.

Approximately three-fourths of its Canadian multifamily portfolio is certified by CRBP and the remainder under BOMA BEST.

The CRBP certification requires a building to meet best practices across a range of environmental standards. Hazelview attained these certifications by installing water efficient fixtures, toilets and faucets, energy-efficient lighting and appliances. Waste is reduced through recycling and organic waste disposal programs.

An example of a CRBP-certified building is the 271-unit Story of Brampton Central in Brampton, just north of Toronto.

“We have long been certifying properties under the CRBP,” Krempulec said, “We’ve been really pleased with it. So we’ve enhanced certifications under that stream, but also wanted to learn about the BOMA BEST certification too.”

BOMA BEST covers seven categories for a building’s operations and maintenance including energy, water, waste, indoor environment and environmental management, according to Krempulec.

Meeting this certification meant ensuring there is an environmental management system to track real-time information on environmental performance for water, energy and greenhouse gas emissions. Hazelview opted to use an IBM service called Envizi.

Hazelview also educated its residents on sustainability as part of the BOMA BEST certification. It invested in community education events, including a portfolio-wide webinar led by a specialist who gave tips on living a greener lifestyle.

Tour Sherbrooke in Montreal is among Hazelview's BOMA BEST-certified buildings.

Though it cost a “significant investment” of time and effort, the process was well worth the effort because it results in higher quality buildings, refines the building management and improves environmental impact efforts, Krempulec said.

Hazelview’s sustainability endeavour

For now, Hazelview does not intend to look beyond CRBP and BOMA BEST as green building certifications, according to Krempulec.

In addition to the building certifications, Hazelview launched an electric vehicle charger program, installing 78 chargers across 32 properties.

Hazelview is still identifying its long-term sustainability targets. Krempulec said the company has started to digitize its building performance data to help set long-term targets and create a roadmap for greenhouse gas emissions and water use.

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