CaGBC training

Environmental Responsibility for Apartment Operators

The Big 6: CRB Program’s six disciplines, explained
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Membership in the Certified Rental Building Program (CRBP) is an effective means of maintaining a high standard of quality when managing your building or working with tenants. When prospective or existing tenants see the familiar green CRB Program logo and checkmark on your property, they will immediately know that they can Rent With Confidence.

The CRB Program, North America’s only multi-residential certification program, was founded under six disciplines which all affiliated property managers must comply with in order to receive the certification for their buildings. In this six-part series, we will examine each of the disciplines in detail and explain their importance to the program.

Discipline 5 – Environmental Responsibility

The Cost Equation

As the concerns about global warming and climate change continue to grow in stature, so equally does the need for every industry, and their members, to do their part as proactive environmentally responsible corporate citizens. For Canada’s multi-res industry, this has never been more important than present, as all levels of government seek, penalize (tax) those industries that are considered major producers of carbon emissions. Recent studies indicate that the multi-res industry is considered to be a key contributor to Canada’s carbon-emissions output, contributing somewhere between six to 13 per cent annually. This make us a prime point for governments to focus on in their quest to meet their carbon-emission targets.

However, one thing sets our industry apart from other business sectors – it is largely not our buildings on their own that use energy, water, and create waste – it is the residents living in them! In most communities across Canada, as the growing cost of utilities increase and carbon taxes that are being placed on business, the multi-res industry has only limited options/opportunities to pass those costs onto the end user.

The Resident (Customer) Equation

Over the past 25 years, we have all learned the importance of being environmentally responsible citizens. With that in mind, so has the next generation of Canadian renters. In a 2009 new resident survey study conducted by J.D. Power, the importance of an apartment building (property manager) being green (environmentally responsible) was well down their reasons for selecting a building, ranking at 19 on their list. Recent U.S. renter studies (2017) now demonstrate that prospective renters have prioritized green/sustainable property managers between fifth to seventh on their reasons selection list when looking for an apartment home.It is fair to state that your company’s environmental reputation is a key decision maker for many prospective tenants.

CRB’s environmental discipline is an integral part of the CRBP quality assurance commitment to renters. In fact, CRBP viewed this discipline as so critical to our industry that we established a separate brand certification within CRBP called Living GREEN Together.

The environmental discipline is based on the two realities.

  1. Conserving resources makes good business and economic sense.
  2. Conserving resources makes environmental sense.

The standards are pragmatic, proactive, and participatory. The latter focused on involving residents (tenants) in proactive energy/water conservation measures, and waste diversion practices. The more we can commit our residents to good conservation practices/measures, the lower the operating costs of an apartment building and the better for the environment.

The environmental discipline consists of 10 standards covering policy, environmental performance areas, and education/engagement. They include the following and much more:


  • Documented environmental policy
  • Environmental preferred purchasing policy
  • Environmental performance monitoring

Environmental Performance Areas

  • Electrical standards
  • Water standards
  • HVAC standards
  • Waste diversion standards
  • Air quality standards


  • Employee awareness education
  • Resident engagement practices

At the heart of the reason why FRPO introduced its CRBP certification initiative was the opportunity to demonstrate to all stakeholder groups our ability to self-regulate, and our commitment to be a socially responsible and sustainable industry. The latter point includes demonstrating our caring for employees, the customers (renters) that live with us, and promoting safe, healthy, and greener apartment communities across Ontario – we call it Living GREEN Together.

It makes good corporate business sense for all professional property management companies to be a part of CRBP’s environmental discipline. At the corporate governance level, it provides investors and unitholders/shareholders with peace of mind and sense that their investments are contributing to overall social good and environmental betterment.

For further information about the CRBP and how to apply for the certification, please contact the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO) – Ted Whitehead, Director of Certification, or visit our website today at

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