Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Setting the Bar: In Multifamily Sustainability

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Setting the Bar: In Multifamily Sustainability

Article excerpt

An industry standard.

That's how Jeff Bosshard, CPM, president of Woodmont Real Estate Services' multifamily operations, sees the IREM Certified Sustainable Property program.

He ought to know. Woodmont's Waterford Place in Dublin, Calif., has become the first apartment community in the U.S. to achieve the IREM certification, and it's a major milestone for multifamily communities around the country. Owned by UBS and Woodmont Real Estate Services, which has managed the asset since 2011, Waterford Place is a 14-year-old community featuring 390 units in one- and two-bedroom configurations.

Not only is the certification a milestone for the industry, it's also a major achievement for Woodmont. For the record, the firm, headquartered in Belmont, Calif., is among the largest property management firms in Northern California, overseeing some 12,000 units in addition to about five million square feet of commercial space.

The certification "demonstrates responsible, high-quality property management practices," said Jeff Bosshard, CPM, president of Woodmont's multifamily operations. "Further, it supports our overall company sustainability programs, which are a cornerstone of our business."

For instance, he continued, "We specify the use of only low VOC [volatile organic compounds] paints and cleaners at all of our properties and all recycled carpet pad and carpet products. We replace 3,000 carpets a year, and all of it goes into recycling programs. Being the first one [to achieve the IREM certification] in the U.S., and particularly Northern California, reinforces the notion that we strive to be the leading property management firm in the region."

NOT SO EASY GETTING GREEN

According to Todd Feist, IREM's sustainability program manager, the certification process for multifamily properties is as rigorous as it is for commercial buildings, but the process is pretty much the same. "There are 15 baseline requirements that every property has to meet, and they're focused on policy setting, benchmarking and self-assessments," he explained. "Then applicants have to earn a total of 62 points in five sustainability categories: energy, water, health, recycling and purchasing. That's how it works for all property types."

Multifamily managers have an additional challenge in the hurdles they face monitoring tenants' sustainability activities. "We take that into consideration, knowing the challenge real estate managers have working with residents when the residents by and large control what happens in their units," Feist explained. …

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