Carbon-neutral Ottawa property management firm makes history

An Ottawa-based firm has become the first property management company in Canada to be certified as carbon neutral by a national organization that provides education and resources to help Canadians plant and care for trees.

By Jacob Serebrin

“It’s 2016, it’s the right thing to do,” Capital Concierge president Dan Fried says of earning the designation from Tree Canada. “I live in the community, I have children growing up in the community. We wanted to bring something good to this area.”

He says the company takes good corporate citizenship seriously and it wanted to be a leader when it comes to environmental sustainability.

In order to secure the carbon neutral designation, the company went through an energy audit, conducted by Tree Canada, to measure its carbon footprint. It then planted 442 trees near North Bay to offset its carbon emissions.

The audit looked at everything from the company’s office to vehicle usage, says Michael Rosen, the president of Tree Canada. It then calculated the number of trees that need to be planted to absorb those emissions.

In addition to the trees planted in North Bay, Mr. Fried says Capital Concierge plans to plant more trees around the 20 properties it manages in Ottawa, as well as offering energy audits and recycling programs to the condo owners who live in those buildings. The company’s office has also gone paperless.

Mr. Fried says he expects the move to have a positive impact on Capital Concierge’s bottom line.

“I’m hoping we’re going get new business from it,” he says. “In terms of our costs for Capital Concierge, I don’t think we’re going to see much of a difference.”

Some of his customers say they’re impressed.

John Adams, the president of the condo board at the Claridge Fusion development at LeBreton Flats, says Capital Concierge’s environmental awareness was one of the things that led the board to hire the company to manage the property.

He says when the condo board brought different companies in to explain how they would manage the building, Capital Concierge brought up ideas about how to improve energy efficiency, reduce water usage and have paperless communications.

“We didn’t hear that as much from the other organizations,” Mr. Adams says.

He says he liked Capital Concierge’s intentions and thought they were in-line with those of the condo board and the building’s residents.

“I really like what’s happening here and we’re going to continue with these initiatives; we’re going to be a leading corporation within the condo community,” Mr. Adams says.

Tree Canada’s Mr. Rosen says more and more businesses are exploring the idea of going carbon neutral.

“It’s been growing slowly for the last few years, but I expect it to grow quicker now,” he says. “We’ve noticed an upturn in the calls that we’re getting at the office.”

He expects that the new federal government, with its increased focus on climate change, will help drive interest in going carbon neutral.