Keys to a Successful Sustainability Strategy for Multifamily Housing Companies


Sustainability for multifamily housing is difficult to define because it means different things for each company, depending on where they are in their sustainability journey. Their efforts can range from small actions like replacing high-energy light bulbs with LED ones to big initiatives like automating energy, waste and water management.

One thing is for certain if you’re a rental property owner or operator: You must prioritize sustainability sooner rather than later. It’s critical to the success of your business as prospects, residents, investors and other stakeholders demand that you focus on reducing energy and water consumption and improve utility performance in units and buildings across your apartment communities.

How do you start this journey, and if you’ve started, what’s your next step? No matter where you are on the sustainability path, here are some key things you need for a successful strategy.

Get & stay compliant

On your sustainability journey, you can’t avoid these energy-efficiency requirements:

  • Utility benchmarking. You may be required to get or stay in compliance by tracking how much energy and water your buildings consume, comparing data against similar buildings and reporting findings via ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager® (ESPM).

    For more on benchmarking:
    • See states and cities that have adopted energy benchmarking ordinances and info on building type and size, actions and penalties.
    • Watch the webcast "Energy Benchmarking 2024: What You Need to Know," where experts discuss how to prepare for the benchmarking season with ways to address the list of ever-changing regulations and mandates.

  • Building performance standards (BPS). For your buildings, you may be required to improve upon or meet specific performance targets related to energy efficiency, electrification and greenhouse gas emissions.

    For more on BPS:
    • See states and cities nationwide with BPS policies and information on performance targets, building types and timeframes.

Take action at any point

As you continue your journey of aligning practices and policies with sustainability, you can always do something to get closer to your goals. For example, at any point:

  • Collect data and track Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance to improve reporting and decision making.
  • Automatically upload energy and water usage data to ESPM for filing compliance.
  • Ensure you’re being charged the correct energy service rates, and address any state sales tax billing issues.
  • Lock in energy supply prices, including emissions-free renewable energy.
  • Get onsite energy audits that inspect all energy-related procedures and equipment to identify potential cost savings and improve energy efficiency.

    For more guidance with your sustainability strategy:

Don’t go it alone

Who you do this sustainability journey with is as important as how you do it. You need a trusted multifamily partner that provides energy efficiency-related products and services to its clients and is awarded for doing so. For example, RealPage® received:

  • ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award – Sustained Excellence Award. RealPage was recognized with the EPA’s highest honor as it continues to exhibit a commitment to transforming environmental innovation and protection through energy efficiency.
  • Best Use of Proptech, grand winner, Multifamily Executive Awards. Featured in RealPage Provides Proactive Water Management, the Smart Water proptech solution addresses water leaks before they become problems using IoT submetering technology and AI-based algorithms.

Leverage new technology

Navigating your sustainability journey also involves new technology and how it can help you make better, faster business decisions. Some technologies to consider include:

  • Energy benchmarking. RealPage provides expert data analysis and reporting services needed to meet mandated and green loan program requirements. This tool gathers, validates, cleanses and sets up data from a single building or a whole portfolio of properties and oversees your ESPM.
  • Smart Water™. RealPage offers a unique solution that leverages submeter technology to save properties approximately $67 per unit annually and provide actionable visibility into operations.

    For more on Smart Water:

Unlock a successful sustainability strategy

Sustainability for multifamily housing is not a one-and-done effort. It’s an ongoing process based on a successful strategy that comprises several key things: meeting compliance mandates, being open to taking action, partnering with the best in the industry and enlisting new technology.

If you’re new to sustainability or already on the path, see how RealPage can help you on your journey to high-performance multifamily buildings. To learn more, visit RealPage Sustainability Services.

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