“The No. 1 thing on our to do list is to move the BOMA BESt sustainability program forward,” said Bishop, who in his day job serves as senior vice-president of Western Canada real estate management services with Colliers.
The BOMA sustainability certification for buildings “is probably our single biggest initiative and we have about 2,000 buildings certified across the country so we just want to keep pushing that forward,” Bishop said.
“In today’s world, there is more and more pressure being put on the construction industry and the existing building industry to make buildings more sustainable. Municipalities, cities and provinces are all saying we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and you can’t manage what you don’t measure and the BOMA BESt program is a way of doing that.”
The Vancouver-based real estate executive notes that BOMA BESt originally started as a West Coast initiative and proved so successful that BOMA British Columbia asked the national association to take it over and make it a Canada-wide program.
Bishop, has served with BOMA Canada for four years and was previously chairman of the finance committee.
“We are working very very closely with our neighbours to the south in trying to bring some consistency on our program offerings in Canada” said Bishop.
For instance, the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. umbrella association, BOMA International has its own BOMA 360 progam which Bishop said has a few elements similar to the Canadian BOMA BESt Level One program. “It is best practices and tenant engagement, that sort of thing, but it doesn’t really take it beyond that in terms of energy and environmental performance.”
The BOMA 360 program does however align more closely with the Certificate of Building and Management Excellence program, used by several of the local BOMA associations in Canada, recognizing all-around excellence in building operations and management.
BOMA Canada is now piloting the BOMA 360 program in Canada to determine whether it makes sense for members to use it north of the border.
As well, BOMA Canada is aiming to spread BOMA International’s Experience Exchange Report (EER) to BOMA members in Canada. With widespread adoption in the U.S., the EER is touted as having “three times more usable data than other comparable sources” according to BOMA in the U.S.
“It is a sharing of operating costs on a city-by-city basis,” said Bishop. “You can look up Amarillo, Texas and see what class-A operating costs are there or in similar markets. We are trying to open that up and get a little more Canadian participation because there hasn’t really been any for quite some time.
“In our paying jobs it helps us benchmark our portfolio with what is going on in our particular region but also nationally across the board. The challenge, of course, is that everyone does it a bit differently.”
BOMA BESt vs the others
Bishop noted that BOMA Canada’s top program got its start around the same time as LEED and the international Kyoto Accord.
LEED is very, very expensive. We in the built side of the business, the owners and managers said let’s develop a program that we can take to government and say we don’t need government intervention . . . we can do it ourselves and the industry is governing itself,” he explained. “That is how it was born.”
The BOMA BESt advantage is clear when it comes to cost and effectiveness, said the new BOMA Canada chairman. “Private industry totally embraced it because its is by far the least expensive way to get a green building rating for virtually the same measurements and analytics as LEED and other programs.”
BOMA BESt measures utility measurement, tenant engagement, water and waste stream measurement among other things.