By Chris Chopik

Realtors seek autonomy, mastery and purpose. According to Dan Pink’s bestselling book Drive, people at work increase performance when they have autonomy and the opportunity to achieve mastery in their work. That is why we spend hours of our lives mastering music and take up hobbies, and why we strive to hone and get recognized for our professional achievements. So how does Dan Pink’s work apply to real estate? Satisfied Realtors, those with autonomy, striving for mastery (getting better at stuff) and driven by purpose, may also attract more clients.

I believe the role of designations in the real estate industry is to provide Realtors with a vehicle for achieving mastery. The designations we choose offer us a path to purpose, and we enhance our personal brand in two ways. First, we can tell others about our credentials to differentiate our value proposition. Second, and more importantly, the passion we feel when we achieve mastery is palpable when we speak to our clients. Passion for energy efficiency and quality of life for homeowners has driven my real estate business and I think the time is ripe for the mainstreaming of this once niche marketplace.

The green housing marketplace has emerged and some of your clients are passionate about it. Your clients are insulating their homes, they are buying high-efficiency furnaces  and some are installing solar panels or geo-thermal heating systems. According to the TD Canada Trust Green Home Poll 2011, 29 per cent of Ontarians have done a green home reno, 32 per cent would like to and don’t know where to start and 72 per cent of Canadians say they are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly features. Green is the new normal and your opportunity to differentiate your brand with green is now. The time to get a green designation and achieve greater mastery and purpose in your business is now. Even if you don’t have a specific interest in the environment or energy efficiency, your mastery of the real estate business will increasingly be entwined with your integrated value proposition around green.

A Canadian version of the NAR Green Designation is being taught for the first time in Toronto at the Evergreen Brickworks on Dec. 4. It has been offered previously by the Calgary Real Estate Board (

The first to market a green designation in North America was ecoBroker ( This 10-year-old designation is a comprehensive (if American centric) designation that is respected for its academic rigour. ecoBroker boasts members in Canada, Mexico, South America and Europe. Both ecoBroker and the NAR Green designation are available online and in person. Each offers the potential of 18 hours of continuing education courses based on confirmation of understanding and attendance. The in-class ecoBroker designation classes are currently only held in the United States.

The made-in-Canada National Association of Green Agents and Brokers (NAGAB) designation ( is one I have not personally sought, but it boasts significant membership numbers and requires the successful completion of just eight CE courses.

Toronto Realtor Bill Johnston, who has taken both the ecoBroker and NAR training, says, “Most designations are unrecognizable by the general public. The benefit of the NAR Green designation is that anyone can instantly see what it’s all about. Beyond the added credibility that a recognizable designation can bring, the added knowledge that is acquired in the process of gaining the designation is valuable.”

I believe the energy-efficient housing market has moved through the early-adopter phase. Taking the time to grow your knowledge in this area may provide your brand with a lift in the minds of consumers. For me, the passion that I bring to my work stems from the autonomy, mastery and purpose that being a bona fide green professional gives me. This passion is reflected in my brand image and leads customers to choose to work with me. I think you will find that as you increase your energy and environmental literacy, you will discover marketplace resonance with your decision to add a green designation to your list of professional accomplishments.

Chris Chopik is a sales rep with Bosley Real Estate in Toronto, an instructor of Green Real Estate Courses, a member of the TREB Green Committee, president of the Board of LEAF ( , co-chair of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association Conservation Committee (, volunteer with the NRCan Energy Rating Secretariat and program manager at



  1. Took your course at BREB this morning. Very interesting. You have a background that is beyond amazing, that you have parlayed into a course that is so far above the average agent’s comprehension, and it would take several attempts at various and sundry apportionments to even begin to take it all in, as the topic is so broad.

    But it certainly was an interesting multifaceted attempt to bring us up to speed. Highly recommend this course for anyone interested in trying to understand the importance of these issues, not only related to real estate but related to life. As promised I will scan your info card and post on FB.

    Carolyne L

  2. Rob,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Consumers are ahead of the industry. Realtors as Agents of Change (c).

    Join us at the National Association of REALTORS® Green Designation – Dec 4 at Toronto Brickworks – Eventbrite

  3. I see being at the forefront of the information learning curve for energy efficiency in home ownership as crucial. As costs to own a home go up, both in what it takes to buy one and the cost to manage one, Realtors are in the front line trenches of educating buyers and sellers on making home ownership more affordable. Knowing that grants are available for energy efficient renovations/improvements is a starting point but ultimately adding another layer of value to the home ownershuip process is what we want. Buyers in particular will be impressed that we can direct them to find savings in buying, or encourage them to look at the mortgage product “Purchase with Improvements” offered through CMHC as examples. A high ratio buyer can actually get a 10% rebate on their CMHC fees (based on 10% down payment, for example) if they can show their home meets a basic EnerGuide rating. If a CMHC fee of $10,000 (or 2.5%) is charged on a $400,000 mortgage with 10% down, this amounts to $1,000 back or around the amount of legal fees. The environmental, social, and economic benefits all fall into place. We can be be seen as the starting place for dialogue about energy efficiency with sellers and buyers.

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