How to Get Started with Green Leases
Success with a green lease means considering not just sustainability and energy efficiency goals, but also occupant health and wellness strategies.
For facility managers and building owners not sure where to begin with green leasing, a first step can be to assess lease and corporate documentation in comparison to the standards specified by the Green Lease Leaders recognition program. If you are not currently including sustainability-focused clauses in your lease, but practice sustainability in building operations and management, the Green Lease Leaders criteria, which was developed with support from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, can serve as a guide.
Focusing on lease language may not sound cutting-edge, but the fact remains that it’s a smart vehicle for fostering a more engaged relationship between landlords and tenants that elevates the starting point of that relationship. It adds immense value by aligning priorities, driving greater collaboration, and enabling the adoption of practices that are essential for managing and operating higher performing buildings.
For those seeking further guidance, the Landlord-Tenant Energy Partnership, spearheaded by IMT, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, and the International Council of Shopping Centers gives anyone tasked with tackling energy and sustainability challenges in commercial buildings a foundation to deploy win-win energy and sustainability solutions. Participants are able to receive expert guidance to identify, prioritize, and achieve deep energy savings, an exclusive peer network to share and refine best practices, and easy-to-use tools and resources to strategically deploy smart efficiency solutions.
Health and wellness
Energy savings isn’t the only area that can be addressed by green leases. The Tower Companies has been incorporating health and wellness features into its green leases for several years, such as requiring an indoor air quality management plan during construction and pre-occupancy phases, and an IAQ measurement and verification test after a tenant build-out is complete. The company’s lease includes guidelines for green cleaning, integrated pest management, and health-conscious material selection. It goes even further by encouraging tenants to consider open office designs to increase access to daylight and quality views.
Focusing on health and wellness policies, programs, and amenities has helped Tower attract and retain tenants, which are increasingly looking for innovative and engaging spaces that spur productivity for their employees. An infographic developed by the Institute for Market Transformation in collaboration with The Tower Companies and the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) highlights several elements of a green lease and includes some real-life examples from Tower’s lease addendums.
“A focus on health and wellness is not just a short term trend. We recognize that this thoughtful investment in people brings long term value to us, our tenants, and their businesses by increasing productivity, collaboration, and ensuring an enjoyable workplace environment,” says Eugenia Gregorio, vice president of strategy and sustainability for Tower.
Chris Brown is the director of private sector engagement for the Institute for Market Transformation. Brown leads IMT’s work to identify and implement solutions that harness the growing momentum of leading companies and governments as they raise their climate ambitions and related goals. Prior to IMT, Brown was the director of sustainability at Federal Realty Investment.
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