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The Green Lease: Integrating Sustainability Into Your Leasing Process

Posted by Briana Smith on May 30, 2013 12:30:00 PM
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Why Green the Leasing Process

By: Keith Schneringer, LEED® AP O+M, Marketing Manager, WAXIE Sanitary Supply

Why Green the Leasing Process

Whether you are a building owner, manager or tenant, chances are good that you will be looking at how to incorporate environmental stewardship and sustainability into your real estate operations – if not now, then potentially in the future.  

Since a high percentage of the corporate office space is leased, the lease (and the negotiations that create the lease) offers an extremely effective platform for all stakeholders (owners, managers and tenants) to achieve their sustainability goals.   

As a result, interest in information about green leases is likely to grow – this interest is primarily being driven by the following factors:

* Companies (representing each of the categories of building owner, manager and tenant) are increasingly identifying sustainability as a key priority for their business – and office space defined by a green lease is an extension of these initiatives
* Businesses that are involved in “green industries” are looking for additional ways to show they are “green” – and leasing green office space is another way to demonstrate this commitment
* Federal, state and local governments are beginning to require green space – and naturally a green lease becomes a requirement for this transaction

While there is no “one-size-fits-all” green lease document, there are several elements it makes sense to incorporate in order to create an effective document.


Helpful Hints on Greening the Leasing Process

As with any agreement, it is important to establish consensus between the building owner, manager and tenant as to what the desired elements of the green lease should be.

Helpful Hints on Greening the Leasing ProcessAt a minimum, the following components should be included in an effective green lease document:

* Define and incorporate the tenant’s sustainability goals for the office space
* Describe how performance toward these goals will be measured
* Allocate the appropriate resources so the goals can be achieved
* Agree upon the appropriate steps to resolution should goals not be met

In order to have an effective green lease, it is important to do more than just incorporate language that provides a “green tint” to clauses in the lease agreement.  An effective green lease will address the issues buried inside the various clauses that could serve to potentially hinder operating the building in a more environmentally responsible manner.

Whether your building is pursuing LEED certification, or you would like to incorporate some more sustainable facets into your real estate operations, it is helpful to know that there are green lease resources available to you to help you along the way. Hopefully the following links can provide some assistance to you (and as always, please consult with your legal and leasing counsel for your specific building and lease):

Better Bricks 10 Goals for Green Leasing
Boston Bar Association Green Lease Guide
US DOE Presentation: Tools and Best Practices for Implementing Green Leasing


Green Cleaning and the Green Lease

Green cleaning is frequently incorporated into the language of a green lease, and WAXIE can offer assistance with implementing an effective Green Cleaning Program to help you reach your green building goals. www.waxie.com/green

Keith Schneringer is the Immediate Past President for the Chapter and Founding Chair of the Commercial Real Estate LEED EBOM Committee for the San Diego Green Building Council, and is also a member of the Energy & Sustainability Committee for BOMA San Diego.  

Topics: green lease, facility, sustainability

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