A green lease is a standard form lease with ramped-up investment in the environment. It contains additional clauses whereby owner and occupier undertake specific obligations to improve the Environmental Performance and sustainability of a property.
It encompasses a statement of intent and a duty to co-operate. A green lease means the tenant/ landlord will not carry out any works which will adversely affect the EPC rating. Managing Agents are obligated to monitor and implement green lease requirements.
Important sidenote: what if a lease is already in place? No problem. Parties can enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining a cooperative framework to enhance Environmental Performance. This provides a flexible, faster route to agreement.
How do you lease green?
This sounds dandy: but how do you do it? Sharing data for energy and water consumption, and waste streams is an excellent place to start. The greater the frequency = the greater the understanding of performance = the best result. You can’t improve tomorrow’s performance without knowing today’s shortfalls. Consider advanced metering technology that automatically sends data on a half-hourly basis to both owners and occupiers. Different metering facilities for different utilities are key.
Conducting an energy audit allows you to periodically review consumption, identify and address problems, and set future objectives. Green energy tariffs, renewable energy, and low carbon technology are all important, widely accessible considerations. Other solutions include local or communal energy schemes, motion and daylight sensors, night-time purging and free-cooling (reducing the need for air-con), and permitting the installation of alternative sources (PV panels, wind turbines). Consider 3rd party specialist support where necessary.
When it comes to water management, high efficiency plumbing fixtures and control technologies are crucial. Regular leak inspections are essential, and things such as waterless urinals and vacuum flush toilets are great-to-haves. Treated and recycled water should also be used when potable water is not a necessity.
Waste management is definitely not a waste of time. Initiatives to raise employee recycling awareness can be effective coupled with robust recycling facilities and clear labelling for different materials. Make it easy for people. You may consider joint waste strategies with neighbouring buildings and sustainable procurement policies, such as take-back and re-use schemes.
Benefits: why bother?
There are manifold benefits: not least saving the planet. Green leases help achieve many sustainability accreditations (BREEAM, LEED, SKA, EPC) and comply with increasingly green-focused government policy. Properties become more attractive to occupiers and investors with lower investment risk.
Collaboration and a forum for discussion is encouraged by splitting responsibility and setting joint targets. A green lease paves a strategic pathway to improve overall building performance and enhance property value. It allows you to holistically assess a building and productively target investments.
Want to know more? Check out the Better Building’s Partnership’s Green Lease Toolkit here.