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Green Leases Reduce Energy and Water Use

July 2, 2014 | 0 comments

The industry has several green certification programs to choose from when recognizing commercial buildings for energy efficiency, water savings, and high performance. Facilities managers also have access to several designations that honor professionals who understand sustainability and energy efficiency.

A new type of green recognition is now on the scene: The U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Alliance and the Institute for Market Transformation launched a designation program that acknowledges outstanding efforts in green lease agreements. Green Lease Leaders™ sets standards for green lease definitions, and recognizes companies or brokerage teams that successfully incorporate green lease language into new or existing leases.

These green leaders also sign Green Lease Pledges, which encourage organizations to:

  • Incorporate language with the intent of addressing the split incentive issue whenever possible (where the building owner pays for retrofits, but can’t recover savings from reduced energy use that accrue to the tenant)
  • Develop portfolio-wide work specs to foster the build-out of more energy-efficient spaces
  • Submeter energy use wherever practical
  • Implement base building energy management systems that integrate with tenant HVAC and other shared systems and provide energy consumption data to tenants

Green lease agreements help ensure that financial and energy incentives are aligned between building owners and tenants so they can work together to save electricity and water use, improve building performance and tenant comfort, and control operating expenses.

The Tower Companies, based in Washington, D.C., is a great example of how green leases work. The Tower Companies didn’t have control over utility usage in tenant spaces, but they were able to influence water and energy usage with the help of the Green Lease Leader program. By implementing green lease agreements across its 3 million square feet of space, The Tower Companies reduced energy and water use in tenant spaces. Some of their green lease clauses include:

  • Hiring a commissioning authority to confirm that installed mechanical and lighting systems work as designed
  • Reducing connected lighting power density by 16% below ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2001 requirements
  • Installing motion and occupancy sensors to control lighting (including task lighting and undercabinet lighting)
  • Submetering server rooms
  • Installing water fixtures that are 30% more efficient than the calculated baseline for the building

How do you manage the leases for your buildings? Do you use green lease agreements?

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