Leasing a green building, implementing tenant
improvements and operating a green office
W hile landlords can improve the environmental
performance of a base building, the
occupants play the important roles of providing
Answering these and other questions about your
objectives will determine the extent of your
organization’s footprint that needs to be addressed
demand for such buildings and ensuring that their and the potential investment required. For example,
tenancies are green. a business can currently generate some strong
marketing benefits from greening its tenancy, without
Use the checklists to identify opportunities and needing to occupy a green building. In the future,
create plans for selecting an appropriate green it is likely that the market will consider a tenant’s
building, planning green tenant improvements and footprint to also include a pro-rated proportion of
operating your office in a green way. The checklists the footprint of the building it has chosen to occupy.
are intended to help tenants develop a green
occupancy plan. Some of the items may not be Do you have to occupy a green building in order
appropriate for all tenants. to demonstrate strong environmental credentials
or is it possible to create a green tenancy in a non-
Leasing a Green Building green existing building? Given that improving the
What are your objectives? existing stock can be a more important challenge
than creating new green buildings in some markets,
The clarity of your objectives is important for getting tenants of existing buildings who collaborate with
the most value out of investing in green premises. their landlord to help improve that building are
For example, do you want to: actually demonstrating a very high level of corporate
Enjoy marketing benefits?
‘Future-proof ’ your business against a Clarity of objectives is also important for
changing business, consumer or employee understanding what benefits each ‘green’ building
market? offers you specifically beyond an umbrella green
building rating. Two buildings with the same rating
Catalyze cultural change in your
may offer you very different features, which may or
may not serve your objectives. For example, some
Respond to new expectations from your organizations might be motivated by providing
employees? healthy and comfortable work environments for
staff and thus seek high levels of IEQ (Indoor
You may want to refer to Colliers’ Why Green? Environmental Quality); while others might focus
For Tenants to explore other key questions your on energy performance in order to help fulfill their
organization might ask. carbon footprint reduction targets.
OCCUpYInG GREEn | SELECTInG A GREEn BUILDInG
SELECTInG A GREEn BUILDInG
Green BuildinG ratinGs
What accredited green building ratings does the
building have and what is its history of ratings
like? Are the building’s performance ratings
‘Green Lease’ is a term used to de-
improving or dropping over time?
scribe a lease with terms that act to
What green building rating is the building capable share the risks, costs and benefits of
green buildings fairly between land-
lord and tenant. While the best Green
BuildinG Performance Leases tend to be tailored to the
How does the building perform in the specific specific requirements and aspirations
environmental areas that are important to you? of the parties, some large landlords
If it is a new building, is there a significant risk that and tenants have created standardized
the building may actually not perform as well in Green Leases.
operation as promised?
Will the landlord and building managers maintain The Building Owners and Managers
the performance levels well into the future?
Association (BOMA) International
What maintenance procedures does the landlord has developed a guide to writing a
have? What rate of response to performance
issues do they provide?
commercial real estate lease, including
green lease language.
What publicly disclosed performance reporting
does the landlord do? e.g. do they produce an
annual sustainability report and participate in
leading indices? This can be an indication of a high
level of commitment to improving performance.
What performance reporting (e.g. base building
and/or tenancy energy usage, base building water
usage and waste management) does the landlord
Does the landlord/manager employ contractors
that satisfy the same environmental standards?
e.g. cleaners that satisfy waste management and
energy efficiency policies.
Do you get a share of any energy cost savings?
Will the building and landlord support you well
in achieving good environmental performance
in your tenancy? Is there the potential to
collaborate with the landlord and create a great
greening success story for the whole building?
Will other tenants in the building be supportive
of green initiatives?
OCCUpYInG GREEn | OppORTUnITIES
OppORTUnITIES FOR TEnAnT IMpROVEMEnTS
enerGy – liGhtinG
If the landlord owns the lighting, can you
incentivize them to invest in a new system,
Use Less – While we might not yet have the
technology of Life Cycle Assessment to quantify
the impact of materials in a development or
maybe by offering them a proportion of your
tenant improvement, we can apply the over-riding
energy savings for a period of time?
principle of Use Less. For example, halving the
Office Lighting – Use T5 Triphosphur fluorescent amount of particular material halves the amount of
lamps with high-frequency ballasts (less flicker) in its life cycle impacts attributable to the project. Can
high-efficiency fittings. Avoid incandescent bulbs partition walls, joinery and furniture be minimized?
and low voltage downlights (unless new high-
Reuse Existing – Reuse as much as possible
efficiency models) and explore LED as the costs
from an existing tenancy, e.g. ceilings, floor finishes,
reduce over time. Aim for less than 1.5 Watts
furniture, partitions, etc.
per meter2 per 100 lux (SI unit of illumiance and
luminous emittance) Recycled Materials – Use products with high
amounts of recycled content. This helps to ‘Close
Controls – Install timers to turn lights off,
occupancy sensors to turn on lights without the
use of light switches and daylight sensors to enable Reusability/Recyclability – Use products
dimming of perimeter lighting when natural light for elements such as partition walls, joinery and
levels are good furniture that can be reused at the end of the
current use or otherwise be recycled. Leading
Zoning – Use small zones (ie 1,000 SF) to
furniture manufacturers are designing products that
minimize the number of lights turned on when one
can easily be disassembled and the component
person enters a dark office.
materials separated for recycling.
Task Lighting – Use lower ambient light levels
Carpet – Choose modular carpet tiles over
combined with task lighting at workstations.
broadloom. Carpet is a major source of waste.
Tiles can have a much longer life and some are
enerGy – other
Timber – Use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-
Appliances – Use efficient hot and chilled
certified timber. This is a global and highly regarded
drinking water units, fridges, dishwashers, etc.
standard for sustainable timber and timber
Supplementary Air-Conditioning – Avoid or products. Otherwise, use plantation of recycled
use energy-efficient equipment (e.g. a coefficient timbers. Do not use rainforest timbers or timbers
of performance [COp] of a least 3 and preferably that may be supplied through the black market.
5). Install controls to ensure air-conditioning is off
Formaldehyde – Avoid composite wood
when the room is unoccupied.
products, such as medium-density fibreboard
Sub-metering – Install separate metering for (MDF) and particle board that is bonded using
uses such as lighting, IT rooms and general power urea formaldehyde, which is a toxin that leaches
to enable performance monitoring. out over time and affects indoor air quality (IAQ).
PVC – Avoid. e.g. use linoleum (made from natural
Water products) instead of vinyl flooring.
Fittings, Fixtures and Appliances – Use Paints, Sealants and Adhesives – Use low- or
efficient taps, showerheads and dishwashers. non-volatile organic compound (VOC)-emitting
indoor environmental Quality
Large Copiers and Printers – Locate away
from people and with a dedicated air extract to
avoid volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.
Indoor Plants – provide psychological benefits
to occupants and some select species also remove
VOCs from the air, improving IAQ.
Demolition and Construction Waste – Have
contractors separate materials to be disposed
of, send to recycling facilities where possible and
oPerational Waste provide certification of this having been done.
Recycling – provide bins, possibly with cabinetry,
to collect recyclable materials.