Can a Green Lease Help Reduce the Impact of a Commercial Building?

A green lease is designed to encourage both tenants and building occupants to use commercial buildings in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

green lease

Commercial buildings are an essential part of UK towns and cities, and are vital when it comes to keeping our country’s businesses thriving. But commercial buildings are considered to be a large environmental burden, contributing to an estimated 20% of the emissions of all properties. While many steps are now being taken to ensure the green credentials of new buildings, it isn’t financially viable to simply tear down older buildings and replace them. Instead, something needs to be done to ensure that those who use older commercial buildings are mindful of their environmental impact. That’s where the green lease comes in.

A green lease is a contract drawn up between landlord and tenant to ensure the building will be used in an ethical and environmentally friendly manner. Clauses in the lease stipulate what is acceptable and unacceptable in terms of the way the building is used, as well as setting guidelines on issues such as energy performance. Each clause is rated from dark to light green, ranging from legally binding restrictive covenants to non-binding obligations respectively.

Green leases offer an opportunity for collaboration between landlord and tenant, and mean that responsibility for the building’s efficiency and performance isn’t the sole responsibility of either party. Agreeing to a green lease has a number of benefits for both the landlord and tenant, including:

  • Enhancing the value of the building

  • Minimising the risk of the building becoming unlettable (a possibility for F and G-rated buildings from April 2018, under the Energy Act 2011)

  • Keeping utility bills and running costs to a minimum

  • Boosting the eco credentials of both the occupant’s business and the landlord

 Which collaborative steps can be detailed in a green lease?

 Because of the mutual gains that can be achieved, working together to maintain an efficient and eco friendly commercial building is often an attractive prospect for business owners and landlords. Almost any green ideas can be achieved if the landlord and tenant are passionate enough and happy to work together. Popular ways to collaborate through implementing a green lease include:

  • Maintaining the building and its fittings so that all installations run at maximum efficiency, and encouraging the repair of damaged fittings rather than removing and replacing them

  • Sharing and keeping track of energy consumption data

  • Combining routine repairs to the building with opportunities to add energy-saving measures

It is hoped that as more businesses strive to reduce their carbon footprint, and concerns over the efficiency of older buildings grow, the introduction of the green lease will see more business owners working alongside tenants in order to keep the impact of every commercial building to a minimum.

Image sourced: Ian Britton

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