Building owners commit to green lease action plan

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Source: GLOBE Foundation

Leading building owners and investment advisory firms have joined corporate tenants in committing to a statement of principles and a Green Lease Action Plan to resolve the challenges of energy and sustainability in leased commercial office space.

The first organizations to agree to the Green Lease Action Plan include Bank of America, Beacon Capital Partners, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, LaSalle Investment Management (the investment arm of Jones Lang LaSalle), RREEF (the real estate investment management arm of Deutsche Bank) and Whirlpool Corporation.

Collectively, these organizations own or occupy leased office space in excess of 350 million square feet.

This industry leadership move is launched in association with Greenprint Foundation, a worldwide alliance of real estate owners, investors and financial institutions committed to reducing carbon emissions across the global property industry. Several participants in the Green Lease Action Plan are also founding members of Greenprint Foundation, including Jones Lang LaSalle, which is facilitating the Plan and registration process for all participating organizations.

'The efficient use of energy and other resources in buildings requires joint action from property owners and occupiers, but there are disincentives that often prevent the two sides from investing in the necessary capital improvements,' said Michael Jordan, Senior Vice President of Sustainability Strategy at Jones Lang LaSalle.

'We're inviting organizations to join us in addressing these energy and environmental challenges, to create business value for owners and occupiers alike.'

The built environment is responsible for up to 40 percent of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in many countries. Jones Lang LaSalle estimates that many commercial buildings can reduce energy use and the associated greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent without affecting tenants' comfort; however, much of the achievable savings requires upfront investment that is paid back over a period of several years.

In a building with many tenants that may relocate, expand or contract their space over time, it is difficult for owners and individual tenants to make a strong business case for retrofits.

The initiative to remove barriers to energy efficiency and sustainability in leased office space is based on three guiding principles:

  1. Landlords and tenants should agree to operate the buildings as sustainably as is commercially feasible.
  2. The value of energy savings achieved through building efficiency improvements should be available to pay for the improvements
  3. To the extent feasible, usage and demand for resources throughout the buildings should be measurable and transparent to both landlords and tenants.

In endorsing these principles, leading organizations agree to:

  1. Establish green lease principles to influence owner/occupier agreements and act on these principles across the portfolio over time.
  2. Require leasing agents who work on behalf of participating organizations to complete a basic orientation about sustainability, green lease principles, and ways to resolve barriers to sustainability in leases.
  3. Establish/adopt green site selection criteria for tenants and consider these criteria for new space acquisition.
  4. Establish a standard for landlords to communicate key energy and environmental ratings to tenants and to prospective tenants and deploy this process at 50 percent of their properties within three years.

'This is not about owners or tenants making financial sacrifices to enhance energy and sustainability in buildings-it's about creating economic incentives on both sides to create win-win scenarios economically and environmentally,' said Charles B. Leitner III, Chief Executive Officer, Greenprint Foundation.

'We see a clear need for a dialogue between landlords and tenants to align costs and benefits of green office space,' said Lee Utke, Director of Global Corporate Real Estate at Whirlpool Corp. 'As more and more tenants and landlords recognize these issues and commit to working toward a solution globally as well as nationally, we will be able to make a stronger business case for improvements in buildings.'

These leading tenants and landlords have committed to the Green Lease Action Plan as an important step toward resolving the challenges, and are taking direct action to implement these concepts in the properties they own, occupy and manage. 'We hope to expand the group of owners and occupiers to sign on to these principles, and accelerate our collective progress in overcoming this challenge,' Jordan said.

About Greenprint Foundation

Greenprint Foundation is a worldwide alliance of leading real estate owners, investors and financial institutions committed to reducing carbon emissions across the global property industry. Greenprint Foundation is a catalyst for change, taking meaningful, immediate and measurable actions to generate solutions that improve energy efficiency and create value in property portfolios. The Foundation focuses on the built environment, which represents one third of all carbon emissions. For more information, visit www.greenprintfoundation.org

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