January 15, 2014 | IMT

IMT and DOE’s Better Buildings Alliance unveil the Green Lease Leaders recognition program for firms and brokers successfully using green leasing to save energy in commercial buildings.

When landlords and tenants want to work together to enhance their building’s performance, they often seem to be speaking different languages. There is currently little widely accepted green (also known as energy-aligned, high-performance, or energy-efficient) leasing language, and no simple blueprint for leasing agents tasked with bridging the landlord-tenant divide on sustainability. As a result, many firms interested in green leases face difficulty when it comes to implementation.

The Green Lease Leader recognition program, developed by the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Buildings Alliance with support from leading real estate practitioners, is helping push past this barrier by recognizing firms and brokers that are successfully introducing green lease language into their new or existing leases to save energy in buildings.

Certifications like ENERGY STAR and LEED have proven the importance of providing building owners and tenants with clear, easily identifiable standards. Similarly, the Green Lease Leader recognition strives to identify a new standard for sustainable relationships between tenants and landlords.  

“As more real estate companies look to engage tenants on energy performance, the lease is a natural starting point. Green Lease Leaders will ensure that stakeholders have a reliable, easy to understand method to signal their willingness to engage in green leasing and sustainable building operation,” said Kristen Taddonio, Manager of DOE’s Better Buildings Alliance.

The program also offers the brokerage community a chance to jump into the sustainability conversation.

“As the primary conduit between tenants and landlords, commercial brokers play a vital role in the real estate transaction. We support the goals of the Green Lease Leaders program, and believe it will provide brokers an opportunity to facilitate a sustainable tenant-landlord relationship and earn recognition for their efforts,” said Andrew C. Florance, CoStar Group Founder and CEO.

At every starting point in a commercial lease, whether it’s for office or retail, it isn’t a novel concept that energy use should be a part of the conversation. Adopting changes to standard lease language may help reduce electricity and water consumption, improve tenant comfort, and allow the landlord and tenant to better control operating expenses while minimizing waste. Many leading firms across the real estate industry have already changed leasing practices as a result of internal sustainability goals.

Yet others struggle to determine what language should be added, what their competitors are doing, and whether or not other parties will be comfortable with proposed green lease clauses. Green Lease Leaders addresses this problem by creating an industry-approved definition of a green lease program and by recognizing landlords, tenants, and brokers nationally who are successfully meeting that standard.

“These requirements set a new standard for commercial leasing by providing a uniform definition for what characterizes a green lease, and each of the requirements aids in making a lease more equitable between landlord and tenant so that they share both the costs and benefits of improved energy performance,” said Cliff Majersik, Executive Director for IMT.

The program application can be found at www.greenleaseleaders.com and the 2014 application cycle will run from January 15th to April 8th. The initial group of recognized firms and brokers will be announced at DOE's Better Buildings Summit in Washington D.C. on May 7, 2014.


The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting energy efficiency, green building, and environmental protection in the United States and abroad. Much of IMT’s work addresses market failures that inhibit investment in energy efficiency.

The Better Buildings Alliance is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) effort to promote energy efficiency in U.S. commercial buildings through collaboration with building owners, operators, and managers. Members of the Better Buildings Alliance commit to addressing energy efficiency needs in their buildings by setting energy savings goals, developing innovative energy efficiency resources, and adopting advanced cost-effective technologies and market practices.




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