Find out what award-winning landlords and tenants are doing to save energy and reduce costs

by Brianna Crandall — July 1, 2019 — The nonprofit Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) and the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Buildings Alliance just announced the 2019 Green Lease Leaders at the BOMA International Conference and Expo in Salt Lake City, Utah, a conference which brings together thousands of commercial real estate professionals to cover the latest industry trends, building innovations, and operational best practices.

Launched by IMT and the DOE Better Buildings Alliance in 2014, the Green Lease Leaders program is touted as the premiere industry recognition program that shines a light on forward-thinking real estate companies and practitioners each year who effectively modernize their leases to spur collaborative action on energy efficiency and sustainability in buildings.

As IMT explains, a “green lease” includes smart, energy-aligned clauses added to a traditional commercial lease that unlock win-win investments in energy efficiency and sustainability for both landlords and tenants. These clauses contribute to higher-quality spaces for tenants, who recoup their investment through lower utility bills and improved productivity and comfort, and drive the creation of more valuable buildings for owners, who enjoy greater rents and lower vacancy. By greening a lease, landlords and tenants collaboratively transform buildings into higher-performing ones.

This year’s Green Lease Leaders represent portfolios totaling 501 million square feet (sq. ft.) and comprise a diverse range of buildings from large and small commercial offices to industrial buildings to data centers. For the first time, a city (Cleveland) and a shared workspace company (WeWork) received the recognition. The cumulative floor area of all Green Lease Leaders is now more than 2 billion sq. ft. of building space — a clear indication that green leasing is continuing to grow as a best practice across markets and building types, says IMT.

Maria T. Vargas, senior program advisor at DOE and director of the Better Buildings Initiative, stated:

Green Lease Leaders play a critical role in the high-performance building transformation happening across the real estate industry. These real estate professionals are leading the way by demonstrating how smart leases enable landlords and tenants to work together to keep costs down while ensuring energy efficiency and workplace comfort.

Cliff Majersik, executive director for IMT, remarked:

Each year, it becomes more important for commercial landlords and tenants to use every available tool and strategy to improve building performance to stay in step with the changing landscape of climate action and competitive real estate markets throughout the U.S.

A green, high-performance lease is an incredibly effective tool to help landlords and tenant companies achieve significant win-win business, energy, and health benefits that are good for the real estate industry, good for cities, and good for the air we breathe. IMT and the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Alliance are proud to honor the 2019 Green Lease Leaders at this year’s BOMA Annual Conference & Expo, and we congratulate them for joining the wave innovative firms that are taking energy efficiency and sustainability in leased properties to the next level.

BOMA International Chair Brian D. Cappelli, BOMA Fellow, RPA, vice president of Asset Management for GBX Group LLC, commented:

For the third consecutive year, BOMA International is pleased to host the Green Lease Leaders awards ceremony. As a longstanding proponent of green leasing in the commercial real estate industry, BOMA provides owners and tenants with green lease resources and best practices, such as its model green lease that was updated in 2018. The 2019 Green Lease Leaders demonstrate the value of these efforts and represent these best practices in action. BOMA congratulates them on their achievements.

The 2019 Green Lease Leaders are:

Landlord — Gold Recognition

  • AEW Capital Management
  • Ivanhoe Cambridge
  • Jamestown L.P.
  • LaSalle Investment Management
  • LBA Realty | LBA Logistics
  • Sabey Data Center Properties
  • USAA Real Estate

Landlord — Silver Recognition

  • DWS Group
  • Hudson Pacific Properties
  • MAN Holdings | Yosemite Properties
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Nuveen Real Estate
  • Office Properties Income Trust
  • Rexford Industrial Realty
  • Shorenstein Realty Services
  • SITE Centers
  • STAG Industrial

Tenant — Silver Recognition

  • City of Cleveland
  • Salesforce

Team Transaction Recognition

  • Kilroy Realty Corporation with WeWork, CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, and Allen Matkins

IMT estimates that green leases can help reduce utility bills by up to $0.51 per square foot (22 percent) in US office buildings alone, and if all leased office buildings executed green leases, the market could reap over $3 billion in annual cost savings.

Best practices

The 2019 Green Lease Leaders are implementing lease clauses that set them on a path to significantly higher building and portfolio performance through deeper energy and water savings, adoption of renewable energy, and better indoor workspaces that foster occupant health and wellness.

Restricting HVAC hours, requiring plug load management, submetering utility data, and performing periodic retrocommissioning to optimize operations and equipment are just a few of the energy efficiency- and sustainability-focused terms that leading organizations are deploying.

How to receive Green Lease Leaders recognition

To receive Green Lease Leaders recognition, organizations must meet two prerequisites and earn five or more credits for best practices such as utility data tracking and sharing, cost recovery for efficiency-related capital improvements, sustainability training, and energy efficiency fit-out requirements for tenant spaces, among others. An Innovation in Leasing credit encourages organizations to test out new ideas and share them with the market.

The application period to be recognized in 2020 is now open and will close in March 2020. To receive one-on-one guidance for greening your lease or support for becoming a Green Lease Leader, contact IMT and DOE staff.

Last year, the program introduced two new levels of achievement — Silver and Gold. Silver recognition applauds the establishment of foundational policies and business practices that encourage reduced energy and water consumption in leased spaces. Gold recognition builds on Silver-level achievements and requires execution of leases and energy-efficient tenant fit-outs that are verified with an executed lease and other documentation. AEW and LaSalle Investment Management each moved from Silver to Gold this year.

Commercial, industrial and retail landlords and tenants, as well as transaction teams (a combination of landlord, tenants or brokers for a single real estate deal) are eligible for recognition. Designees must reapply once every three years to maintain their Green Lease Leader status.

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