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Better Buildings Partnership Adds MOU, Unveils Updated Green Lease Toolkit

Back in April we wrote about the UK-based retailer Marks & Spencer’s initiative to make green-related clauses standard within all of its new leases for new shopping center space across the United Kingdom. In doing so, the firm is collaborating with some of the UK’s largest property owners who make up England’s Better Buildings Partnership – including British Land, Canary Wharf Group, and Hammerson, among others – to retrofit its existing leases to incorporate green provisions.

That language is based on the Better Buildings Partnership’s own Green Lease Toolkit, a free guide dating from 2009 that aimed to “break down barriers between tenants and landlords in order to achieve meaningful reductions in the environmental impact of commercial buildings.” Now, the BBP has released a revised version of the Toolkit. It’s a more comprehensive document that offers insights for landlords, tenants, brokers, lawyers, and property managers seeking to improve the environmental performance of their buildings and spaces.

But most notably the Toolkit introduces a model green lease Memorandum of Understanding, which can not only be used as a roadmap for new leases but also to supplement existing leases. The MOU – which is non-binding, so it can stand alongside an existing lease as an aspirational set of environmental goals without any conflicts – includes five basic sections: an overview of the parties’ green objectives; a commitment to cooperation and sharing building performance data; building management practices; tenant alterations; and legal terms keeping the MOU non-binding and protecting the confidentiality of any shared data.

Elsewhere, sample clauses follow a description of twelve key green leasing concepts, from definitions and data sharing to third-party certification and environmental performance objectives. Five key green lease principles introduce twelve best practice recommendations for lease clauses related to energy, water, and waste consumption to tenant fit-outs and service charges. The Toolkit also incorporates six case studies that are also worth reviewing in detail. Each aims to “articulate how the parties can use a green lease or MOU to establish their environmental aspirations for the management and operation of a building, resulting in lower operational costs and reduced adverse environmental impacts.”

BBP’s Green Lease Toolkit is free, available for download here, and is a worthwhile addition to your library of green leasing resources.

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