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Giveaway: USGBC’s Green Office Guide for Integrating LEED Into Your Leasing Process*

*USGBC has kindly provided us with a copy of its Green Office Guide to give away here at GRELJ. Just add a comment to this post before 5PM ET next Wednesday, December 16; we’ll select one of you at random and pick up the tab for shipping. We’ll email the winner directly for contact information.

One of the reasons why New York City’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, which our City Council passed earlier today, does not (as originally drafted) require owners to pay for capital improvement projects that boost energy efficiency is that, under most local leases, landlords who pay for those improvements can’t pass along associated costs to their tenants, who benefit from the resulting decrease in operating costs. USGBC’s Green Lease Guide, which was published earlier this fall, does much more than just discuss the split incentive that’s a major barrier to implementing a truly green lease; it provides tenants with a form environmental impact questionnaire designed to assist them in vetting potential properties, as well as eleven pages of sample green lease provisions (many of which we’ve written about here at GRELJ previously). The Guide is primarily written for commercial office tenants, but landlords will find its background information – which describes LEED’s accreditation and certification processes – useful as well. More specifically, here’s how the Guide breaks down:

Section 1 – Why Green the Leasing Process?

- How Buildings Affect the Environment and Tenants
- Primer on LEED

Section 2 – Greening the Leasing Process

- Environmental Strategies for the Leasing Process
- Implementing Environmental Strategies at Renewal and in New Space Searches
- Greening the Lease
- Best Practices for LEED for Commercial Interiors Project Management, Design, and Construction
- Implementing Environmental Strategies Under Existing Leases

Section 3 – Tools for Greening the Leasing Process

- LEED for Commercial Interiors Scorecard
- Basic Environmental Impact Questionnaire
- Sample Criteria for Qualifying Project Team Professionals
- Sample Green Building RFP Guidelines
- Building Questionnaire for Tenants Seeking LEED for Commercial Interiors Certification
- Sample Green Lease Provisions
- Sample Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy for Tenant Operations


Copies of the Green Lease Guide are available for purchase here; our thanks again to USGBC for providing us with a complimentary copy to give away here at GRELJ. We’ll have much more to say on various specifics of the Guide moving forward, particularly with respect to its discussion of aspirational green lease provisions and enforcement mechanisms. In the interim, if you have any questions or require assistance in connection with greening your leasing documents, the Arent Fox Green Building & Sustainability Practice Group would be happy to help you out.

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16 Responses to Giveaway: USGBC’s Green Office Guide for Integrating LEED Into Your Leasing Process*

  1. @matthewdevries December 10, 2009 at 7:09 pm #

    Stephen, Sounds like a good document to review. Put my name into the hat. Thanks. Matt

  2. Preston December 10, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

    Glad you mentioned this. Just picked up a copy myself. Starting to see some real good resources on green leasing these days.

  3. Matthew December 10, 2009 at 9:49 pm #

    This sounds like an innovative idea to separate one from the competition….

  4. Will December 11, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

    Great information. Sounds like a good primer for tenants. Does the USGBC have (or does it have plans to publish) a similar guide for building owners and developers to give them a roadmap for getting involved with the LEED design and construction process (with sample contract language, guides for site selection, checklists, questionnaires about goals, etc.)?

  5. Andrea Goldman December 11, 2009 at 2:57 pm #

    Throw my name in too! Thanks for the information. Andrea

  6. Brian Anderson December 11, 2009 at 3:54 pm #


    Thanks for this opportunity. Do you know whether this guide distinguishes between leases in the office vs. retail/mall context? Does it deal with changes that might be made to customary indemnity, CAM, maintenance (with an eye to IAQ/green cleaning), insurance, janitorial/recycling access/parking/bike racks, access rights (to non-premises systems for re-certification/inspection), environmental (especially since–as you’ve pointed out–v3.0 requires compliance with “environmental laws” as an apparent condition to maintaining certification), green build-out, ability to install meter check boxes per premises, ability to install/require/monitor zone metering and CO2 monitors, green re-build following condemnation/casualty. Does it also provide lease provisions that deal with ongoing changes to the LEED product?

    Or is it really more of a reprint of the LEED checklist with additional lease provisions that obligate a tenant or landlord to do things necessary to comply with applicable LEED requirements like cleaning, recycling, etc.?

    Also, I wonder whether this guide addresses decertification (e.g., requiring or restricting cooperation and production of necessary documents as may be reasonably required by the party subject to the decertification), or the energy disclosure requirement (e.g., a consent to disclose tenant’s/landlord’s energy consumption data for the premises/building to the usgbc). I wonder whether it should also include an indemnity/hold harmless/liquidated damages for any breach that results in a decertification. Does it incorporate or provide advice on tying CAM or gross rent to energy performance or IAQ, etc. and does it make an effort to educate the landlord/tenant/assignees/customers on an ongoing basis of the certification and to hold parties responsible for the specific points for which the project has achieved certification and would be evaluated for under future re-certifications. Does it also provide a general guide to high performance HVAC systems and maintenance in the commercial setting so that a tenant could make a more educated review of critical building systems? Finally, how does it deal with breach tied to a failure to certify at a certain LEED level or with regard to misrep of green attributes or performance where no actual decertification occurs? As we know, it’s easy to put in requirements and laundry lists of preferred practices but harder to tie them to real repurcussions.

    I apologize for the litany. But as someone who does a decent amount of commercial lease work, this is just a brief brain dump of issues that come to my mind. I’ve been frustrated with the articles/texts I’ve seen on the “green lease” because they all seem to have been written by consultants and not lawyers with experience in leasing and LEED.

    Thanks again for the excellent post, Stephen. Sorry we missed you out here for our event…darn blizzards. Best, Brian

  7. Christopher G. Hill December 11, 2009 at 4:34 pm #

    This looks great, I”ve been looking for good green leasing resources. Also, I hope the honeymoon went well.

  8. John Opgenorth December 11, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

    I had a chance to thumb through this at FutureBuild LA, but I haven’t had time to order it since. It looked like it would be a useful resource though, so I’ll put my name in as well.


  9. Pat Drueke December 11, 2009 at 8:52 pm #

    It’s good to see these resources out there as a starting point, but the stakeholders still need to see the importance of incorporating them into their projects.

  10. Kevin Bernier December 14, 2009 at 4:52 pm #

    Please add my name to the list…thanks for the updates!

  11. Michael Kahn December 15, 2009 at 6:31 am #

    Steve, please enter me in the drawing. Maybe you can get USGBC to throw you a few more free copies to give out… hey, ’tis the season, right?

    • Stephen Del Percio December 31, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

      Congrats, Michael, you’re our winner! Thanks to everyone who commented- look for more giveaways here at GRELJ in 2010!

  12. Evan Jahn December 15, 2009 at 10:55 pm #

    It is good to see such a resource come out and be directed at the tenant. Making them aware of options such as green leases and how to go about selecting who will handle their property search and negotiations is of equal importance as knowledge of specific clauses within the lease itself.

    I also like to see the USGBC presenting the case to tenants for why they would want to consider such issues in their lease because to the unfamiliar it not apparent how much greater reductions can be effectuated when the building addresses operating much more efficiently and with regard to it health of its tenants. The question would be how does the USGBCs suggestions for provisions work out differently and does it allocate the financial benefits as equitably as the Model Green Lease appears to?

    Looking forward to getting my hands on a copy, please add my name to the list. Thanks.

  13. Brooke December 15, 2009 at 11:18 pm #

    Too bad it seems to give the LL site short shrift, but I’d like to be the drawing to take a closer look.

  14. ShamimSam January 9, 2010 at 7:48 am #

    Federal and local governments are requiring more and more government and privately owned buildings to become LEED certified. As of 2009, all construction and renovation of federal buildings must be LEED Silver certified. The City of Pasadena, California Green Building Ordinance requires all privately owned buildings to achieve LEED certification and LEED Silver certification for municipal buildings with 5,000 square feet or more of new construction. And, in Boston, Massachusetts, all new buildings of more than 50,000 square feet are now required to adhere to LEED standards.

    CleanEdison’s team of professionals consist of Certified Energy Managers, Architects and Engineers many of which are LEED APs, and/or BPI certified contractors. All of CleanEdison’s instructors have been practicing professionals in the field of building science, energy efficiency and/or LEED project management. All instructors have taken their degree from well reputed university with great result.

    Why take the LEED Exam Prep course?
    Studying and applying to become a LEED AP can be both expensive and time consuming. Our programs are designed to get you through the process quickly and easily. CleanEdison has developed a comprehensive course of study to help you master the ins and outs of the exam, so you can start enjoying the many benefits of being a LEED Accredited Professional.

  15. Laurent Kanago May 30, 2011 at 1:43 am #

    You guys gave me a great direction to go in to incorporate green codes and leasing into a Chicago neighborhood. thanks.

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