April 26, 2018

5 Tips for Tenants of Green Buildings

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5 Tips for Tenants of Green Buildings

Signing a lease at an environmentally friendly building is a big step for any business. Understanding the environmental benefit of green buildings and the process of leasing within them is crucial.

Read more: Green Commercial Building Continues to Grow

If your company is thinking of renting in a green building, these five "best practices" will make going green an easy transition:

  1. Know the Law. When signing any lease, it’s critical to have it thoroughly examined by your legal team. They will ensure your interests are protected and that you have a full understanding of the monetary, legal and business implications. Some states offer businesses tax credits or write-offs for participation in green initiatives. Ask your accountant if you may be eligible for benefits such as these by renting in a green business unit.
  1. Familiarize Yourself with Costs. Because the costs of running an environmentally friendly rental property can be greater than those of a traditional building, as a tenant you need to understand how these costs may be passed on to you. Compare the cost of renting at a green facility versus a traditional facility, and determine what your financial liability or cost savings will be going forward. If you are environmentally conscious, the benefit to the environment will outweigh the small increase in cost.
  1. Commit to Green Practices. As a tenant of a green building, you should also commit to green practices in your everyday routine, and you may actually be required to adhere to additional green guidelines as part of your lease. Example: The use of more energy-efficient light bulbs. Take time to learn the cost of this stipulation (ask another tenant for copies of their utility bills), and you’ll be able to budget effectively. If the economics are a major driver in your decision to relocate to a green building, be sure to calculate a break even point, or the point when your initial investment in energy efficiency is offset by energy savings.
  2. Recycle and “Clean Green.” You will likely be required to recycle as part of your eco-friendly lease. While this may seem like a benefit for all parties involved, it’s important to understand the costs associated with the process. In order to have a recycling protocol in place for your employees, you will also need to take the time to educate yourself on your local recycling facilities and processes. There are additional habits you’ll need to adopt in your office as well, like green cleaning. Avoid harsh chemicals and instead, look for natural, nontoxic cleaners. You can also go paperless by using cloth cleaning rags. Also, install energy-efficient hand dryers in the bathrooms and encourage employees to print less paper. Keep a stash of coffee cups and utensils in the kitchen so you don’t have to use disposable products. Buy nontoxic and recycled products whenever possible, like remanufactured toner cartridges and GREENGUARD-certified furniture.
  3. Encourage Green Culture. Be sure to reinforce this eco-friendly culture with your employees. They should share responsibility in being green and energy efficient. Encourage staff to turn off lights when they leave the conference room and turn computers off at the end of the day.

Source: Cleaning and organizing expert Bonnie Dewkett, writer for and founder of The Joyful Organizer.