In a welcome act of bipartisanship, Congress passed and President Obama signed a measure that authorizes a new Tenant Star program to recognize tenants for their energy efficiency efforts. As the name suggests, the initiative is modeled after the highly successful Energy Star program. Once it’s fully up and running, Tenant Star should give facility managers an important new tool to justify energy measures in leased space.
But it will take some time for Tenant Star to be ready to go. A key to the success of Energy Star is its solid statistical underpinnings. Energy Star rankings are based on the numbers in the Energy Information Agency’s CBECS (for Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey) database, a repository of information on a statistically representative sample of the universe of U.S. commercial and institutional buildings. EIA staff has to figure out a way to gather the data on tenant spaces, then test that methodology, before the tenant energy use numbers are available. And the next CBECS isn’t expected to go out until 2018.
Fortunately, Tenant Star isn’t the only effort now underway to boost energy performance in tenant spaces. Green Lease Leaders, for example, has set standards for green leases while offering recognition to landlords, tenants, and brokers that incorporate green provisions in leases. For example, a green lease must define pass-through operating expenses to include capital investments for energy efficiency measures. Tenant build-out specs have to spell out beyond-code requirements for energy efficiency. In two years, 25 organizations have been recognized as Green Lease Leaders under the program, which was developed by the Institute for Market Transformation with support from DOE’s Better Buildings Alliance.
Tenant spaces have historically fallen through the cracks when it comes to energy efficiency efforts. Recognition programs like Green Lease Leaders and, eventually, Tenant Star will help to change that.
I think such a program is a really positive initiative to encourage an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. These days, it is not solely about a good location with a good price, but it has to be about staying green too. Every little effort counts and contribute toward a greener lifestyle that should be strongly encouraged.